140,000 Point Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Sign-Up Bonus

Link: Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Signature Card

Arguably the most high end hotel credit card is back with an increased sign-up bonus.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa sign-up bonus

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Signature Card is offering a sign-up bonus of 140,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of card membership.

The card does have a $395 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year. For context, in the past we’ve sometimes seen a 70,000 point sign-up bonus with the annual fee waived, so whether or not this offer is better depends on whether you value Ritz-Carlton Rewards points at over ~0.56 cents each (since you’re basically deciding whether you want to pick up an extra 70,000 points for $395).

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa benefits

This card comes with a ton of benefits, including:

  • Gold Elite status for the first year of membership
  • Gold Elite status for any subsequent year in which you spend at least $10,000 on the card
  • Platinum Elite status for any year in which you spend $75,000 on the card
  • A $300 airline fee credit per calendar year
  • Three upgrades to the Ritz-Carlton Club for stays of up to seven nights each

Ritz-Carlton-Club
Ritz-Carlton Club Hong Kong

The $300 airline fee credit is based on calendar years, so you should be able to get two airline fee credits out of the first year’s annual fee. In other words, you’ll be making money on the card. A $395 annual fee with $600 worth of airline fee credits is already a “profit” of $205, assuming you value the airline fee credit at close to cash value.

And Gold Elite status in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program is quite valuable. You receive reciprocal benefits at Marriott properties, so when staying at Marriott properties you receive club lounge access, etc. (Marriott really doesn’t have many elite benefits, eh?). For subsequent years, it can make sense to put $10,000 of spend on the card to maintain Gold status, in my opinion, since it is useful for Marriott stays.

Ritz-Carlton-Gold

Don’t get too excited about the club upgrades. They can only be used on select rates, and not in conjunction with Virtuoso/American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts. So while they can be useful for some, don’t expect you’ll be able to book a discounted promo rate and use them.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa spending bonuses

The card offers the following bonuses on everyday spend:

  • 5x points per dollar spent at Ritz-Carlton properties
  • 2x points per dollar spent on airline tickets when purchased directly with the airline, car rental agencies, and restaurants.
  • 1x point per dollar spent on everything else
  • 10% annual points bonus each calendar year

I value Ritz-Carlton Rewards points at under a penny each, so personally I don’t think it’s worth putting non-bonused spend on the card. The one exception is if you’re going for one of the thresholds, like trying to spend $10,000 on the card your second year so you can maintain Gold status.

Ritz-Carlton-Hong-Kong
Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong

70,000 points vs. $395

So is it worth going for this offer over one in the future that might have the first year’s annual fee waived? Well, 70,000 points is enough for one night at Ritz-Carlton’s top tier properties, like the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. If you value that at more than $395, then absolutely.

For example, you can redeem a free night at the Ritz-Carlton New York, where rates are often ~$1,000 per night:

Ritz-Carlton-Rate-2

Ritz-Carlton-Rate-1

Or you could redeem 60,000 points for two free nights at a Tier 1 property, which are still in almost all circumstances worth $200+ per night.

Bottom line

This is as good as the sign-up bonus gets on this card. You’ll make money on the card the first year, and pick up quite a few points which can be redeemed for some stays at Ritz-Carlton properties.

Ritz-Carlton-Hong-Kong-1
View from the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong


The information for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card has been collected independently by One Mile at a Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Comments

  1. Ben, isn’t there some very lucrative “vacation” plan that includes flights and longer stays w/ Ritz as well…I seem to remember reading about it on someone’s blog, or maybe FT…???At the time Ritz wasn’t really on my radar, but this might make it worth it…Also, if you are Platinum w/ Marriott and you get this card, close your Marriott account and transfer the points [ I believe you have to, no…??? ] would you then be Platinum w/ Ritz instead of just Gold…???

  2. The only “problem” with their airline fee reimbursement is they are very picky about what they will reimburse. They would not reimburse a $200 cancellation fee for me. They limit it pretty much to baggage fees and on board purchases and seat upgrades. Definitely no gift cards get by these guys.

  3. @ John — They can’t be converted into Marriott Rewards points, but Ritz-Carlton Rewards points can be redeemed for Marriott stays.

  4. Although it isn’t as strong as FHR or Virtuoso freebies, the $100 credit for a two night stay is a nice benefit.

  5. Do you know what kind of deal they give on the Lounge access? Not much info in the details. Is it more, you get a discount on a day pass?

  6. Thanks Ben. I have the Lounge through Ink Bold. 2 free visits then $27/visit (guests get same deal) so a nice addition if you don’t travel a lot/no status. I’ve only accessed at AMS and BRU and both were decent.

  7. I think it’s also the priority pass membership that you get now. With the Ritz card though, you can bring your entire family.

  8. @ Jenelle Madera – I have this card 3 years and it can definitely be used on multiple airlines. You simply call and speak to a real person, identify the charges on your card (I’ve called about charges from 2 days past to 7-8 months past, but within the calendar year) and they issue a credit. They keep track of your total credits, which are based on the calendar year. They do not care which airline.

