Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Adds Platinum Status And Fee Credit

I’ve written in the past about the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Card, which is one of the “higher end” hotel co-branded credit cards in terms of the benefits and annual fee.

While the annual fee on the card is $395, it comes with lots of great benefits, like a $200 airline fee credit, Gold Elite status in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program for your first year of membership, three upgrades to the Ritz-Carlton club level annually, and $100 hotel credit for stays of two or more nights.

Anyway, Chase announced some major improvements to the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa, which kick in today, May 1, 2014.

Ritz-Carlton-Rewards-Visa

These changes are as follows:

$200 annual travel credit being increased to $300

Previously the annual travel credit was just $200, though it’s now being increased to $300:

$300 ANNUAL TRAVEL CREDIT
You’ll have the opportunity to make the most of your trip with a $300 annual travel credit to use for baggage fees, Global Entry fees, seat upgrades, access to your preferred airport lounge and more.

Now you can earn Platinum status through credit card spend

It’s pretty easy to rack up status in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program using this card:

  • You receive Gold Elite status for the first year of membership
  • You receive Gold Elite status for any subsequent year in which you spend at least $10,000 on the card
  • You receive Platinum Elite status for any year in which you spend $75,000 on the card (this is a new benefit)

Admittedly the difference between Gold and Platinum status in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program isn’t huge, so it’s probably not worth putting an extra $65,000 of spend on the card for that. It’s still nice to have the option to earn it exclusively through credit card spend, though.

PLATINUM ELITE STATUS
Attain and keep Platinum Elite Status in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards®when you spend $75,000 on your card per account year, and you can enjoy arrival gifts, room guarantees, 50 percent added value on Ritz-Carlton Rewards points and more.
Visit ritzcarltonrewards.com/platinum for details.

10% annual points premium

Now, aside from putting spend on the card to try and qualify for Gold or Platinum status I don’t actually think this is a great credit card for everyday spend. That being said, the points you earn for spend on the card just increased by 10%. You now receive a 10% annual points premium each calendar year. So in the beginning of 2015 you’ll receive a points premium based on your spend in 2014.

10% ANNUAL POINTS PREMIUM
Each calendar year, you will receive a 10% annual points premium on Ritz-Carlton Rewards® points earned through card purchases made during the previous year. Your first premium, awarded at the beginning of 2015, will be based on all points earned in 2014.

Bottom line

It’s rare to see this many positive changes without a “catch.” The fact that the card has a $395 annual fee and comes with a $300 airline fee credit is awesome, and when you add in all the other benefits this is a pretty compelling card, especially for the first year.

Kudos to Chase and Ritz-Carlton! I don’t have the card but will certainly consider it in the future. And not that it should matter, but for what it’s worth this card isn’t part of my affiliate network.

(Tip of the hat to Erik)

Comments

  1. Thank you for the update Lucky. We stay at the Ritz properties 4-5 times a year with our young children. It might just worth to get this card just for the upgrades to the club level. Wished they would wave the first year of fees.

  2. @ Peetyrd — They do offer reciprocal elite benefits between programs, though you don’t get Marriott Platinum status, per se.

  3. Unfortunately, Platinum w/Ritz(Marriott) doesn’t mean much at Ritz. No guarantee lounge access or club room.

  4. Does the airline rebate reset in January? (I.e. is it based on a calendar year?)

    And can you use it to get AA gift cards, for example (like with the AmEx $200 rebate)?

  5. @ phone-home — Indeed, it’s based on calendar years, so presumably you could get $600 worth of fee credits with the first year’s annual fee. I don’t have any experience as to what they actually reimburse, though. Sorry.

    Here are the full terms:

    “To request a statement credit to apply towards qualifying airline incidental Net Purchase(s) made with your Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, you must contact J.P. Morgan Priority Services at the number on the back of your Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card within 4 billing cycles of the purchase date. Only the following types of non-ticket Net Purchases qualify for this offer: airline lounge day pass, or towards a yearly lounge membership of your choice; airline seat upgrades; airline baggage fees; in-flight internet/entertainment; in-flight meals; Global Entry fees. (”Net Purchases“ are purchases of goods and services made by you or any authorized user on your account minus any returns or refunds, and do not include balance transfers, cash advances, cash-like charges such as travelers checks, foreign currency, and money orders, any checks that access your account, overdraft advances, interest, unauthorized or fraudulent charges, or fees of any kind, including an annual fee, if applicable.) We do not determine whether merchants correctly identify and bill transactions as being of a certain type. However, we do reserve the right to determine which purchases qualify for statement credits. Statement credit will post to your account within 5-7 business days and will appear on your monthly credit card billing statement within 1-2 billing cycles. Qualifying purchases made by authorized users on your account are eligible for statement credits; however, only the obligor on the account, not authorized users, may request statement credits. Maximum statement credit accumulation for this offer is $300 per calendar year. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards is not responsible for offer fulfillment or the provision of or a failure to provide the stated benefits and services.”

