Spend 65K Points to Save $85!?!? Is This the WORST Points Redemption Ever?

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Club Carlson TSA Precheck Redemption

Club Carlson TSA Precheck Redemption

You have probably heard that the TSA is understaffed this Summer and thus lines at airports have grown. This in turn has “motivated” many people to get either Global Entry or TSA Precheck. While us credit card crazies probably all have Global Entry due to various fee credits available, the masses do not and loyalty programs are seeing a way to cash in on it.

For example, Southwest recently sent me the following deal:

To help alleviate long TSA lines at the airport, for a limited time we are offering our Members the ability to bypass the $85 TSA Pre✔® application fee. Members can redeem 9,000 Rapid Rewards® points to receive an authorization code by mail.

Well Southwest points are worth about 1.2-1.4 cents each, so redeeming them for just under a penny a piece isn’t a good deal at all. But, it is a good deal compared to the offer I just received from Club Carlson. It is so bad I had to do a double take.

Use your points to enjoy five years of hassle-free travel with TSA Precheck, the program offering expedited security when you fly. Make your whole travel experience more convenient and efficient for just 65,000 Gold Points.

The TSA Precheck application fee is normally $85, but as a Club Carlson member, you can now use your points to cover the application fee.

65,000 points to save $85?!? OMG! Ok, I know that Club Carlson points aren’t worth much, but certainly the company feels they are worth more than .13 cents each. I also love how they admit how worthless their points are by putting the normal $85 price tag right in the text. I know my loyal readers don’t need to be told this, but THIS IS A TERRIBLE DEAL!


If I really cared much for Club Carlson, their properties or their loyalty program I might actually be offended by this offer. Thankfully I’ll find a way to get upwards of .4 cents per point for my balance, but that cheap stench every time I look at the Club Carlson section in Award Wallet will never go away. 😉

What is the worst points redemption deal you have ever seen? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. You nailed it, Shawn. “Club Pesos” sinks to a new low, and this doa promo deserves your brand-ing as “the worst Points redemption ever”, and an entry in the bad deal hall of shame….

    I’ve long been grumbling that I can’t find good values (here in the US anyway) for unloading our Club Carlson points stash…. the few remaining good properties are getting old…. very old. (starting to remind me of Howard Johnson’s) Been a long time since Club Carlson had a promotion the least bit interesting. Meanwhile, more and more CC properties are biting the dust, going into the status (on their web site), “The property is off line and not taking reservations.” (translated, either they were sold or shut down…. so many due to intensely negative reviews) Heck, even the all beach-front rooms Radisson in Melbourne, FL is getting run down…. (but it’ll set ya back 44k per night for the privilege…. ) Oh, but wait, the pumpers will be telling us of the “values” to be had in the aging Park Inn’s….. (say, from Fresno to Orlando….)

    Can you say paint peeling?

    No wonder they were sold off — the entire chain — to HNA, a Chinese holding co. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  2. I wish the hotels and airlines would just say “not available” instead of insulting us with ridiculous offers. ANNOYING!

  3. When I am looking for HHonors reward nights, I inevitably stumble across rooms that are listed at 127,000 points/night, etc.

    I’ve been baffled by this more than once, but lack the ambition to track down “why” (Is it a system glitch, the hotels are required to make at least one room available but get to pick their own redemption so they are effectively saying “we want to be a Hilton Property but we don’t want to mess with points”, etc?)

    Nevertheless, I submit these bizarre HHonors “award nights” as the worst deals ever 😉

  4. having the debate of my life over whether to fork over yet another $75 annual fee for a reload of 40k points. the points are worth much more than the $75, and the ability to use those occasional “stay 2, pay 1” cash rates in Europe for Gold status members are quite nice, but i’m still smelling the Club Carlson “stench” from the changes this program made 2 years ago. so much so that sometimes i feel embarrassed to still carry this card. its truly pride vs. rationality here.

  5. It’s about a $200-$300 room ..ill keep the points and use 1 of several cc’s that a lot of us have that give the statement credit for global entry /precheck


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