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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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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)
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.
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?