  6. There was talk previously that you couldn’t get the card if you had a Marriott card. Do you have any info on that?

  7. The sign up offer is a free night stay in a category 1-4 hotel, FYI. Just called and that’s what they explained, it’s not an amount of points, and the certificate expires in a year.

  8. @Peetyrd – I have this card and it’s linked to my Marriott account, and my Marriott account shows as gold

  9. Lucky,

    I love your blog, but you should probably change the title of this. At first glance (especially via the twitter message), it makes it sounds like you get the card and you get platinum. 75k spend to get platinum? Ridiculous – maybe put that in the title…

  10. It’s a better deal to charge $75K and get PLT vs. the Marriott card where you get 1 stay credit for every $3K charged. However, the Marriott charges count towards lifetime status. I wonder if the Platinum status at Ritz will qualify for UA status under Marriott?

  11. @ Mike — Yep, you earn 5x points at Marriott properties:

    “5 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points per $1 spent at any participating Ritz-Carlton hotel, or our worldwide partner hotels including JW Marriott®, EDITION® Hotels, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels and Marriott Hotels & Resorts ®.”

  12. @ pointie — Appreciate the feedback and I do what I can to make the titles descriptive, but I also have to balance that with making them short enough to appear on Twitter and other social media feeds. If I were complete with the title I’d have to say “Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Adds Platinum Status After Spending $75,000 In A Year And Increases Fee Credit By $100,” and ultimately that becomes more of a blog post than a title.

    Hopefully that makes sense.

  13. Are you sure you don’t get marriott platinum if you spend 75K and get ritz platinum. I have the card, spent 10k last year and am currently ritz & Marriott Gold. Seems like if you could achieve marriott plat, this would be more lucrative.

  14. @ Peetryd — In that case I suspect you’re right, and you would actually get Platinum status with Marriott as well. Sorry about that!

  15. This card also comes with Lounge Club membership that includes unlimited free visits for you AND any guests you bring.

    I got this card with the annual fee waived and 70k points by calling 1-888-846-7004 and using offer code F53K. Not sure if it still works.

  16. If the airline credit works with gift cards it would be a no brainer but not so sure with the way these guys do business………..Had the card a couple of years back and the Club level upgrades were a joke for both Tahoe and Half Moon Bay……..both properties had Club Level internet rates that were cheaper than the minimum rate the free Club Level certs required……so the certs were worthless……….then both hotels shrugged their shoulders at the $100 credit promised and again said it was only good with the higher rates……..so the value of the card was relegated to the sign up bonus only………I do love Ritz Carlton but I have voluntarily downgraded myself to Hyatt in those markets because of the shabby credit card treatment………….let the applicant beware…………..

  17. What is glaringly missing in the offer is free breakfast. A breakfast program similar to hyatt would get me motivated to spend 75k.

  18. @justSaying – The airline credit is only for baggage fees and airborne purchases.

  19. @JustSaying: I believe they have corrected this. (or maybe I just got lucky.)

    My last two stays I was able to book online at the best rate I could find, and then call in after the fact and apply the Club Level Upgrade.

    Even if you can only use one Club Upgrade per year for a few night stay, this card is a strong value (stronger now with additional benefits).

    Also, Ritz Plat = Marriott Plat = Ritz Plat.

    That being said, at Ritz as a Plat, you are not necessarily guaranteed any upgrade benefits. And definitely not Club Level benefits (which is good – since people are mostly paying for access these are far superior to any other hotel’s club lounge.)

  20. @Brian L

    From the RizCarltonRewards.com site:

    “$300 Annual Travel Credit*Make the most of your trip with a $300 annual travel credit to use for baggage fees, Global Entry fees, seat upgrades, access to your preferred airport lounge and more. Simply use your card for these expenses and call us at 1-855-896-2222 , and we will refund the charges after your flight.”

    In action, I have found this to be an ‘almost anything goes’ proposition. Agents are friendly and helpful, and seem to want to credit you the money (not argue with you).

  21. @Lark If you are right then we should consider this as a great offer……..The Half Moon Bay Ritz is a stunning property that is world class………On my wife’s 1st anniversary of her stem cell transplant I surprised her by inviting 4 other couples from Marin and they all met there at the Chef’s table for a surprise dinner………she was totally clueless as she kept meeting them in the bar before hand and remarking what a coincidence they were there at the same time as we were……..the restaurant did an outstanding job……the Spa is great…the steam rooms and cold dip stunning……just a very classy spot on this earth……..the rooms are decadent and the views and walks are awe inspiring…………and their club room is way way over the top………true treats that might be hard to find at your deli………..Tahoe still a nice Club but no where near Half Moon Bay………..Tahoe 2X Hyatt and Half Moon Bay 5X

  22. I had the card 2 years ago and had no problems using the credits to buy AA gift cards. I just called them and they took it right off. Are they offering any free nights with this new offer?

