The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card Gets New Sign-Up Bonus & Perks

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For a while, Chase has issued a co-branded Ritz-Carlton credit card, though they’ve recently refreshed the card. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card has now been refreshed, and it looks really compelling.

Ritz-Carlton Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus

The card offers a sign-up bonus of three complimentary nights at any Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotel after spending $5,000 within three months. Ritz-Carlton has a total of five tiers of hotels, so that covers a vast majority of their properties.

Ritz-Credit-Card

You can find a full listing of Ritz-Carlton properties by tier on this page. At the top right, just click “View hotels in [Tier].” As you can see, a free night typically ranges anywhere from 30,000 points to 70,000 points per night:

Ritz-Carlton-Tiers

Since Tier 4 properties cost 60,000 points per night, the three free nights are worth up to 180,000 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points.

Furthermore, you can earn 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase and addition of an authorized user within the first three months.

Ritz-Carlton-Half-Moon-Bay
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is a Tier 4 property

Ritz-Carlton Credit Card Annual Fee

The card has a $450 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year. The annual fee on the card used to be $395, though the card now also comes with some other great perks, so I still consider this to be a net positive.

Ritz-Carlton Credit Card Status Perks

This card comes with some very nice status perks for the first year, and through spending a certain amount on the card you can get status benefits for subsequent years as well:

  • You receive Ritz-Carlton Rewards Gold status for your first account year
  • Maintain Gold status for subsequent years by spending $10,000 on purchases within your account year
  • Achieve Platinum status when you spend $75,000 on purchases every account year

Ritz-Carlton Rewards elite benefits include the following:

Ritz-Carlton-Elite-Benefits

As you can see, elite benefits with Ritz-Carlton aren’t nearly as rich as with other programs. The main benefits are that you get room upgrades, a points bonus, and guaranteed late check-out. Unfortunately you don’t receive club level upgrades or complimentary breakfast at Ritz-Carlton properties. If you want complimentary breakfast, you’ll want to book through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts or Virtuoso.

Still, you might score some nice upgrades for having status.

Ritz-Carlton Credit Card Return On Spend

The card offers the following points earning structure:

  • 5x points at Ritz-Carlton and partner hotel stays
  • 2x points on travel and at restaurants
  • 1x point per dollar spent on other purchases
  • A 10% annual points premium on points earned through the card

In other words, in the end you’re earning 5.5x points at select hotels, 2.2x points on travel and at restaurants, and 1.1x points on other purchases.

Personally I value Ritz-Carlton points at ~0.8 cents, so to me this isn’t a very good return on everyday spend, as you can do better with other cards in most categories.

I’d rather earn 3x points on hotels through the Citi Prestige® Card, 2x points on travel and restaurants through the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and up to 1.5x points on everyday purchases through the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.

However, as explained above, you can earn and maintain Ritz-Carlton status for putting a certain amount of spend on the card, which I know many value. So when you calculate your return on spend on this card, you don’t just want to consider the points you’re earning, but also the potential value of status you could be earning through this card. $10,000 of spend per year in order to maintain mid-tier status with Ritz-Carlton isn’t that much.

Ritz-Carlton-Kapalua
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua is a Tier 4 property

Other Ritz-Carlton Credit Card Benefits

In addition to the above, you get the following benefits through this card:

  • A $300 airline travel credit
  • A $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check fee credit (just charge the application fee to your card)
  • A Priority Pass Select membership
  • A $100 airline credit when you book two or more passengers on a qualifying airline itinerary, with the primary cardmember being one of the passengers
  • A $100 hotel credit when you book an eligible stay of two nights or more (which I don’t value much, since you’d typically get a similar benefit, and much more, when booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts or Virtuoso)

Ritz-Carlton-Dubai
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre is a Tier 2 property

Ritz-Carlton Credit Card $300 Airline Travel Credit

Perhaps the biggest perk there is the $300 airline travel credit, which can nicely offset the annual fee.

Ritz-Carlton-Credit-Card

However, it’s worth noting that this isn’t quite as straightforward as the airline credit on the Citi Prestige® Card, for example, where all airline purchases can count towards the credit. In the case of the Ritz-Carlton Card, you have to call to request the credit, and it only applies to the following non-ticket purchases:

To request a statement credit to apply towards qualifying airline incidental 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 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.

What I’m not sure of is how this is calculated in practice.

How hard is this card to get approved for?

As is the norm with Chase products, the terms indicate that you are only eligible for the welcome bonus if you don’t have the card and haven’t received a bonus on the card in the past 24 months.

We don’t know if this card is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, where Chase isn’t approving those who have applied for more than five credit cards in the past 24 months.

Ritz-Carlton Visa Bottom line

This is a very nice sign-up bonus on The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card. Three free nights at most Ritz-Carlton properties in the world, plus 10,000 points after adding an authorized user, is a heck of a sign-up bonus. The card also has some very nice ongoing perks that help offset the $450 annual fee.

I don’t have experience with the $300 airline credit, given that it’s a manual process, though I’d be curious if it works on more than just incidentals.

