About Ritz Carlton Rewards Credit Card

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card by Chase offers you the initiative of a free three night stay at any participating Ritz-Carlton tier 1-4 hotel if you spend $5,000 or more within the first three months of the card open date.

There’s a reason why Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton properties are renowned as a top-level luxury hotel chain.

Attentive service, flawless properties and a sterling reputation make it one of the most recognizable hospitality brands in the world. And now you can get a taste of that luxury by signing up for Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card.

At the time of our research, the Ritz-Carlton card was offering three free nights at Tier 1-4 hotels for new cardmembers who made $5,000 in purchases in the first three months. The card is part of the exclusive Visa Infinite program, which comes with a few other perks, too (we’ll talk about those in a few minutes).

But before we get too far into the benefits of this card, we think it’s important to stop for a minute and consider that all credit cards, no matter how great their benefits, have drawbacks and fees you should know about before you sign up.

We’ve done dozens of reviews on credit cards and other financial products, and one thing we’ve learned is that credit card companies are hoping their perks will draw you in, and that, over time, things like APR and annual fees will earn them back the freebies they gave you.

So, in the spirit of remaining objective and understanding exactly how much the Ritz-Carlton card will cost you, we’re going to divide up this review into four parts:

  • The short- and long-term benefits
  • The fees
  • The reviews
  • Our conclusion

Along the way, we’ll try and help you understand this card in the context of its long-term pros and cons.

The Short-Term Benefits of This Card: Free Nights, Points Bonuses, Upgrades

So, like we mentioned a few seconds ago, if you spend $5,000 in the first three months, you’ll get three free nights. Those nights will show up in your account 6-8 weeks after you hit the spending mark. How easy is it to get the bonus nights?

Well, the average American family, by our calculations, can easily use their credit card for $2,000 in purchases each month, which means you should hit the $5K requirement somewhere in the third month.

What You Can Get With Three Free Nights

The next question is: What hotels are available in Tiers 1-4? The good news is that Ritz-Carlton hotels only have five tiers, so you aren’t missing out on much because of the tier limitation on the free nights. From here, it’s important to know how many hotels are in those four tiers and how many of those hotels are located in the United States:

  • Tier 1: 17 hotels, one in the U.S.
  • Tier 2: 18 hotels, eight in the U.S.
  • Tier 3: 31 hotels, 16 in the U.S.
  • Tier4: 15 hotels, 10 in the U.S.

In total, there are 81 hotels in Ritz-Carlton’s Tier 1-4 categories. Thirty-five of those hotels are located in the United States.

If you’re curious about which R-C properties are located in the United States, head to the Marriott’s reward category search tool. Click on the menu box next to the “Find” button and select any of the Tier options.

Pro tip: You can lose these free nights if you don’t use them (read more in the Fees and Fine Print section).

Add an Authorized User to Get 10K Points

You’ll also get 10,000 bonus points if you add an authorized user to your account. Once a purchase has been made on that card, it will take about 6-8 weeks to see those points show up in your Ritz-Carlton loyalty account.

These are the two short-term benefits this card offers.

The Long-Term Benefits: On Par With Luxury Cards

The R-C card is an interesting one because it’s what’s known as a “co-branded” card, which means the card is linked to one particular business. Other co-branded hotel cards are the Hyatt Visa and Marriott Rewards Premier, which are Chase cards, too.

It’s also a luxury card because it’s annual fee is $450 (more on that later), which puts it in an elite class of cards which includes the MasterCard Black, Citi Prestige, American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

If you aren’t familiar with luxury cards, they have annual fees between $450 and $500 and offer some yearly travel-related perks. We’re going to list the R-C card’s benefits, and we want you to keep in mind that they’re very similar to what you’ll find with luxury cards:

  • $300 credit for airline incidental purchases (airport lounge access, seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight entertainment, and meals)
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership for free access to more than 900 Priority Pass airport lounges
  • $100 reimbursement for the Global Entry program application fee (expedited security at U.S. airports)
  • $100 discount on U.S.-only, round-trip ticket purchases made with card

The last perk isn’t a common luxury card benefit – it’s something specific to the Visa Infinite program (of which the Sapphire Reserve is a part).

Aside from these luxury-related perks, the R-C Rewards card gives you several hotel-related perks you get each year.

