Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card: Why You Want It, Even If You Never Stay At The Ritz

The Ritz-Carlton sounds like the kind of hotel that you might stay in if you owned a Rolls-Royce and managed your portfolio with Morgan-Stanley. I don’t do either of those things, but I’m strongly considering getting the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card from Chase. Here’s why.

Benefits that aren’t just about hotels

The offer you see at Chase.com provides a complimentary night stay at any “tier 1-4” Ritz-Carlton hotel after you spend $2,000 in the first three months. So basically, you get a free night at a luxury hotel that’s not in the most expensive part of a major city.

Instead, I’d apply for this card from this link, which offers 140,000 points in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. Not only is that enough for at least two nights at one of these properties, but these points can also be used for even more free night awards at Marriott properties as well.

The most important benefit (to me) is a $300 airline travel credit that can be used for a non-ticket purchase, including:

  • airline lounge day passes
  • seat upgrades
  • baggage fees
  • in-flight Internet/entertainment
  • in-flight meals

You also receive unlimited access to the airport lounges operated by the Priority Pass Select network.

Other benefits include three annual upgrades to the Ritz-Carlton Club level on paid stays, a $100 hotel credit on paid stays of two nights or longer, and a 10 percent annual points premium on card purchases.

There’s a $395 annual fee for this card, but no foreign transaction fees.

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When this card makes sense

I travel regularly, so I know it’l be really easy for me to use the $300 annual airline fee credit.

I also studied the fine print and learned that the annual fee credit can be used each calendar year, which means I can receive it once in the year I apply, and again the following year, $600 total – all for a single $395 annual fee.

Finally, I know that airline gift cards also count as “non-ticket purchases,” so I can use these gift cards to buy airfare as well, since I generally don’t spend own my money on seat upgrades, in-flight entertainment, and other airline fees.

So here I am being offered 140,000 points I can use for two free nights at the Ritz, or several free nights at Marriott properties, free lounge access around the world, and another $600 in airline tickets or expenses (the first year), all for a $395 annual fee.

Granted, I’m really more of a Marriott type traveler than a Ritz-Carlton kind of guy, but let’s just say that they twisted my arm.

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