The status benefits of this card are also nice, and it could be worth spending money on the card as a way of maintaining elite status. However, otherwise I don’t consider this card to be especially rewarding in terms of the return on everyday spend. Lastly, keep in mind that the all around best treatment you’ll get at Ritz-Carlton will probably be through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts and Virtuoso, rather than through elite status with the group.

What do you make of Ritz-Carlton’s refreshed credit card?


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Comments

  1. Does the priority pass select membership that comes with this card allow complimentary guests (like the Prestige) or for cardholder only? (like the Amex Plat)

  2. If you book the 3 free nights that you get, then use points for a 4th night, will you get 5th night complimentary? Or is it only for strictly points bookiings?

  3. Ben – because the Gold status in year one (and subsequent years with $10k spend) is the same as Marriott Gold…do you not get free breakfast at Ritz Properties? Ive used mine at Marriott locations but not Ritz properties as of yet. My upcoming stay at JW Marriott NoLa comes with breakfast. Curious to know why Ritz properties would be excluded?

  4. @lucky, have you seen any info on the club level upgrades that were a perk on the “old” card? I don’t see anything on the public pages in the fine print about these remaining. The Travel Hacking 101 group on FaceBook says the compliance people released a document stating that these 3 club level upgrades were going to stay. I’ve had this card a couple of years and those were the most valuable perk for my travel habits.

  5. @ Vick — Correct, Marriott Gold gets breakfast at non-Ritz properties, though even Ritz-Carlton Gold doesn’t get breakfast at Ritz properties. Ritz just isn’t as much about elite benefits, since they don’t feel like they have to be as generous.

  6. I too am curious if the club lounge certificates are going away. That is potentially the most valuable feature of the card, so if they’re raising the fee and getting rid of those, it’s pretty disappointing, although the improved sign-up bonus is obviously nice.

    I assume the Priority Pass does not come with guest privileges, since it doesn’t mention that. It also doesn’t say if AUs would be eligible to get their own Priority Passes, like they are for Amex Platinum.

  7. Three nights free at the Ritz isn’t worth the bother of a $450 card, remembering to cancel, effect on credit history and ability to get other cards, e.g. the 5/24 rule, like the upcoming Chase Reserve.

  8. Will current RC Visa Signature cards be transferred over? Do you think it’s worth it for current holders to pay the higher annual fee for the new benefits?

  9. @dbeach, excellent info. As a current card holder who utilizes these three upgrades every year, I’m glad to see it in writing on Ritz website. Thx.

  10. I’ve used the $300 credit for the Air Canada lounge pass that works at AC and UA lounges in North America. Alas, after a dozen flights, haven’t found a single use as either the ticket class (J) or another credit card benefit got me the lounge access.

  11. I used the airline credit to cover a closed-in booking fee on an award flight. Told them it was a same day change fee–they bought it.

  12. No breakfast, late checkout (blah…blah…blah), No guaranteed room upgrades (only if one is available at check-in time), 1st year (only) FREE Gold Status – who cares!, screwy and goofy $300 airline policy (more headaches than what it is actually worth), useless Global Entry for those who already have it, Priority Pass (who has time to visit a lounge when you are always at the edge of departure time when arriving @ the airport), $100 Hotel credit if your stay QUALIFIES, 3-nights signup bonus but you have to shell out $450 AF not waived in the first year, unlimited $100 discount on tickets provided you buy a non-ref/non-cancel. tickets. This is a stupid card…period. I dunno what the fuss is all about. Why is everybody up in arms with this card? And oh! it’ll mess up my 5/24!!! Hell NO! NO THX!!!!!!!!!!

  13. This card is great for an unspoken reason. With this card, you get JPMORGAN executive service, at least I did. With that, I had the 5/24 rule waived twice on 2016. Invaluable for a net out of pocket cost of $95.00

  14. I just got my Priority Pass Select and all my authorized user’s PP Select cards in the mail. It is a nice upgrade. 850+ lounges and same unlimited guesting privileges. The only limitation is based on the individual lounges. Unfortunately, PP lounges are rarely beneficial to me though.

  15. Bah! I was really hoping that they’d reverted to a points-based offer. Free nights that expire after the first year are of significantly discounted value (especially since they are only RC nights) unless you already have travel planned to a RC destination.

  16. Have the “old card” from 2014. Got my PP select card today. It’s unlimited guesting privileges like the lounge club. I hope the fee is still $395 a year though.

  17. @Kevin C @J How do you confirm that this new PP select card has unlimited guesting privileges? I also got the new card, but it says so nowhere. Also, do you know which one? Unlimited 1 guest per visit like previous lounge club card or unlimited 2 guests like Citi prestige?

  18. Let your passions lead you to unexpected places and exceptional rewards—up to 100,000 points between June 1 and September 30, 2016.

  19. Lucky,

    Was very interested in signing thru your link.

    But it looks like the ritz carlton Honolulu is excluded
    From comp free notes.

    Turnoff if I am spending for high annual fee.
    Thank you for sharing.

  20. Was instantly approved for this card last week. Can confirm that this card does not fall under Chase’s 5/24 rule.

  21. any benefit combining this card with amex platinum total annual fee would be 1,000 a year

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