    I’ve successfully used it for onboard purchases (3-4 carriers), United Club drink charges, and flight change fees (US and Southwest).

  9. So, question. I have this from the previous 70K/ waived AF offer earlier this year. Question is, I have gold status until mid- 2015. If I put 10K on it now, will I have the gold status again after the 1st year is up, or do I need to wait to put the 10K spend until the 1st year is up?

  10. @ SEM – there seems to be no real distinction between Marriott Rewards and Ritz Rewards. When I got this card, I gave them my existing MR number, and my account was converted to Ritz Rewards. I’m not sure what, if anything, that means. My points, promotions, profile, free night stay certificate, etc., etc. were all still there. In fact, I still, as always, log in to Marriott Rewards with the same online account I’ve always had. I was Silver, and they bumped me to Gold because of the card, but I would be 99.9% sure you would retain platinum.

    I stay at Marriott much more often than Ritz, and I’m always greeted “Thanks for being Marriott Gold”. At Ritz: “Thanks for being Ritz Gold”. In substance it seems to be a single program, with slightly differentiated branding/marketing.

  11. @ Jason – Spending for elite status is based on your Account Year (the date you opened the account thru your first statement following 1 year). Click on Ben’s application link above, and then click “Offer Details” for a complete explanation.

  12. And one more comment: when searching for a room on ritzcarlton.com, use promo code Z34. This will show the “Cardholder” rates (which include the $100/stay credit for 2+ nights) next to regular published rates. This is the only rate that qualifies for the $100 credit or the upgrade cert. Generally speaking (no guarantee though) if both a regular room and club room are listed under the Special Rate section, that means you can pay that regular room rate and use the upgrade cert. I’ve used the cert 4-5 times (most recently Aruba last month) and generally had good luck with availability.

  13. Ben, Three important questions: (1) I am confused on whether it can or cannot be used to purchase airline gift cards or certificates? One comment said absolutely not. (2) Also, even if you could use it for gift certificates, how can you use it in 2 calendar years with only 14 days remaining in 2014 and it could take more than 15 days to get your card after approval with these short weeks left during the holidays. (3) Lastly, can you get approved if you already have a personal Marriott Rewards Chase Card?

  14. @ Old Flyer —

    1) I don’t have the card personally, so don’t have firsthand experience. That being said, I know many have gotten gift cards reimbursed.
    2) You can ask to have the card expedited, so should be able to get it well before the year is up.
    3) I believe you can on the Chase’s end, though I believe you can only be a member of either Marriott Rewards or Ritz-Carlton Rewards, technically. Maybe someone else can chime in on this.

  15. @ Old Flyer –

    1) I have had luck getting gift cards reimbursed. I just sent a SM via Chase.com, reimbursed within days.
    2) My card was expedited to me at my request, got it in California in 2 business days.
    3) I have a personal Marriott card and did not need to close it in order to get the R-C card.
    When I applied for the R-C card, I entered my Marriott Rewards number. My Marriott account reflected Gold status the day after approval, and the R-C club upgrade certs are in my Marriott account.

    Hope that helps!

  16. This really does help 100%! Thanks for taking the time to help a senior understand the way it works. Your wonderful!

  17. any idea when this offer will end, would love to get this card but just applied for their Marriott card back in aug. @jason have you gotten reimbursements for gift card purchases?

  18. Question about Elite Status time period. In my case, my Ritz account was opened in April, 2014. As of November, I met the $75k spending, and was upgraded to Platinum status. Am I reading the terms correctly that I will retain Platinum status until December 31, 2016? ($75k spent within my account year, which ends April 2015, results in status benefit through 12/31 of the following year, 2016). Seems like their using a mix of account/calendar year, you can really stretch out the elite status.

  19. Just FYI, I had this card for a year, and never found a way to use the upgrades. Also, both upgrades and the hotel credit are available only for fully paid stays–if any part is on points, no upgrade or credit. I did not find the card very useful. (I did use the airline credit for gift cards, but did not “double dip” for two years. I just felt like it wasn’t right. Not sure I still feel that way, given that I felt like the offer was rather “bait and switch” in the way they advertised the upgrades and credits.)

  20. Very helpful post and comments. Does anyone know what number to call to get the card expedited? I applied and got approved but no telephone number is provided.

  21. Both you and LindaK have been able to get reimbursed for gift cards, but other blogs say it is now scrutinized carefully and won’t be approved. Also, you now have to call in (not use Chase SM) to a special number and Chase will check with the airline if they suspect gift card usage. (1) Can you tell me if you were successful this past year or was it a long time ago? Also, (2) did you have to call in the special number to get reimbursed? Lastly, (3) what was your strategy for the gift card, e.g. did you spread it over a number of smaller amounts or did you buy one gift card for the maximum? Given the new information you posted about the restrictions on the hotel credit and upgrades limited to fully paid stays (presumably higher than a discounted paid stay using AARP or a promo), the only value seems to be a double dip on the gift card if that is even possible any more. Any more info you can provide on the 3 questions above will be greatly appreciated!