  23. @ Joe — I still see it listed. Where do you not see it? Did you click on the actual application, because it shows there?

  24. I heard from a few people that gift cards did not work in their cases. It seems that buying GCs often won’t work (although it works sometimes).

  25. @ JustSaying

    Wow, wonderful story. (and greetings from a fellow Marin-ite!)

    My partner and I really enjoy the Ritz Half Moon Bay. The Club Lounge, as you mention, is exemplary. (And, one of the uses of our Club Upgrade certificate, on the best rate I could find, was here.)

    Believe it or not, for our next trip we are going to ride our bicycles to the hotel. I am going to drop off most of our clothes, etc. at the hotel a few days ahead of time so we won’t have too much to carry. Should be a fun trip, the new bike path that goes on the old Devil’s Slide road is supposed to be great.

    Remember: May is National Bike Month! 🙂

  26. If this gives you Marriott Platinum status, does that in turn get you United Silver as well, or is that only extended to Platinum’s that earn status the hard way? Would be only way to justify the $75k spend since Marriott Gold is more than enough for most folks.

  27. I agree w/ @Pointie, the title should be “Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Adds Platinum Status option And Fee Credit” for most of us, this card did not add Platinum Status, hence took me halfway down the post to realize the card was not worth it for me.

  28. There is some value to getting Gold status with Marriott, such as free breakfast at some properties.

  29. @Lark – According to @ChaseSupport when I asked them, it only covers baggage fees and the like. Don’t know (and don’t really care) if that’s how it works in practice, but that’s what they said.

  30. I applied for this card last year in order to get Marriott gold. A few observations and answers to some questions. First, I had the Marriott card at the time. It was automatically cancelled when I was approved for the Ritz card. Nobody even asked, so I assume this is somewhere in the terms, but that’s what happened to me. Second, the relationship between Marriott and Ritz rewards accounts is a mystery to me. At first, my rewards account was “converted” to a Ritz account, but then later merged back in to my Marriott account. I still have the same Marriott account number and access it using the Marriott site. I don’t, however, seem to be eligible for the same promos that my wife is eligible for on her marriott account — like megabonus. Third, I can tell no difference between the gold status that I get from this card and regular Marriott gold. For all purposes, I seem to be treated as gold with Marriott. What’s unclear to me, and the $64,000 question, is whether Ritz platinum earned through spend on this card will be treated like Marriott spend for purposes of United Silver. Last, note that the $75,000 spending requirement for platinum is retroactive — that is, if you had $75k in spend last year before May 1, you will be upgraded to plat, but otherwise, the new year starts May 1, 2014.

  31. @ Lucky – do you think Amex will come back with some strong improvements/offers for their Platinum cards given that they lost AA/US club access*, Citi is pushing 100K cards like crazy, and this Chase card is offering $300 reimbursement instead of $200 like Amex? Feels like Amex is falling behind competition and they can build their nice lounges only so fast.

    * – in case anyone’s wondering, there are still Amex Plat cardholders who aren’t aware they lost AA & US club access. Witnessed that first-hand in PHX a week ago. Not that US club @ PHX is anything special (sub-sub-par; even airport Wi-Fi was faster than club Wi-Fi, lol).

  32. I have had the card for over 6 months, but have found it totally useless. Can’t combine the points and cash for a room, can’t use the upgrade to club level without paying an obscene amount for the room, and the lounge card is a joke. I have not yet found an airport with one of their off-brand lounges. I’ll be cancelling this one, soon.

  33. @Mary B please expand……..Are you saying you found a great internet room rate and then the hotel wouldn’t let you apply the club level upgrade…..or did you use the 800 number and they wouldn’t let you apply the upgrade unless you switched to a rack rate? Would you put this in the “bait and switch” category”?

  34. I was using their online price for a beachfront regular room, and wanted to upgrade to club “in May or June” for 5 nights and was told there were no “upgrade rooms available.” I do consider it a form of bait and switch. And, I’ve read similar complaints on other sites. I think the Club upgrades are almost impossible to use at popular locales.

  35. I have both the Citibank Aadvantage Executive for the Admirals Club membership and a Marriott card. When their annual fees come around, I think that I will cancel those two cards and then use the $300 towards the Admirals Club membership. Thanks for the information!

  36. Card is WORTHLESS without club upgrades working properly……I won’t get the card until the terms and conditions specifically say that ALL rates are eligible for the Club upgrades……I’m not holding my breath and neither should you spend any time on this card………not FTU worthy……..

