Consider getting the Ritz-Carlton card right now

With great change comes great opportunity.  The great change I’m referring to is the upcoming Marriott / SPG / Ritz loyalty program merger.  And, at this moment in time, Chase’s Ritz-Carlton Rewards card is uniquely positioned to unlock a number of opportunities…

Card and Offer Details

Below are the full details about the current signup offer for the Ritz card. For the purpose of this post, though, the key take-aways are:

  • 2 Free Tier 1-4 night stays after $4K spend
  • Gold status first year
  • $75K spend per account year for Platinum elite status
  • $450 annual fee partially offset by $300 annual credit for airline incidentals and $100 discount on domestic multi-passenger round-trip ticket purchases.
Chase Ritz Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite
2 Free Nights + 10K
2 Free Tier 1-4 night stays after $4K spend in first three months + 10K points for adding an authorized user.

$450 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: 3 Free Tier 1-4 nights after $5K spend in first three months + 10K points for adding an authorized user.

FM Mini Review: While the card is pricey, it offers a very nice collection of perks. Great choice for those seeking Marriott elite status.


Card Type: Visa Infinite

Earning rate: ⚬ 2X airline, car rental, & restaurants ⚬ 5X Ritz & Marriott.

Big spend bonus: $10K spend per account year to keep Gold elite status; $75K spend per account year for Platinum elite status

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ 3 club level upgrades. Gold status, first year ⚬ $100 hotel credit for each 2 night or longer stay ⚬ Airport lounge access ⚬ $300 annual credit for airline incidentals ⚬ 10% annual points premium ⚬ $100 discount on multi-passenger ticket purchases.

Note: This card is believed to not be subject to Chase's 5/24 rule

Platinum Elite or Platinum Premier Elite Status

In August, those who have earned Marriott / Ritz Gold or Platinum status by any means other than matching from SPG will get the following status in the new program:

  • Those with Marriott / Ritz Gold status will become Platinum Elite
  • Those with Marriott / Ritz Platinum status will become Platinum Premier Elite 75

Platinum status in the new program is exciting for a few reasons:

  • Elite benefits will apply across all Marriott and Starwood hotels
  • Free breakfast and/or lounge access will be available at all resorts and most hotels (see this post for details).

If you sign up for the Ritz card before August, you will get Marriott Gold status which will convert to Platinum Elite status in August.  That status will then last until Feb 2020.  If you sign up for the card in or after August, you’ll only get Gold status in the new program.

If you signed up for the Ritz card last year or earlier, make sure to spend $10K on the card before August so that you will get Marriott Gold status which will convert to Platinum Elite status in August. That status will then last until Feb 2020.  If you complete the $10K spend after July 31, you’ll only get Gold status in the new program.

If you spend $75K on the Ritz card before August, you will get Marriott Platinum status which will convert to Platinum Premier Elite status in August.  That status will then last until Feb 2020.  If you complete your $75K spend after July 31, you’ll only get Platinum Elite status in the new program.

While I don’t think that too many readers will seriously consider spending $75K on the card before August, I do think that the ability to get Gold status (then Platinum Elite status) without spend (or with $10K spend for existing cardholders) is well worthwhile.

The irony about all of this is that Ritz is one of the few brands that fail to offer any meaningful Platinum Elite benefits.  But if you get Platinum status through the Ritz card, you’ll enjoy the status perks pretty much everywhere except at Ritz hotels.

Free Nights… Everywhere

This is where things get really good.  The signup bonus of two free nights at Tier 1-4 Ritz hotels is nice if you happen to have plans to visit a qualifying Ritz within the next year and if you don’t mind the fact that you won’t get any meaningful elite benefits during your stay (no free breakfast for you).

But Marriott has asserted that free night certificates earned before the August merger will be converted into their point equivalents.  Tier 4 Ritz hotels cost 60,000 points per night, so I believe that, in August, those with Tier 1-4 Ritz certificates will be given new certificates good at any Marriott / SPG / Ritz property that costs up to 60,000 points.

It gets better…

Between August and early 2019, it will be possible to book any Marriott / SPG / Ritz property worldwide for 60,000 points per night or less.

This means that it should be possible to use your two free nights at literally any Marriott / SPG / Ritz property worldwide as long as you book between August and early 2019!  Personally I’d much rather use those free nights at top end St. Regis properties where I would get elite benefits like free breakfast than at a Ritz hotel.  Wouldn’t you?

