Increased 70,000 point sign-up bonus and first year annual fee waived on Ritz Carlton Rewards Signature Visa

The Ritz Carlton Signature Visa presently has a sign-up offer for 70,000 Ritz Carlton Rewards points after the first purchase and the $395 annual fee waived for the first year. Now, the offer does seem to be targeted at Ritz Carlton Residences owners, though at no point in the application process does it ask for verification, and those that have applied are reporting it went smoothly.

The normal sign-up bonus on this card is 50,000 points and the annual fee isn’t usually waived the first year, so this is a great sign-up bonus.

As far as their award chart goes, this sign-up bonus is enough for two nights at “low tier” Ritz Carlton (if that’s not an oxymoron), or enough for one night at their top tier hotels.

I’ve actually been tempted by this card for a long time. The earnings ratio is as follows:

  • Earn 5 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points per $1 spent at The Ritz-Carlton hotels. *
  • Earn 2 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies and restaurants. *
  • Earn 1 Ritz-Carlton Rewards point per $1 spent on all other card purchases. *

That doesn’t really tempt me since a Ritz Carlton Rewards point is worth as much as a Marriott Rewards point, and I recently valued those at 1.0 cent each. So for everyday spend I can’t see myself actually keeping the card.

But it’s the other benefits that make this card worthwhile, in my opinion, and in many circumstances even justify the $395 annual fee:

  • Upgrade to The Ritz-Carlton Club® Level three times annually on stays of up to seven nights, subject to availability at time of reservation. Advanced reservations and e-certificate are required. *

This is hugely valuable. Ritz Carlton doesn’t ordinarily upgrade to the club level (even if booking through Virtuoso or Fine Hotels & Resorts), so being able to confirm a club level room three times a year is a great benefit. The downside is that apparently this can’t be booked in conjunction with a Virtuoso or Fine Hotels & Resorts rate.

  • Automatic Gold Elite status* in The Ritz-Carlton Rewards program your first year.

While it’s not the most valuable elite status in the world, it does get you room upgrades, free internet, and bonus points.

  • Extra Hotel Experience with each two-night stay or longer at a Ritz-Carlton hotel. Celebrate with a $100 Hotel Credit to be used toward your choice of dining, spa or other hotel recreational activities when reserving this offer. *

When I first read about this card I thought this was a hugely valuable benefit, though apparently it’s not valid in conjunction with a Virtuoso or Fine Hotels & Resorts rate. That being said, if you can confirm a club room and get the $100 hotel credit on a reservation, I’d say that’s a pretty great value.

  • Complimentary airport lounge access*

The airport lounge access benefit is offered through Lounge Club, so you can find the participating lounges here. Unfortunately it doesn’t include many of the major lounges, but rather mostly independent lounges (along with Alaska’s Board Room).

  • $200 annual credit for airline incidentals*

Unlike with the American Express Platinum card, this is valid on all carriers, though I suspect they may have a less liberal interpretation of what constitutes a “fee” than American Express does.

Anyway, if you’ve been eying the card, this really is a compelling offer. Especially with the increased sign-up bonus, lack of minimum spend required, and first year fee waived. I just wish it weren’t a Chase card, since there are a few other Chase cards I’m considering as well.

Comments

  1. says

    Too bad that i signed up one earlier this year! Don;t know if they will match this offer if i email them – i think the chance is small.

  2. dhammer53 says

    I’ve been reading that if you already have a Marriott card, you’re out of luck on this one.

  3. Vince says

    Applied….might not keep the card after the first year, but have a couple trips planned for this year where I would like to upgrade to a Club room. I’m not a big eater/drinker, but if I can do it for free, might as well. To me, it’s more about the obtaining the benefit for little consideration. And the 70k points is nice. Want to do a night across the river in NYC one night soon.

    I applied last night and got the stock message saying it would need further review…up to 30 days. I called in today to see what the status is but the only information they had was that my RC rewards number was being linked to the CC and I should receive something in 2 weeks. Maybe I’ll try back in another day or two .

  4. Matt says

    Their website shows that you can use reward points for gift cards, air miles, etc. Any reason these points wouldn’t be eligible?

  5. says

    Any idea if these points can be combined with Marriott points? 70,000 sign-on for Ritz Carlton combined with the 50,000 from the Marriott card would make this a pretty lucrative deal if redeeming 120,000 combined points.

  6. bo says

    @Lauren – actually YES. But if you sign up for the Ritz card after already having a Marriott account, you have to switch your Rewards account from Marriott to Ritz – it’s just a formality though, as you would now have 120,000 points that work the same way towards either Marriott or Ritz hotels.

    I’m surprised that’s its taken so long for this card to catch on. For our family’s purposes, its a better card than Chase Sapphire, Amex Platinum, etc. No, you can’t combine the Club Upgrade with the free night award (they’re pretty strict about that) but the $100 resort credit they are very loose with. On one stay we even had some of the credit left over at check-out, and the hotel actually credited the money back to our credit card.

    Club Lounges at Ritz are an entirely different animal than Marriott and others. For a family of two adults and two kids, this credit card effectively feeds everyone four gourmet meals a day for free for up to 7 days at a Ritz resort (you have to pay full rack rate – doesn’t work on top of a reward night). I signed up a year ago when it was the full $395 annual fee and only 50,000 signup, and I’ll jump at the chance to renew.

    Also – they are not particular about airline incidental refunds. I bought four $50 AA gift cards at Christmas (2011) then bought four $50 UA gift cards the next week (2012). It took one phone call (answered by a human on the first ring) to have the charges instantly credited.

  7. Askia says

    I assume by free gourmet meal a day you mean breakfast? I’ve never found the club lounge to be that great for “meals” although it is fantastic for snacks throughout the day.

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