The Park Inn in Prague yet again reminds me why I have yet to cancel or even downgrade my Club Carlson Premier Rewards Signature credit card. It had been a long overdue formality that once my annual fee came due, I would be the next to jump on the bandwagon to take this card from my wallet and rarely use again. I will admit we have used Club Carlson points on several overnights in the past year for layovers or quick one-day trips that matter very little to me in terms of overall quality. The Country Inn Suites has done an average job of accommodating us, and average was all we were after. Therefore, we had no complaints.

If our entire mindset with the Club Carlson card were determined by our United States options, we would have been a part of the mass exodus a couple years ago. You remember the one. When Club Carlson stripped their US Bank card of the incredible bonus award night, it was inevitable that its days were over. Then I went to Europe only months after the announcement and discovered a wonderful place. The Park Inn in Zurich, Switzerland. I will be the first to say that my expectations were quite low going into the trip. My family and I were overjoyed with the accommodations and made sure that when we discussed this card and its annual fee in the future, the Park Inn would be a part of that conversation.

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Missed the Annual Fee Deadline

About two months ago, I realized that my annual fee posted on my Club Carlson credit card. I was infuriated that I had let this deadline pass without noticing. Without hesitation I called US Bank to inquire about the possibility of waiving the fee for me, reality stuck its ugly head into the situation. I found out what countless others (I soon discovered later) already knew. US Bank is not a forgiving issuer when it comes to waiving the annual fee after posting. Honestly, there was very little conversation other than we will not waive the fee.


My next course of action was to downgrade the card to the lesser-known no-fee version of the card. It does exist and they were prepared to move my card over with one hitch. Your annual fee from the Signature card will follow. Incredulous at the happenings, I asked the question that I already knew the answer. Well that would be really stupid of me wouldn’t it?” I quickly followed “No need to answer” as I really did not want or need to hear the next words out of the representative’s mouth. So, due to my lack of accountability I am saddled with this $75 annual fee and the Signature card for another year.

I’m Reminded Again Why I Like This Card

Fast forward to another trip to Europe with a 3 night stay at the Park Inn Prague. Being a family of four we used both my wife’s and my points to get adjoining rooms. Who really wants to sleep in the same bedroom as a couple teenage girls anyways? At a rate of 28,000 points per night, each of us used 84,000 points. Considering the room was $221 per night, I felt as if the deal was good. What made me feel even better was the Park Inn brand itself. Immediately I had those same warm fuzzy feelings I experienced in Zurich.

Drifting off to sleep that first night, I recalled how that annual fee debacle made me feel at the time and compared that to this day. Considering you receive 40,000 points at renewal, I concluded that this card is not so bad after all. With future trips to Europe on the horizon, I am proud to have this card as part of my arsenal. I know there are many detractors out there and those who can equate points to dollars at nausea. However, for my needs and my purposes, the Club Carlson Signature card meets my expectations. Moreover, when I am lazing around in a beautiful room in Europe plotting my day, it exceeds my expectations.

The Park Inn Portfolio

There are 144 Park Inns worldwide with most of them being outside of the United States. There are a couple here in the US, but I have very little knowledge of these or if they even resemble those I’ve stayed in Europe. The decor in these hotels is a bit more modern than the rest of the portfolio of Club Carlson. From my own experience, they seem a bit cleaner.

Timing being everything, my wife’s card is up for its annual fee and I must say there will be very little discussion over which way I go. In addition, for me, that is one less thing to worry about. The only expert out there is you and while there are countless stories of those who left this card behind, I’m not one of them. We all base our information on our needs and desires and that is good to keep in mind. Maybe I will get another one. That would be even sweeter!


“Live within your means, Travel beyond them”