No Suite Night Awards

One downside of achieving Platinum or Platinum Premier status through the Ritz card is that you won’t earn Suite Night Awards.  Those choice benefits are awarded when you reach 50 elite nights and again at 75 elite nights.  Since this is an alternative to earning status via nights, it won’t trigger the choice benefits.   Of course if you earn 50 and/or 75 elite nights anyway, you will get the choice benefits, but then there’s no point in using the Ritz card to get status.

You can read more about Suite Night Awards here.

You can get this card despite 5/24

The Chase Ritz card is not subject to 5/24 so you can get approved even if you’ve signed up for 5 or more cards in the past 24 months.  Of course, once you are approved, it will add to your 5/24 count.

Chase's 5/24 Rule: With most Chase credit cards, Chase will not approve your application if you have opened 5 or more cards with any bank in the past 24 months. Some exceptions that are NOT subject to the 5/24 rule include: British Airways, Hyatt, IHG, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Marriott Business, and Ritz Carlton.

To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status.

Caution

The combination of high level status and soon-to-be-super-valuable free night certificates makes the Ritz card highly desirable at this time. On the other hand, signing up for a Chase card could be risky if you often open cards and/or manufacture spend.  See this post for details: Why Chase shutdowns have increased and how to avoid them.

Note that we do not earn a commission for this card.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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121 Comments on "Consider getting the Ritz-Carlton card right now"

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Nanu
Guest

The terms (https://imgur.com/a/iyttCzd) on the Ritz $10K spend for Gold status are not very clear – it sounds as if you’ll get the gold status only 8 weeks after your next account anniversary date, not immediately after you spend the $10K.
So if your account anniversary year is after this coming August, I don’t think spending $10K will help you.
And if it’s before that, then well, you probably needed to spend $10K earlier and you’re out of luck now… (e.g. my account was opened Feb 2017, so I would have had to spend $10K by Feb 2018, which I didn’t…)
Don’t you agree?

Justin
Guest

Any data points on what non-incidental purchases (i.e. gift cards) work to trigger the $300 credit?

Just a Note
Guest

I have purchased AA gift cards (in $100 increments). It is true that you have to call in to get the credit applied (SM may work as well, I just called and had no problem with it).

Andy Shuman
Guest

When I had the card, I never failed to get reimbursed for anything as long as it wasn’t a “round” number. The trick is not to get greedy and try to be reimbursed for the whole $300 at one sitting. Numbers like $72.55 work great, but $75 is also fine.

Kate
Guest

Am very conflicted! Am at about15/24 now, but no new Chase cards since the Fairmont at last minute(thanks again). Should I lower my credit
Limits on chase cards? FICO well over 800 but I do engage in ms at office stores. What would Greg do?

Alex Z.
Guest

“free night certificates earned before the August merger will be converted into their point equivalents” –
so if I’ll get R-C card at the end of July and will do $4k spending in 90 days I will NOT get those nights converted under old rules ??

Trevor
Guest

Just to confirm – Gold status obtained from having this card will match to the new Platinum, but having Gold status by way of the American Express Platinum card will only match to Gold? Thanks again Greg!

Phillip
Guest

Hi Greg,

I just called the elite rewards number on my ritz card. The agent checked with her supervisor and said the card will get me platinum until end of 2018. New benefits and updated benefits will be coming very soon too she said. I hope Im wrong and you are right that we get plat until 2020

Larry
Guest

Greg — I have the Ritz card. How confident are you that the $10k spend will get me Plat for 2019? Also, just to be clear, I also have the Amex plat but that won’t help me for 2019 because my current gold is only good to get plat for 2018?

Mei
Guest

Hi Greg.
Based on my current nights between SPG/Marriott, I will have earned gold by August. If I read your post correctly, I should then be converted to Platinum good through Feb 2020. Is this correct?

Do you know if RewardsPlus with United will continue to equate Marriott Platinum to RewardsPlus Silver?

Thanks!

hopeful
Guest

I had this card before and closed it in May 2017. I am way over 5/24 (14 cards of my own and a few authorized user cards on my wife’s accounts). Can I apply for it again and will I be eligible for the bonus?

The appeal for me is the possibility of getting the 2 free night certs converted to points. I’m eyeing a redemption at a Tier 5 RC after August.

Patrick
Guest

Greg, what’s your take on the email wording from the Marriott team regarding earning Platinum with Ambassador service?

Their email states that if you have current Platinum status plus 100+ nights, you’ll be converted to Platinum WITH Ambassador service. However, if you look at the website to see how you’ll qualify for the same Ambassador service AFTER the merge, it states you’ll have to stay the 100+ nights PLUS spend $20k annually (assuming that’s on direct hotel costs).

