U.S. Bank is offering a beefed-up "premier" version of its co-branded credit card with Carlson Rezidor Hotels, which owns the hotel brands Radisson, Park Plaza, Country Inn and Suites and Hotel Missoni.
The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card offers up to 85,000 bonus points for new cardholders. After the first purchase, cardholders get 50,000 points, and then another 35,000 points after spending $2,500 in the first three months.
Cardholders earn 10 points per dollar on purchases at Carlson Rezidor hotels and five points per dollar on all other purchases. And every year you renew the card, you get 40,000 bonus points.
The annual fee is $75.
How does that compare to the Club Carlson Rewards Visa Signature card -- sans Premier -- U.S. Bank's current offering? The plain-vanilla card offers up to 60,000 bonus points, and cardholders earn six points per dollar on Carlson Rezidor purchases and three points per dollar on everything else. Cardholders receive a 25,000-point anniversary bonus each year they renew. And the annual fee is $50.
Hotels are starting to offer more premier versions of their co-branded cards, says Bill McCracken, CEO of research firm Synergistics Research. There's more profit for both the credit card issuer and the hotel because the annual fees are higher and these premier cards target affluent consumers who spend more.
"Hotels and issuers want to mimic what has happened on the airline side. Airline rewards cards are very profitable," McCracken says. "They'd like to get in on that, too."
If you're tempted by a premier rewards credit card, whether a hotel one or airline card, make sure it's a good fit. Do you use that hotel or airline brand often enough to justify carrying around a co-branded card? And don't be swayed by sign-up bonuses, either. You don't want to overspend to get bonus rewards. If you do and can't pay off your balance in full, the interest you incur will more than offset any bonus you get.
Do you carry a hotel rewards credit card? Which one?
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