Three Free Club Upgrades

Ritz-Carlton Rewards cardmembers also get to upgrade their room to a Ritz-Carlton Club room three times a year on paid stays up to seven nights. This upgrade gets you access to The Ritz-Carlton Club, a lounge found in R-C hotels that offers, according to travel rewards site View From the Wing, breakfast, lunch, tea, cocktails and desserts.

Gold Elite Status

Ritz-Carlton’s “Elite” loyalty program has three tiers: silver, gold, and platinum. Gold status, which you get yearly if you spend a total of $10,000 with the card, offers the following benefits:

  • Complimentary room upgrade (not including Club or suites)
  • Guaranteed late checkout
  • 25% bonus on points when used to book a room

Generally speaking, you’ll find these benefits in other hotel rewards programs, too: late checkout and room upgrades aren’t rare. There are far more upgrades to be had at the Platinum level, which you can get if you spend $75,000 in one year.

$100 Hotel Credit

Each year, cardmembers get a $100 credit they can use at any Ritz-Carlton hotel when you stay at least two nights.

Points Bonuses

Anytime you make a purchase with your card at a Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, EDITION, JW Marriott, Marriott or Autograph Collection hotel, you’ll get a 5x bonus on your purchase ($1=5 points). You get double the points on airfare purchase made directly through the airline, car rentals, and dining. All other purchases are 1 point per dollar.

Now that you’re familiar with the long-term benefits of the card, let’s get into the fees and fine print.

The Fees and Fine Print You Can Expect

All credit cards have fees and percentages of some type, as well as fine print that provides limits on the short- and long-term benefits you get with the card:

  • $450 annual fee
  • 16.24-23.24% APR on purchases and balance transfers
  • $37 late fee for balances above $250
  • Up to $37 late fee for returned payments
  • No foreign transaction fee

The charges you see here are pretty standard for luxury credit cards. Both the annual fee and the APR range is comparable to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The Fine Print

We read through the card’s terms and conditions and found some interesting facts you need to know.

  • Your free nights are given to you as E-Certificates, and those certificates expire 12 months after they’re issued.
  • You cannot transfer your free nights to someone else.
  • Your Global Entry credit will appear in your account 6-8 weeks after you pay for the program with your card.
  • Your Ritz-Carlton points can be used for Marriott hotels.
  • Your Club upgrade doesn’t count on discounted reservations (includes corporate discounts and sale prices)
  • We mentioned this already, but the $300 travel credit can only be applied to airport lounge access, seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight entertainment, and meals.

What Other People Are Saying About the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card

It helps to know how other consumers feel about a credit card; what they say about customer service and ease-of-use could help you make a decision as to whether or not this card is right for you.

It’s also good to check with websites who specialize in credit-card rewards programs; their expertise can help you get a sense of how good the rewards program is compared to other cards.

Here are what your fellow consumers are saying about the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card:

Written reviews of the card were sparse, with the few who did speak up saying they didn’t like the card because it was difficult to book rewards nights or upgrades.

As for the experts, popular travel rewards site The Points Guy said “the value proposition on the card has become even stronger. Just be sure to crunch the numbers and evaluate your upcoming travel plans.”

In the past, this card only gave one or two nights as a bonus instead of the three it now gives, which is what led The Points Guy to write, “has become even stronger.”

The Final Word on the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa

This hotel rewards card offers a nice introductory perk of three free nights. After you use those three night, you’re left with benefits which mirror, for the most part, other luxury cards like the MasterCard Black, Citi Prestige, AmEx Platinum and Sapphire Reserve.

The question of whether or not this card is right for you is entirely up to your own preferences and travel habits.

If you regularly stay at Ritz-Carltons for business and you pay for a standard rate with your card, the Club upgrade is great. But if your stays are purchased with a corporate discount or any other discount, you can’t take advantage of the Club upgrade. If you feel like this perk is important, make sure your stays qualify.

The $300 travel credit and $100 Global Entry reimbursement are nice perks, especially if you find yourself traveling with luggage and taking advantage of the in-flight entertainment and food menus.

However, if you like the freedom of being able to use rewards points for something other than hotel stays, you may want to consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The points you accrue with that card can be used for hotel stays, airfare, car rentals and more.

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