  22. LindaK,

    Since your earlier post, I have run into some negative feedback. Please see my 3 questions for mbh. Can you comment on those too? Thanks a bunch for your help.

  23. 1. did it about 6-8 mos. ago.
    2. did have to call special number and ask that it be removed from my bill.
    3. did break it up and kept them all under $95, which was the going advice online at the time.

    It may have changed (but it was always “against the rules”). I did not have to do any selling or convincing, though–it was easy to do. I would be worried that they are cracking down, though. And, I am shocked that all these cards still let us double dip for 2 years. Maybe it’s an IT glitch and it’s too hard to fix it, but I would think it’s awfully expensive for them. Did I get all your qs? Hope so.

  24. You got all my questions answered. Thanks for your wisdom along with your comments. I am worried that they are cracking down too. Thanks again!

  25. @ Old Flyer, I purchased two e-gift cards at $75 each (just in case it didn’t work, I didn’t mind risking $150). This was done very recently, about two weeks ago, and the reimbursement was approved within days of purchase via an SM on Chase.com.

    Haven’t booked any stays at R-C yet, so can’t comment on that.

  26. @ AR – I called the number to submit an application and told them I was approved online the day before, but could they expedite the card as I was planning on taking it with me on a trip soon. They looked me up, confirmed the approval, and put in a expedited shipment request, free of charge.

  27. Don’t know if this will help, but I applied for a Marriott card last month & was approved and then applied yesterday (thanks to the ideas from LindaK and MBH) for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa) and was approved today after calling their reconsideration line. They just reduced some credit lines from other Chase cards for my new Ritz-Carlton card. My point is you may not have to wait to apply for this card. Hope it helps.

  28. @ LindaK / MBH / OldFlyer: I am new with this card and a senior traveler too like Old Flyer, your help is greatly appreciated:

    1.Where did you buy the e-gift cards so that it would be eligible and count for reimbursement by Chase? (e.g: AA.com or form any particular store?).

    2. What did you say/write to the Chase agent when calling on phone or secure message to ask for reimbursement? Would you please write down what did you say/write. I am just concerned if I just said “please reimburse my airline purchase dated xx/xx/xx” and then they asked “please specify what kind of airline purchase is it?”…….I cannot say “gift card” as it would make it ineligible for reimbursement.

    3. You mentioned the “double dip” for the airline gift cards and keep the purchase of the gift cards under $95 each and LindaK made purchase of $75 each. What is the purpose of that? can you please explain and elaborate. Why not buy $300 in one go since that’s the maximum amount that eligible for reimbursement.

    Sorry for asking a lot of questions, it really means a lot for me and I really appreciate it if you could please help. Thank you so much in advance.

  29. You can call reconsideration line at 888-609-7805 to request expedited delivery couple days after approval, should take 2 business days…
    I kept my gold status after the 1st year without spending “the required” $10,000 for unknown reason, I have both Marriott and Ritz Carlton.
    You can cancel your current Ritz Carlton and apply again for the 140,000 bonus points if your previous bonus was given to you more than 24 months ago.
    If you have Marriott card, in addition to the annual free night cat.5 you can get additional free night after every $3000 spent on the card.
    I heard that you can buy gift cards from AA.com but NOT from United
    Hope this helps

  30. I’ve seen conflicting reports as to whether this is still alive or not. Anyone get it recently? Also, seeing lots of posts that you can combine the points from R-C to Marriott if you want. Anyone done that?

  31. @Devon, yes the offer is still live: https://www.theritzcarltonrewardscard.com/offer140k

    You can combine your Ritz Carlton and Marriott rewards accounts. Just list your Marriott rewards # on the application. Make sure your rewards account info matches up exactly what appears on the credit application, otherwise Chase will create a new Ritz Carlton # for you. This is what they did to me.

    I simply called up the accounts reward team and they merged my two accounts. They asked which one I want to be the primary account and I picked Marriott.

  32. It specifically staes “ANNUALLY” for the $300 travel reimbursement which is NOT the same as a “calendar year” like American Express operates with. You are misleading your readers by suggesting that they will get $600 in travel reimbursements which is not e case.

  33. I tried double dipping for the $300 Ritz travel reimburcement. The first time in Nov. 2014 for a $300 AA travel certificate. No problems, processed quickly via online chat. The second time in Jan. 2015, a $300 AA travel certificate was NOT reimbursed via online chat, despite several attempts. Disappointed and will cancel the card. As mentioned earlier, the other benefits simply do not justify this card without the double dip.

  34. @Mary – You can get the $395 annual refunded + still keep your $300 in airline credit and your 140,000 points 😉 I wrote a blog post about this. You just have to lower your credit limit to $1,000 and it will trigger Chase’s system to refund you! I transferred my credit line over to Chase Sapphire Preferred. Got the $395 refunded 3 days later!

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