Ritz Carlton Rewards Credit Card Review – Is it Worth the Large Annual Fee?

MtM Review Score

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Sign up Bonus
Card Perks
Earning Structure
Long Term Keeper

Quick Take

A card that comes with a decent sign up bonus and a ton of perks but with a large annual fee.
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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.

This card is now closed to new applicants. The only way you can get this card now is by product changing from another Marriott co-branded card from Chase.

Ritz Carlton Rewards Credit Card Review

Earning Structure

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards card comes with the following earning structure:

  • 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 3 points per $1 spent on dining, car rentals, and airfare purchases
  • 2 points per $1 spent on all other card purchases

Cardmember Perks

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.
  • 3 club level upgrades at Ritz-Carlton properties on paid stays per cardmember year
  • $100 hotel property credit at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis properties when staying 2+ nights on a paid stay
  • Anniversary free night award worth up to 50,000 points
  • Gold status with Marriott Bonvoy
  • Earn Platinum status if you spend $75,000 within the cardmember year
  • Priority Pass membership
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement
  • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption coverage
  • 15 elite night credits into your Marriott Bonvoy account each year to help you reach status faster
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Return protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Special perks and savings on car rentals with Avis, Silvercar & National
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Primary rental car insurance coverage

Ritz Carlton Rewards Credit Card Review

Fees

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card comes with a $450 annual fee which is NOT waived.

Summary

As you can see, this card has a ton of perks. The shortcuts toward Marriott Bonvoy status plus Priority Pass, free nights, and property credits / upgrades can offset the annual fee if you use all of them.

You need to call or send in a secure message to get the travel 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, but it is not as easy to use as Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s credit.

Ritz Carlton Rewards Credit Card Review

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 keeper, because the earning structure is lackluster.

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. However, you may find value in the fact that authorized users also get a Priority Pass membership. 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.

Conclusion

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card comes with 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.  Maxing out the property credits, free night award, and travel credits will be key.

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13 COMMENTS

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13 COMMENTS

  1. I applied this month and was approved for the Ritz card. I think another bonus is if you apply before August 1, you should receive Platinum Elite status until February 2020. Also, if you manufacture spend, it is not too difficult to maintain Platinum Elite with $75,000 annual spend. When you consider that Platinum Elite gets you free breakfast and lounge access at numerous hotels, especially SPG hotels, this packs a lot of value.

  2. The $100 credit on two-night paid stays at the Ritz Carlton can only be applied if you book it through Ritz telephone line and pay the standard rate. Discounted rates do not apply.

  3. The priority pass included is actually much better than with other cards – not only is at least one guest free, but so is adding authorized users of the ritz card, each of whom also gets their own pp card and can bring their own guests. This is one of my favorite cards overall due to the perks. Also got over $1500 value including a suite upgrade with the free night certs.

  4. I’ve been a loyal Ritz Card holder now for almost 5 years and it is a terrific value. The $300 annual airline credit is far easier to apply than the Platinum Amex card as it can be used for upgrades. The Club upgrade certs which can be used for a stay of 7 days or less per certificate is potentially worth $2,100 per year. The $100 credit for a two night stay at a Ritz is a nice benefit as well as the club upgrade certs. I’ve never used the $100 airline credit when buying tickets for 2 people as the Platinum Amex Travel Concierge value is better IMO. If you don’t stay at Ritz Carlton hotels, then there are other card options out there.

  5. The sign up value is grossly undervalued in your review (with all due respect) … I used the two nights at the Ritz in Maui Hawaii , and was upgraded to a suite because of the card and the value of each night was 1239.00…. I stay pretty regularly at Ritz properties and using the 3 upgrades each year can easily save you hundreds of dollars each visit because Ritz club level offers 3 food offerings plus unlimited wine and booze ….

    • When it is a free night cert I tend to value it based on the points valuations because using example bookings is anecdotal. I would rather under promise then over promise. I also realize that not everyone will use it at a Cat 4 so I settled on using a points valuation based on a Cat 3 and then offered the difference if they went up or down a level.

      Since Ritz is tied with Marriott and SPG you can book these points hotels quite easily and don’t really need the free night cert. A Marriott sign up would get you 2 nights at a Category 3 Ritz Carlton but nobody is going to base the sign up bonus for that card based on the room rate of a Cat 3 Ritz. The most these certs are worth is 120,000 points (2 nights in a category 4) which has a going rate of $720 in points.

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