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Ritz Carlton Rewards Credit Card Review
The forgotten brand in the recent SPG & Marriott merger is Ritz Carlton. They have a rewards program that is somewhat separate from Marriott but still a part of it.
Ritz Carlton, like Marriott, offers a co-branded credit card issued by Chase bank. The Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card comes with a large annual fee but a ton of perks. The question is whether or not those perks offset the annual fee.
Current Sign Up Bonus Vs All Time High
The current sign up bonus is:
- 2 Free Nights at a Category 1-4 Ritz Carlton Hotel
- After $4,000 in spend within the first 3 months of opening the card
The Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card has offered 3 nights in the past. It has been a while since we have seen that offer. They also offered 140,000 Marriott points as the sign up bonus back in 2014. It is one of Mark’s biggest regrets, missing out on that offer.
If you are close to being under 5/24 or you are currently under 5/24 then you may want to hold off applying for this card. It would be better to get one of the cards that fall under the 5/24 rule first and come back to this one.
Chase also has a 24 month rule for every credit card:
This product is not available to either current cardmembers of this credit card, or previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.
It is worth noting that Chase has been shutting down accounts of people with too many recent applications and for people with to much credit available to them across all banks. These are two things to be aware of before applying.
The Ritz Carlton Rewards card comes with the following earning structure:
- 5 points per $1 spent at participating Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, and SPG hotels.
- 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies and restaurants.
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other card purchases.
This card comes with a large annual fee but also with a lot of perks. They are as follows:
- $300 Annual Travel Credit (per CALENDAR year)
- use for baggage fees, seat upgrades, access to your preferred airport lounge and more. Simply call to apply the credit.
- Save $100 on the total cost of between 2 and 5 qualifying round-trip, domestic coach airline tickets purchases on the same itinerary. You must book the flights through their portal which can be found HERE.
- Upgrade to The Ritz-Carlton Club Level 3 times annually on paid stays of up to 7 nights
- No foreign transaction fees
- $100 hotel credit toward dining, spa or other hotel recreational activities on paid stays of two nights or longer
- Gold Status for the first year. You need to spend $10,000 per year to maintain the status after the first year.
- Earn Platinum status if you spend $75,000 within the cardmember year
- Priority Pass Select Membership
- 1 Guest allowed per visit
- Authorized Users get their own PP membership card and can also bring a guest
- $100 Global Entry application fee statement credit
The Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card comes with a $450 annual fee which is NOT waived.
Sign Up Bonus Value – $600 ($150 Net)
This bonus is hard to quantify since it is not points based. We decided to base it on the points cost of a category 3 hotel (50,000 points per night). This is based on a valuation of Marriott Rewards points at $0.006 a piece. If you use it at a category 4 hotel the value would increase by another $120. If you use it at a category 2 hotel the value would decrease by $120 etc.
Once you subtract the $450 annual fee which is NOT waived you get a net value of $150. This does not factor in the $300 annual airline fee credit.
As you can see the sign up bonus isn’t super lucrative and this card is more about perks and getting maximum value from those. Although it is believed that it will be possible to use the 2 free nights at ANY SPG, Marriott, or Ritz Carlton property in the coming months. The loophole won’t last long though.
The sign up bonus may have a higher valuation to you if you base it on actual room rates. We think basing it on point valuations is the better gauge of value since you can use Marriott points to stay at Ritz Carlton properties.
You need to call or send in a secure message to get the airline credits posted. This seems like an unnecessary step that Chase puts in there in the hopes of creating breakage. Reports have stated that it is a pretty painless process and they tend to approve anything that “codes” properly. A valuation of 85% of the credit is probably accurate since it is not as easy to use as Chase Sapphire Reserve’s credit. You are able to get the credit twice in the first cardmember year since it is based on the calendar year cycle. That should net you $510 in value (based on an 85% valuation).
The other perk people like to take advantage of is the $100 credit on roundtrip domestic coach flights. A total of 2-5 cash tickets need to be booked to use the credit. It is best to use this perk on itineraries of 2 people to maximize the discount. Since you have to pay with the Ritz Carlton card and can not use a more lucrative option or discounted gift cards it shouldn’t be valued at the full $100. Having said that if you can use this perk often it could offset a large portion of the annual fee, if not the entire thing.
Long Term Keep or Cancel?
This is a tough card to pin down as a long term keeper. It is right in the middle in terms of value. If you are able to maximize the perks then you will get more value than the annual fee. If you don’t use the perks then the card is not a long term keeper because the earning structure is lackluster. Some people keep it because of the ease of obtaining Gold Status after $10,000 in yearly spend.
We value the airline credit at $255. The Priority Pass membership and Global Entry credit are offered by just about everybody these days so we won’t include them in our value calculations. Although you may find value in the fact that authorized users also get a Priority Pass membership. We value $100 airline credit at $90 per use since you are locked into using the Ritz Carlton credit card when making the purchase. The club upgrades are useful if you usually have cash stays at Ritz Carlton. The same goes for the $100 property credit. This will probably not be the case for most people.
If you are able to use the $100 airline discount at least 3 times per year then you are getting more value from the card than the cost of the annual fee.
The Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card comes with a decent sign up bonus (which could be great), a lot of perks, but a lackluster earning structure. The card is best for perk seekers and not a card to be used for everyday spend.
If you are able to maximize all that the Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card has to offer then it could be a long term keeper. The key is using the $100 airfare discount multiple times and maxing out the airline incidental credit.
The card offers a lot of value the first year but whether or not you should keep it past that will depend on how much value you get from the perks. The large annual fee will make this tough to accomplish but there is opportunity there.
Do you have the card? Have you kept it past the first year? If yes let us know why.
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