Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card Review – 2 Free Nights
The information related to the Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card has been collected by Money Crashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card from Chase is an exclusive hotel rewards credit card with a $450 annual fee and an impressive slate of benefits for frequent travelers. It’s comparable to some of the most exclusive credit and charge cards on the planet, including the American Express Platinum Card, as well as high-end airline, hotel, and general travel rewards credit cards with high annual fees and generous benefits to match. It’s worth noting upfront that Ritz-Carlton is part of the Marriott hotel family, and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program extends to the more than 3,000 hotels and resorts under the Marriott umbrella, so this card is more relevant and widely useful than the rarefied Ritz-Carlton name suggests.
That said, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card is admittedly suitable for a relatively small group of people with the means and lifestyle to get the most out of it. If you’re a member of that group, or you aspire to be, you need to take a closer look at this card.
When you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months of opening your account, you earn 2 free nights at any Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton property. Depending on the selected hotel, room type, season, and other factors, the value of this benefit can exceed $1,000.
This card has a 3-tiered rewards scheme:
Points don’t expire as long as you make a purchase on your credit card at least once every 24 months.
Points can be redeemed for free hotel stays at Ritz-Carlton and partner properties, which usually start at a minimum of 30,000 points for Tier 1 Ritz-Carlton properties and 70,000 points for Tier 5 Ritz-Carlton properties. However, Ritz-Carlton’s PointSavers option provides 10,000-point discounts on select dates, lowering the Tier 1 threshold to 20,000 points and the Tier 5 threshold to 60,000 points. Further, the Cash & Points option allows you to redeem for free room nights with as few as 15,000 points plus $115.
Through Ritz-Carlton’s partnership with Marriott, you can also redeem Ritz-Carlton points at more than 3,000 Marriott and partner hotels worldwide, starting at 7,500 points per night (6,000 per night with PointSavers) at Tier 1 Marriott properties. When you redeem at least 4 consecutive nights, you get the 5th night free.
These figures are subject to change at any time. Check with the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program administrator for up-to-date details.
At the end of every 12-month period, you get a 10% premium on your total point earnings during the preceding year. For instance, if you earned 10,000 points last year, you’d end the year with 11,000 points – 10,000 points earned on purchases, plus a 1,000-point bonus.
Every year you remain a cardmember in good standing, you get up to $300 in annual travel credits, redeemable for statement credits against airline and air travel purchases. Eligible purchases include baggage fees, airport lounge memberships and day passes, Global Entry fees, seat upgrades, and in-flight purchases.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card comes with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is an independent airport lounge marque with approximately 1,000 lounges in 500 airports worldwide. Members enjoy complimentary access to all lounges, which have free WiFi, snacks, beverages, comfortable seating, and in some cases seriously luxurious amenities like sleeping pods and showers.
When you pay for a stay of 2 nights or longer at any Ritz-Carlton property, you get a $100 hotel credit for use against hotel services, food, and other purchases (excluding your room rate, alcohol, tax, and gratuity). The credit isn’t available on stays paid for with Ritz-Carlton Rewards points.
When you book between 2 and 5 round-trip flights on the same itinerary, you’re entitled to a discount of up to $100 on the full cost of booking. This discount comes courtesy of the Visa Infinite Discount Air Benefit. There’s no limit to the number of times you can invoke it during the course of a year.
You get 3 Ritz-Carlton Club Level upgrades per year at no additional charge. Upgrades are good on stays of up to 7 consecutive nights. Club Level benefits include access to a private, luxurious dining and lounge area, meeting spaces, and complimentary food and drink. The dollar value of Club Level access varies by property, but often exceeds $100 per night, based on the difference between a regular room reservation and a room reservation with Club Level privileges.
During your first year as a cardmember, you automatically earn Ritz-Carlton Gold Elite Status. Benefits include complimentary room upgrades when available, guaranteed late check-out, and a 25% bonus on all base point earnings. After the first year, automatic eligibility ends, and you must spend at least $10,000 per year to secure Gold Elite Status.
If you spend at least $75,000 in a calendar year, you earn Platinum Elite Status (Ritz-Carlton’s highest loyalty status) for the subsequent calendar year. Platinum Elite benefits include 1,000 bonus points upon check-in, 50% bonus on all base point earnings, and guaranteed room availability on all reservations made within 48 hours of arrival, plus all Gold Elite benefits.
This card comes with complimentary 24/7 white-glove concierge service from Chase, including assistance with all event and travel bookings, dispute resolution, and more. Additionally, Chase prioritizes Ritz-Carlton Rewards cardholders over lesser cardholders with dedicated staff and shorter wait times.
There is a $450 annual fee, but no foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
This card requires excellent credit.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card isn’t for everyone. In fact, it’s not for most people. To get your money’s worth out of this card, you need to travel frequently, spend fairly heavily on the road, and prefer (or, at least, have no problem with) Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotel and resort properties. If you travel often, but don’t value luxury benefits, a cheaper card (such as Marriott Rewards Premier) is likely to be sufficient.
That said, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card is an excellent choice for road warriors who savor creature comforts. When fully utilized, its benefits offset the annual fee with room to spare. If you’re willing to pay nearly $400 upfront for a potentially much greater return, this card should definitely be on your shortlist.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card is ideal for frequent travelers who spend heavily on travel-related purchases (particularly Ritz-Carlton and partner hotels) and value luxurious travel benefits and perks. It’s not ideal for people who travel too infrequently or spend too lightly to offset the high annual fee, people who have no preference for Ritz-Carlton or Marriott-family hotels, and people who don’t expect to fully utilize the card’s luxurious benefits.
This credit card’s amazing hotel and travel benefits, complimentary airport lounge access, generous sign-up bonus, broad 2x categories, 10% annual points premium, and white-glove service are all great benefits. Its high annual fee and high Ritz-Carlton redemption thresholds, as well as its lack of both automatic elite status after the first year and lack of complimentary anniversary nights, all hurt its prospects. Overall, it’s a great card for heavy spenders who travel frequently and in style.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.
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Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card Review – 2 Free Nights
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