To me, I’m reading this as a one-time match to Plat+ambassador without the spend if you’re already a Plat member w 100+ stays, regardless of spend. How about you?

Rajat Madan
Guest

Greg,
I am a bit confused about status in August. If I get 25 stays in SPG before August 1, and get to SPG platinum, thus matching to Marriott Platinum before August 1, will I be Platinum Premier in August or will I be Platinum since I matched via SPG. Can you clarify? Thanks

Phillip
Guest

I’m not Greg but you will be platinum. Plat premier requires 75 nights total, no exceptions. This has been confirmed many times too 🙁

Rajat Madan
Guest

Ok. Thanks.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Phillip is correct. See the Elite section of our complete guide on the transition:

https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/marriott-spg-ritz-transition-guide/#elite

D f
Guest

I have to tell you I was never interested in this card. Just didn’t seem worth it. But after your article I am absolutely reconsidering it. Especially with so many data points that the travel credit can be used for gift cards although I realize I’m taking chances there. Great write up

sj0
Guest

Getting matched to 3 certs offer is a possibility. After all you’ve 115 days to complete signup offer and request a match. Also, being able to PC to Marriott card is great, especially for those outside of 5/24.

Eugenia
Guest

Greg, Thanks a lot for summary! Very useful info. I have a question, if I may, I have GOLD for LIFE with SPG. My understanding that it will convert into Platinum for life? Am I wrong? Is it making sense to bother with new card just for 2 nights?

Garrett Welch
Guest

I’ve been waiting for the 3 free night sign up bonus. Might be a good idea to go ahead and pull the trigger.

Kimbra
Guest

If the Ritz certificates become 60k points on Aug 1st, would they still carry an expiration date? I have 3 4/19 expiration

Nick Reyes
Editor

If they become points, I expect they would just be subject to the normal Marriott points expiration policy (activity once every 24 months). If they become “60K point certificates” (i.e. they stay certificates but they are valid at any hotel up to 60K points), I expect the expiration would stay the same.

Adam
Guest

Greg, Do you think that my wife could get the card and then share the points with me when they convert in August? I’m currently Platinum (soon to be Platinum 75 in August) and would prefer to get the credits and upgrade opportunities that come with that as opposed to my wife since she doesn’t travel without me.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Again, this depends on how the certificates convert. Our initial understanding from Marriott was that the certificates would convert to certificates with equal point values, but still be certificates. In other words: the current sign up bonus is two free nights at Tier 1-4 properties, awarded as two one-night certificates valid at Ritz Tier 1-4 properties. Since Tier 4 properties currently cost 60,000 points, our understanding is that the certificates will keep that “up to 60K” value in the new program. In the new program, 60K is the absolute top tier (at least through 2018), so those two one-night certificates would suddenly become valid at any property in the combined Marriott/Ritz/SPG program. That’s pretty awesome as that gives you a lot more options than just the current Ritz 1-4 properties.

There have been some rumors about the certificates being converted into straight up points rather than certificates. If that were to happen, you could theoretically combine your points (Marriott officially allows you to move 50K points from one member to another per year; you can transfer more if you have a specific redemption in mind…so the workaround is to find something to book that requires your points to be combined). I expect we’ll know what’s going to happen with the certificates before August, but either way I’d call it a win with regard to the Ritz certs due to the fact that all of the top-tier properties will be 60K in August.

Wright
Guest

Any idea how transferring points will work in the new program? Wondering if we should transfer all household points through SPG to the account with status. Seems like more restrictions on the Marriott end but at least Gold and Plat don’t need to pay the fee.

Sophia
Guest

If I am only interested in getting the 60k points (already have platinum 75 nights) do you still recommend getting the card before August or waiting to see what the new card bonus will be?

Max
Guest

Is this card expected to lose benefits after the merger? Otherwise, what’s so special about “this moment in time” to apply?

haroon
Guest

I have 3 free night certificates that are slated to expire middle of August and an annual fee that is about to post June 15th. Do you think `these certificates will transfer to points and do you think a card cancelation will impact redemption or Gold Elite to Platinum status? I would prefer to cancel the card especially if these get converted to points with a longer expiration and more flexible redemption options, but also dont want to jeopardize my free nights, unused club certificates or status.

Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

Chucks
Guest

Very good article. I hadn’t considered the added value of Ritz Gold converting to Platinum. Though I’m far short on nights for lifetime elite status, the fact that years of elite status will combine under these programs means I’m at 8 years of Platinum status, despite having fewer than 90 nights of total actual stays under all these programs! The Ritz card can probably help push me over.

