Ritz-Carlton

The 4 Personal Travel Credit Cards NOT Subjected To The 5/24 Rule

Park-Hyatt-Sydney-1

Last year Chase expanded what’s commonly referred to as the “5/24 rule.” I’ve received quite a few requests from readers asking for an updated list of which cards aren’t subjected to this rule, so that’s what this post is about.

With Chase’s 5/24 policy, you typically won’t be approved for a card if you’ve opened more than five new accounts in the past 24 months. This is more of a general guideline than a strict rule, though. Here’s what you should know about 5/24:

Continue Reading »

Amazing Deal: 40K Marriott Points Per Night For A Villa With Private Pool!

Al-Wadi-Desert-4

One of my favorite ever uses of Starpoints was for a stay at Al Maha, which is a Starwood Luxury Collection desert resort just a short drive from Dubai. However, the redemption wasn’t cheap, even though I booked during a Starwood 35% off award sale.

The cost was still 39,000 Starpoints per night. However, that was a full board rate and included activities, so I thought it still represented a great deal. Here’s my review of the experience:

Continue Reading »

Which Hotel Programs Let You Earn Points & Elite Nights For Multiple Rooms?

park-hyatt-vienna-suite-12

Different hotel loyalty programs have different policies as to how many points, elite qualifying stays, and elite qualifying nights you can earn if booking multiple rooms. In other words, if you often travel with family and book two rooms, can you receive elite credits and points for each of the rooms?

The rules vary by program, so in this post I figured I’d look at the policies of the major hotel loyalty programs, as they impact earning points and elite qualifying credit for multiple rooms (in the title of each section I’ve added a link to the terms & conditions):

Club Carlson lets you earn points for up to three rooms booked on the same reservation. However, you don’t earn elite qualifying nights for multiple rooms.

Continue Reading »

The Card With The Most Generous Authorized User Priority Pass Benefit

Helsinki-Airport-Lounge - 22

Nowadays there are quite a few premium credit cards that offer a Priority Pass membership to cardmembers. At some point that’s almost a problem, as I have more Priority Pass cards than I know what to do with. 😉

For those of you not familiar with Priority Pass, it’s the world’s largest independent network of airline lounges, with over 1,000 lounges around the world.

Many credit cards offer a Priority Pass membership, though the terms associated with the membership can vary. For example, some cards only give a Priority Pass membership to the primary cardmember, while others also give it to authorized users on the card. However, many cards have additional fees for authorized users, which negates the value of that.

Continue Reading »

All The Ways To Earn Hotel Elite Status With Credit Cards

Grand-Hyatt-Hong-Kong-Grand-Suite - 38

One of the trends we’re increasingly seeing is the ability to earn hotel elite status through credit cards. Rather than having to put in up to 75 nights per year worth of stays in order to earn top tier status, many hotel groups are now letting you earn status for spending certain amounts on credit cards

In this post I wanted to look at all the ways to earn elite status with credit cards for several of the major hotel chains, including Club Carlson, Fairmont, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and Starwood. I’ll break down the option by loyalty program and then status level:

Continue Reading »

Marriott & Starwood Announce Their First Aligned Global Promotion

spg-double-take

In late September the merger between Marriott and Starwood closed, and I was impressed by the speed at which they added features for members. Starting day one they added status matching between programs, as well as the ability to transfer points. The specifics of the individual programs continues to differ, which is a blessing really, since it means we can take advantage of the relative strengths of the different programs.

Well, here’s another “first” in the merger process — for the first time ever, Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest are offering the same global promotion for members.

Through this new global promotion, members of Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest can earn double base points on their first three stays at participating hotels in each program:

Continue Reading »

Is It Worth Spending Your Way To SPG Platinum?

W-Guangzhou-Hotel

While I’m not thrilled about Marriott’s takeover of Starwood in the long term (it reduces competition), in the short term it presents some cool opportunities. For example, it’s now possible to transfer points at a fair ratio between the two programs. That means those with Starpoints can take advantage of Marriott’s Hotel + Air Packages, those with Marriott points can take advantage of Starwood’s direct mileage transfers, etc.

It also means that SPG Gold members can match to Marriott Gold, and SPG Platinum members can match to Marriott Platinum.