  37. I signed up for this card in June 2013 as a “1 year rental” knowing that I was going to stay at some Ritz’s throughout the 1 year. The 70k signup I combined with some existing Marriott points and spent a couple nights at the Amelia Island property – 40k/night and highly recommended. The big pluses with this card for me were:

    – My paid stays (3 nights Greensboro, GA and 6 nights in Sarasota, Fl – both $249/night in March and May of this year plus 2 more paid nights in Amelia Island) included Club Level. High floor room, all you can drink and eat minus a square dinner for the entire trip. Awesome people and concierge. This is HUGE.
    – $100 credit each stay a nice bonus
    – 17.5x points on the room cost (Recent 6 nighter in Sarasota was about $2k including all taxes, resort fee, etc so I got 35k Ritz points just about enough for another night.
    – $200 per calendar year in baggage fee credits. So YES it can be used twice if you sign up for card now and YES it is $300 now, so $600 in these credits. I used for a first class upgrade and also a lounge fee.

    If you plan on at least 1 or 2 paid Ritz stays in the next year then this card is a no brainer.

  38. I guess if you use it on some of the less desirable Ritz properties that the club level works good for you………let the buyer beware…….

  39. @Ed…just signed up for this card yesterday, how is it that you can use the $300 credit twice in the calendar year? Additionally, do you know how the Lounge Club access works for authorized users? Will I be able to get cards for the rest of my family so that they can access the lounges when I am not traveling with them?

  40. @Nellis I think Ed is saying you’ll get the $300 credit for 2014, then receive it again in 2015 before you’re up for annual fee…so $600 in your year with the card.

    Anyone applied and received the bonus after also getting the Marriott 70k?

  41. To Nellis, no each of your family members has to get his/own lounge card if you are not travelling with them.

  42. I’ve had the card for 2 years now. I get full Gold treatment from Marriott properties. FYI, when searching for rooms/rates eligible for the club level upgrade, use promo code Z34 on the RC (or presumably Marriott) website. It will then list the best available rates, as well as the rates eligible for the upgrade. Typically, in my many searches, there is no difference in those rates. Sometimes other promos are close (such as the “Comfort You” rates) to the Ritz Card benefit ($100 credit per stay for 2 nights or more). Also, if there is a club level room listed under the “Special Rates” section (associated with the Z34 promo code) that typically seems to mean that the upgrade cert will be honored upon booking. However, if there is club level room listed under “Regular Rates” only, it likely means they have a few club level rooms for sale, but not eligible for the cert. I have occasionally used the cert for perennially sold out hotels (such as Reynolds Plantation over July 4th) with best available rates (but have booked 4ish months in advance). In fact, this year, when I searched just a couple weeks ago, the rates for 2 of my nights had dropped, and I called and they honored the reduction and kept my cert in place. Have also used the cert for Caribbean properties in Dec.

  43. HI there
    Seeing different stories regarding both the 3 x upgrade certificates for club lounge and also the $100+ on 2+ night stays. Specifically seems a lot of people are saying these can only be used on certain room rates such as full rack. Can anyone confirm or deny this ? If you can use them on the internet rates (lowest rate) offered on the hotel website then I don’t see that as being too bad but if you have to book full rack rate which could be $100 to $200 more than the advertised lowest hotel website rate then that is not a good value IMO

    Thanks for any insight you can offer

  44. Another question. With regards to the authorized users on the RC card, which perks do they share with primary cardholder vs which do they get a fresh set of. For example does the primary cardholder get the $300 airline credit and share with authorized user (AU) or does AU get separate set of airline credits, same question for the other perks please.

    Thanks

  45. @ WC — It has to be the best flexible rate. So not rack rate, but also not an advance purchase or discounted rate.

  46. @Lucky, thanks for your response, so therefore the rate on the website should be honored with the upgrades etc nothing higher than that ?

    Also any chance you could shed some insight on my other question:

    With regards to the authorized users on the RC card, which perks do they share with primary cardholder vs which do they get a fresh set of. For example does the primary cardholder get the $300 airline credit and share with authorized user (AU) or does AU get separate set of airline credits, same question for the other perks please.

    Thanks

  47. @ WC — Well you have to book by phone, so you should call to be sure. The authorized users don’t get an additional airline fee credit or Gold status.

  48. There is DEF a bait and switch with this card! I just tried to use my RZ club level cert at RTZ south beach location and they tried to get me to pay more for the actual “CLUB LEVEL” room rate! I stayed calm and told asked what is the purpose of the upgrade if they do this. I stood my ground and they gave me the lower rate with the upgrade, but I am canceling this card AFTER I use my last upgrade certificate and get all of the my “fee credits” before they charge me again for the annual fee!

    They think they are slick!

    Also, can you use the $100 per stay credit with your club lounge upgrade?

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