Tyler K Johnson
Guest

If you apply for the card now do you need to spend $4,00 by august or do you have until september?

PSL
Guest

I recall reading another blog which said that those who have Marriott Gold via the Ritz Carlton credit card would only get the new Platinum status from August 1 until January 2019, rather than 2020 as you stated. . Is the 2020 date definitive?

Max
Guest

I understand that Marriott walked back their earlier promise of temporary Plat status for Aug-Dec, 2018. Their new mantra is you must earn Plat by staying. It’s a big risk to pay $450 based on a promise of lying Marriott.

Ryan
Guest

Any proof of where you saw/read this? There seems to be a lot of grey area right now as to what Gold from the Ritz will get you. I want to apply to get Plat status but don’t feel like wasting $450 for nothing

Gary70
Guest

I fill exactly the same way. I would like to have something to backup that statement in case of thing going the other way 🙂

Drew
Guest

I am under 5/24 for Chase and never applied for any hotel credit cards. My question is, Is this a good hotel card for me to jump on? Or would anyone recommend me apply for something that Chase requires stay under 5/24. I’m still learning the credit card and loyalty program game.

NinjaX
Guest

wont hate on u because ur still learning but ur question is too general. first of all, u didnt provide enough info for anyone to help. next, u should be posting on reddit. lastly, its clear u havent read enough yet. the amount of info that someone would have to comment on here to answer ur question is too extensive.

Drew
Guest

Thanks for your very helpful response. I think your very general response has lead me down a rabbit hole of wasting the last two hours of my life looking at the reddit home page. First of all, you didn’t provide enough information on where and what to post and read on reddit. Next you point me to Facebook travel communities or different blogs. Finally, u is actually spelled YOU and ur is spelled YOUR. Thanks for helping me with a yes or no question.

Crazy913
Guest

I will have to echo sentiments though. Everybody’s situation is unique, “is this a good card for me?” with no other info is a horribly difficult question to answer with accuracy. You should be looking at the r/churning subreddit. Also, if you so strongly desire a yes/no answer in this situation, yes. Does that help your decision?

TKW
Guest

“Of course if you earn 50 and/or 75 elite nights anyway, you will get the choice benefits, but then there’s no point in using the Ritz card to get status.”

One reason might be to have higher status during your first 50 or 75 nights, right?

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[…] Miler makes a case to consider getting the Ritz-Carlton card right now. Yes, you are right…If this was for a card that pays a sales commission it would never appear […]

PSL
Guest

If someone already has Marroitt Gold via a status match from SPG Gold thanks to spending on the SPG Amex, but now earns a Marriott Gold via the Ritz Carlton credit card, translating into Platinum Elite in August, will Marriott Rewards even recognize the difference?

Texan@heart
Guest

This is an important question. Based on my own limited experience dealing with Marriott rewards, the odds of them NOT recognizing the difference look pretty high. I doubt their computer systems have the ability to differentiate. I have even less faith in the human factor. Most of their phone reps are useless and do not know the rules. Nor are they empowered to change a status. It may work out great. But I would not want to have to try to spend hours on the phone hoping to get someone to un-cluster it all. I’m one of those AMEX Plat cardholders who will be kicked out of the lounge on August 1. Much as I’d like to get “50 night status” through a credit card, I’m not willing to gamble $450 based on what Marriott confirms to a blog. (Even a good reliable blog!). They could just as easily reverse themselves and say that the agreement promises Gold… and only Gold. Aside from the potential for “50 night status,” this card does not seem to offer all that much value to someone who already has an AMEX Platinum card.

NinjaX
Guest

haha this guy…

greg
Guest

greg?

Nick Reyes
Editor

We expect that the Ritz card status will be the one recognized by Marriott as we suspect that they will first consider status earned from Marriott/Ritz.

greg
Guest

There may be a lot of folks in this boat, i would check with marriott when you guys can as it would benefit a lot of your readers me thinks

Preacher
Guest

Good catch. That’s exactly why I opened up a new MR account this week, with a new number for that very purpose. I’ll use that new account number when I apply for the Ritz, then merge my old, “comped-SPG Gold” account with my new MR Plat account after Aug. 1. That’s the play.

tassojunior
Guest

Very very highly recommend the RC Half Moon Bay for the free night certs. Cat 4 but often costs $1000/night

trackback

[…] 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 R… in the coming months.  The loophole won’t last long […]

Mark P
Guest

Wondering what happens if I sign up for the card before August under the current terms, but then I don’t earn the signup bonus until after the new program has begun? Will I still get the certificates that can be used anywhere?

trackback

[…] Consider getting the Ritz-Carlton card right now […]

Nun
Guest

Why are people so sure the 2 nights will be good at any property? Marriott can do whatever they want. The other angle here is there will be a better signup bonus later this year, and if it’s points that can be better for some. Consider also that the Marriott visa is offering100k recently and Ritz was 3 nights. Maybe a new card will over more. We don’t know. The reason to get the card now is about status.