Reader Ali asked me the following question on Twitter, regarding earning SPG Platinum status through credit card spend:

Continue Reading »

Maxing Out My Last $300 Travel Credit Of 2016

ritz-carlton-vienna

There are several premium credit cards that offer annual travel credits, most of which are in the range of $200-300, and reset each calendar year (though exact terms vary).

One of the cards that offers a sizable travel credit is The Ritz-Carlton RewardsÂŽ Credit Card. In addition to the $300 travel credit, the card offers a great sign-up bonus of three complimentary nights at a Tier 1-4 property upon completing minimum spend, as well as perks like 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.

Lastly, the card isn’t subjected to Chase’s “5/24 rule,” so is generally easier to be approved for than many other Chase cards.

Continue Reading »

Everything You Need To Know About Redeeming Ritz-Carlton Complimentary Nights

Ritz-Carlton-Hawaii

The Ritz-Carlton RewardsÂŽ Credit Card has a sign-up bonus of three complimentary nights at a Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton property after completing minimum spend. That bonus is potentially worth the equivalent of 180,000 points, given that Tier 4 properties go for 60,000 points per night.

On top of that, the card has a lot of other great benefits, 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. Also 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.

In this post I wanted to talk about the actual process of earning and redeeming the three complimentary nights offered with the card, in the form of an FAQ:

Continue Reading »

My Experience Using The Ritz-Carlton $300 Travel Credit

ritz-carlton-bali

There are lots of great reasons to apply for The Ritz-Carlton RewardsÂŽ 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.

Continue Reading »

8 Reasons To Apply For Ritz-Carlton’s Credit Card

ritz

The Ritz-Carlton RewardsÂŽ Credit Card is one of the most compelling credit cards out there at the moment. I’ve written all about the individual benefits in the past, though figured I’d write a consolidated post with the eight reasons you should consider applying for the Ritz-Carlton Card, especially in light of the merger between Marriott and Starwood:

The card offers a sign-up bonus of three complimentary nights at a Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton property after spending $5,000 within three months. That’s a huge sign-up bonus — a Tier 4 property ordinarily costs 60,000 points per night, so the sign-up bonus is worth up to the equivalent of 180,000 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points.

On top of that, you can earn 10,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user and having them make a purchase within the first three months.

Continue Reading »

An Authorized User Benefit That’s MUCH Better Than I Thought

American-Economy

The Ritz-Carlton RewardsÂŽ Credit Card is offering a very lucrative sign-up bonus:

— 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, it comes with all kinds of perks that help to offset it, including a $300 annual airline 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.

However, there’s one benefit of the card that’s much better than I was expecting.

Continue Reading »

Review: Ritz-Carlton Almaty

ritz-carlton-almaty-5

I had a ~22 hour layover in Almaty, as I was arriving from Incheon at 4:45PM, and departing the following day to Astana at 2:30PM. Almaty doesn’t have that many major hotel chains, so after carefully reviewing the options I decided to book the Ritz-Carlton Almaty, which seems to be the best hotel in the city.

I’ve certainly become more interested in Ritz-Carltons since Marriott’s takeover of Starwood was completed, and also since The Ritz-Carlton RewardsÂŽ Credit Card started offering a great sign-up bonus of three complimentary nights after completing minimum spend (which can be redeemed at this property).

The hotel was nearly sold out for the night I was there, so the cheapest rate was for a club room, which cost ~$250. While expensive for Kazakhstan, in absolute terms that didn’t seem too bad, given how great Ritz-Carlton club lounges typically are.

Continue Reading »

Introduction: Journey To Kazakhstan

air-astana-business-class-767-1

My goal this year has been to review as many new airlines in premium cabins as possible, and I’ve found it to be immensely enjoyable. I’ve tried even more new products than I was hoping to, so several weeks back I shared an additional list of 13 more airlines I want to review in the coming months.

In the comments section of that post, a couple of readers mentioned Air Astana, which I didn’t really know the first thing about. After doing some research, I was fascinated by the airline, as they seem to run a solid and quirky operation. So this entire trip was centered around being able to try Air Astana, though fortunately I managed to try some other interesting products while positioning for the trip as well.

The first aspect of planning this trip was figuring out the ideal Air Astana itinerary. My goals were to do the following on a single itinerary:

Continue Reading »