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There are lots of great reasons to apply for The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card, which has a fantastic sign-up bonus of three complimentary nights at a Tier 1-4 property upon completing minimum spend. Keep in mind that this card isn’t subjected to Chase’s “5/24 rule,” so is generally easier to be approved for than many other Chase cards.
While the card has a $450 annual fee, it comes with all kinds of perks that help to offset it, including a $300 annual travel credit, Ritz-Carlton Gold status (which is also valuable at Marriott properties), a $100 domestic companion airfare benefit, three Ritz-Carlton club upgrades per year, etc.
In this post I wanted to talk a bit more about the $300 annual travel credit, since I just had my first experience trying to use it.
The Ritz-Carlton Card $300 annual travel credit
Nowadays quite a few premium credit cards offer annual travel credits (these include the Citi Prestige® Card, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, etc.), though they’re of varying value. The travel credit on The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card is among the bigger ones out there, at $300, though it’s also among the more restrictive.
The first good news is that the $300 annual travel credit is per calendar year, meaning if you apply for the card now you should be able to get the $300 travel credit for both 2016 and 2017. That means you’ll get $600 worth of travel credits before the second year’s annual fee is due.
Here’s what the terms state in regards to how the travel credit can be used:
- The credit isn’t automatic, but rather you have to call cardmember services within four billing cycles of the purchase date to request that it’s reimbursed
- The credit can only be applied towards non-ticket purchases, including airline lounge day pass, or towards a yearly lounge membership of your choice, airline seat upgrades, airline baggage fees, in-flight Internet/entertainment, and in-flight meals
That’s how the terms say the credit works, though what’s the process like in practice?
Experience using the Ritz-Carlton $300 travel credit
Ford has The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card, and we recently needed to buy some 500 mile upgrade stickers from American, for a companion traveling with us. That seemed like the perfect opportunity to use this credit, since it should be reimbursed.
So we purchased five of these upgrades (they cost $40 each), and they looked as follows on his credit card statement:
One thing that’s interesting is that when you charge an airline purchase to a Chase card, they don’t seem to do much to show what kind of transaction it is. Here’s what a recent American Airlines ticket purchase looked like on another Chase card:
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. To try and get the credit applied to the upgrade purchase, Ford sent the following secure message through Chase’s website:
I made a $200 upgrade purchase with American recently on my Chase Ritz-Carlton card, which I’d like to get refunded using the annual airline credit. Would you be able to process this for me? Thanks!
Here’s their response:
One of the many benefits of The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card is to receive a statement credit for airline incidentals up to $300.00 per calendar year (January 1 – December 31). Only the following types of non-ticket purchases qualify to receive credit for the Airline Incidental Credit benefit offered on this card:
- 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
The credit cannot be applied to:
- Taxis/subway/car rental/airport parking
- Airline gift card purchase
- Airline ticket purchases, including award booking fees, taxes related to a ticket purchase or pet cabin/flight fees
- Ticket cancellation fees
- Duty free shops
Please provide us with information or documentation to show that the $200.00 charge from American Air is for one of the qualified airline incidental charges listed above. Once we review the information requested we will issue credit in accordance with the terms of the benefit.
He replied with the following:
Thanks for the response. This was used to purchase the upgrade coupons that American sells. The upgrade coupons cost $40 each, and I purchased five of them. You can read more about the upgrade coupons here. Let me know if you require further information.
Then here’s their final response:
We have issued a $200.00 travel credit to your account as requested and will post on your December 11, 2016 billing statement. You have $100.00 of $300.00 remaining for the Airline Incidentals credit benefit for the 2016 calendar year. To view or use your Rewards points, go to ritzcarltonrewards.com or call Guest Services at 1-888-696-0394.
While the process of requesting a credit on The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card isn’t automatic like on some other cards, I still found it to be easier than I was expecting. It seems you simply have to send them a message with an explanation of the type of purchase you made, though they don’t actually require any specific documentation.
We’ll certainly be maxing out the $300 credit offered on this card every year. If you don’t yet have the card, picking it up soon would net you $600 worth of travel credits within the next couple of months, given that you’d potentially get the 2016 and 2017 credits just weeks apart.
What has been your experience with using the $300 airline credit on the Ritz-Carlton Card?