Nick Reyes
Editor

We obviously can’t be totally certain that the 2 nights will be valid at any property, but Marriott has made it clear through several channels that current certificates will map to a similar points value in the new program. Since Tier 4 Ritz properties now charge 60K per night, maintaining a similar value would put these certificates at the top of the new award chart. It’s certainly possible that they will somehow map these differently, but I think it’s very likely that they will be valid everywhere.

As for a better signup bonus, I don’t have a crystal ball — so I certainly can’t say for sure that it won’t happen. But since Amex is going to be the issuer of the “premium” card moving forward (not Chase), this card will eventually be discontinued for new applications.That might not happen until next year, and it’s certainly possible that they could make a late push to get more cardholders, but I don’t think it’s likely that the signup bonus will get better. In fact, I’d say this: I think it’s more likely that the free night certificates that come with the Ritz card now will be valid at any property than I do that there will be a better signup bonus. I’d love to be wrong — I like a good signup bonus as much as anyone — but if I were placing a bet, that’s how I’d place it.

Regarding the 3-night offer, for a very long time people were matching to the Ritz 3 night offer. If I remember correctly, that offer was last publicly available in late 2016 — but people were matching to it until December 2017. That died unfortunately (to my knowledge).

I agree that the status is also a strong benefit of getting this card.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Update: I take that back on the Ritz card being discontinued. Greg just pointed out to be that the discontinuation of the cards hasn’t been spelled out – so it’s possible that it will continue on indefinitely.

Nun
Guest

To maintain current value of the Ritz certificates, MR only has to make them worth whatever the August price will be for a tier 4 hotel. That might be 60k or it might not.

David
Guest

Very interesting article. Thank you. If I apply now, and meet requirements, earning the 2 night certificates, do they expire 1 year from earning? I am planning a trip to Europe August 2019. Thanks!

trackback

[…] Miler made the case that it’s high time to get the Chase Ritz-Carlton card because the Tier 1-4 free night certificates the card comes with will [probably?] be converted to […]

Madison
Guest

Those with Marriott / Ritz Platinum status will become Platinum Premier Elite 75
Does that hold true if I received Platinum status through Marriott Platinum challenge?

Biggie F
Guest

Confused on need to spend $10,000 before August 1 …

Spouse has Chase Ritz-Carlton card, for 4+ years now, grandfathered in at $395/year.

Log-in at ritzcarlton.com shows her as Gold Elite currently. This is almost certainly a function of some Amex Platinum radiation, since she has not been qualifying on stays of spend within the Marriott/RC universe.

So come 1 August, RC/Marriott/SPG will not shift her to Platinum since the source of the current RC Gold status is from Amex Plat? Whereas if we spend another $9000 or so to make the $10,000 spend on card before 1 August, it will still show her (until 1 August) as RC Gold, but the type of Gold that will turn into Marriott Platinum? They can really make this distinction …?

Like I said, confused.

Nun
Guest

Yes. If you have MR gold from Amex then it will be MR gold in August, not platinum. If you spend $10k before August, you’ll have platinum in August.

Dave
Guest

I am at 4/24 or possibly 3/24 (but slim) with Chase. I have 7 cards with chase already (Reserve, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott Business, Ink Cash, Ink Bus Pref, Freedom) and want to get the Chase Business Unlimited, Ritz, and Marriott Premier Plus. The question is in which order should I get them? Business first since it would hurt my 5/24 by getting another card first, then Marriott, then Ritz since it isn’t subject to 5/24. I want the Ritz to get the Platinum status and marriott points to book when the points combine. I don’t see myself getting under 5/24 in a long time after this run of cards. Or should I just forget the Bus Unlimited and go for the other two?????

Daniel
Guest

I am currently a platinum but probably won’t hit 50 nights this year to requalify and Marriott took away the status buyback program. If I apply for the Ritz card as a current platinum will they give me gold status that maps to new platinum until 2020 or will it not take because I’m a current platinum?

Nick Reyes
Editor

Great question. I don’t know.

Daniel
Guest

Thanks. Would be interested if anyone else knows.