- Three complimentary nights at any Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotel after spending $5,000 within three months
- 10,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user and having them make a purchase within the first three months
While the card has a $450 annual fee, the three complimentary nights along with some of the other perks make this card extremely lucrative. For example, the card comes with a $300 annual airline credit, Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit, $100 airline credit when booking two passengers on a domestic itinerary, etc.
In this post I wanted to talk a bit about the status offered through The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card, which shouldn’t be underestimated.
Earning Ritz-Carlton Gold & Platinum status with the Ritz-Carlton Card
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card makes it pretty easy to earn Gold or Platinum status in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program. With this card you receive Ritz-Carlton Rewards Gold status for your first account year, and you can maintain Gold status in subsequent years by spending $10,000 on the card, which isn’t all that much for a very useful status level.
Furthermore, you can achieve Platinum status when you spend $75,000 on purchases every account year. Personally I don’t think Platinum status is worth it, marginally, but $75,000 in spend is a lot less than the $180,000 of spend required on the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card in order to earn Platinum status.
What’s the difference between Marriott and Ritz-Carlton status?
They’re basically the same. Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards both have Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers, and they more or less offer reciprocal benefits.
Keep in mind that Ritz-Carlton is owned by Marriott, though they decided to maintain a separate loyalty program just from a branding perspective. I guess they figure that frequent Ritz-Carlton guests would rather be recognized as a Ritz-Carlton Gold member than a Marriott Gold member, for example.
So the programs are really only different in terms of marketing. You’ll get the same treatment at Marriott regardless of whether you have status with Marriott or Ritz-Carlton, and you’ll get the same treatment at Ritz-Carlton regardless of whether you have status with Marriott or Ritz-Carlton.
The only real difference between the two programs is the promotions they offer.
What does Ritz-Carlton Gold status get you at Ritz-Carlton hotels?
I don’t love Ritz-Carlton’s elite recognition. To break down what I consider to be the most valuable benefits, Gold members receive:
- A 25% bonus on earned points
- Guaranteed 4PM late check-out at non-resort properties
- A complimentary room upgrade, excluding club rooms and suites
So as you can see, the benefits aren’t huge, though the late check-out benefit is nice. That being said, most of my Ritz-Carlton bookings are through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, where I already get guaranteed late check-out and a room upgrade.
But there’s much more value to Ritz-Carlton status than that…
What does Ritz-Carlton Gold status get you at Marriott properties?
As a Hyatt and Starwood loyalist, this is where I see the most value. Ritz-Carlton Rewards Gold members receive the same benefits at Marriott properties as Marriott Rewards Gold members.
These include the same benefits as above — a 25% points bonus, guaranteed late check-out, room upgrades, etc.
However, the big difference is that you get executive lounge access or free restaurant breakfast at most Marriott properties. Here’s the confusing way they phrase the benefit:
- Free daily continental breakfast, light snacks and beverages for members and one guest in the Executive Lounge at JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance® and Marriott Hotels® (resorts excluded), Delta Hotels®. In the U.S. and Canada, select hotels will provide 750 or 1,000 points in lieu of breakfast in the event the lounge is closed.
- At JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection®, Renaissance Hotels® and Marriott Hotels® (Resorts, Courtyard Hotels, EDITION® Hotels and AC Hotels are excluded).
So you’re not guaranteed breakfast at resorts, but otherwise you’re getting free breakfast at most Marriott brands.
To me this is really valuable. While Marriott is in the process of taking over Starwood, it’ll likely be another year before the programs are merged in any substantial way.
Marriott has hotels everywhere, and I need to make stays with them fairly often. For example, I recently stayed at the Marriott Madrid Airport, and ended up paying for a club room. Even so, I couldn’t get late check-out, even though I would have really valued that.
If I were a Ritz-Carlton Gold member, I would have gotten free lounge access and 4PM check-out without issue.
It can be confusing to understand the difference between the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton loyalty programs, though the reality is that they more or less offer the same elite benefits.
I value the Gold status offered by The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card more for my stays at Marriott properties than Ritz-Carlton properties. Free breakfast or lounge access, 4PM check-out, and a room upgrade, would go a long way to making my Marriott stays more pleasant.
Heck, long term that might just be how I choose to maintain my status with the “new” Marriott, once the merger is complete. If I can earn all the important status benefits with $10,000 of credit card spend, and if they don’t introduce a substantial suite upgrade benefit for Marriott Rewards Platinum members, then why bother putting in more effort?
So it’s yet another great benefit of this card, even though many may not think of the association between Marriott and Ritz-Carlton.
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the Marriott Rewards Premier 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.