Ritz Card: Act now for free airport lounge access for friends and family

Recently, I signed up for the Ritz-Carlton card.  Even though I’ve recommended getting it before August to lock in the new Marriott/SPG Platinum Elite status, that wasn’t why I signed up for it.

The real reason was for the signup bonus of two free Tier 1-4 nights.  Tier 4 properties currently cost 60,000 points per night.  And when the Marriott/SPG/Ritz programs merge in August, all properties will be bookable for 60,000 points per night or less until a new category is introduced in 2019.  So we expect the Ritz two free nights to change from being usable at only less than top tier Ritz properties to all Marriott, SPG, and Ritz properties worldwide.  That’s pretty amazing, but even that wasn’t my sole motivation…

In my post, “Potential huge win with Marriott Travel Packages before August,” I discussed the small chance (I pegged it at 20% chance) that stay certificates (floater certificates) will be converted to equivalent points in August.  That would be a huge win if Marriott made us whole with the full points equivalent (see that post for details). When I first wrote the post, I didn’t think that Ritz free night certificates would be included if this happened, but then I got more information when Starwood Lurker answered my question about floater certificates and said that examples include credit card certs.  Despite his answer, I’m still unsure what exactly constitutes a floater certificate, but it suddenly seemed that my estimated 20% chance of a big win would include the Ritz certs as well.  That sold me.  While two free nights anywhere is an excellent signup bonus, I’ll very happily take 120K points instead if they’ll offer it.

My new Ritz card appeared on my doorstep last week, and I immediately met the $4K spend requirement by paying a large bill through the Plastiq bill payment service.  My card’s payment due date is August 1, but I want to make sure to get the free night certificates before then.  I may need to secure message Chase to see if they can expedite the bonus.

Priority Pass Select

Priority Pass has become significantly more valuable lately as they’ve increasingly added airport restaurants to their network. You’ll typically get $28 off your bill for yourself and each guest covered by Priority Pass. Since the Ritz version of Priority Pass allows unlimited guests, you can dine with a very large group for free (or for $28 off per person), but keep in mind that tips are extra.

One of the many benefits of the Ritz card is Priority Pass Select membership.  Unlike most other ultra-premium cards, Ritz’ version includes unlimited guests.  I doubt that will last long, though, considering that Chase recently reduced the Sapphire Reserve guest benefit from unlimited to 2.

The other unusual aspect of this card is that authorized user cards are free.  And, authorized users can get their own Priority Pass Select membership (my understanding is that you have to request it for each authorized user — it doesn’t come automatically).

We know that the Ritz card is going to change dramatically in August, but at the moment we only know a few details of those changes for certain.  But I think it is reasonable to expect that the new version will either charge for authorized users (like with the Sapphire Reserve) or will no longer offer free Priority Pass Select membership to authorized users.

And so, finally, I get to the main point of this post:

  • If you have the Ritz card, and…
  • If you have friends or family members who could benefit from Priority Pass Select membership, then…
  • Add them as authorized users and request Priority Pass cards immediately
    (since the ability to do so might go away in August)
    (but first make sure they don’t mind being added as authorized users)

Authorized user credit cards will be shipped to your address.  You don’t have to give the credit cards to your friends or family members.  You can simply give them the separate Priority Pass cards when they arrive.

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.

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Jack
Guest
Jack

No need to ask Chase to expedite the bonus. You’ll get it within a week from when the spend posts.

Kate
Guest
Kate

How many Chase cards do you have?

PSL
Guest
PSL

Will Gold status ( which you have stated will turn into Platinum Elite) be immediately granted even before you complete the 4K spending?

JayP
Guest
JayP

Yes, I have it. It seemed nearly instant, definitely within days of receiving the card

Nick Reyes
Editor

Yes, it is a first year card benefit. The terms state that it can take 4-6 weeks I believe, but most people report it taking affected within a week or two. It usually takes about a week to get a Ritz card number generated I believe (it’s not as fast as other Chase cards).

JayP
Guest
JayP

I was figuring it wouldn’t matter if you met spend / got the certs before or after 8/1, since either way they’re certs from the old card. I don’t remember this being implied in your previous post, but could be wrong. Anyways, I gotta hurry up and hit spend today if you think it’ll make a difference. Buying VGC’s at Walmart is still fine with Chase for min spend?
Edit: Just saw this on your CSR page that was updated a month ago, so question answered: “Can I buy gift cards to meet the spend bonus? Yes”

Nick Reyes
Editor

I think that it likely wouldn’t make a difference when you complete the spend — but if you can meet the spend and have the certificates before August, then you don’t have to wonder.

JayP
Guest
JayP

Thanks, I’ll hit it if I get a chance but won’t go out of my way.

Nick Reyes
Editor

See my further replies below for more.

Elias
Guest
Elias

What exactly can you “pay” with plastiq? I am thinking of getting the new Hyatt Visa and spending $75k to get me to globalist again (I am missing 30 nights). 2.5% seems really fair to me but I dont have any 75k bill to pay…

Thanks in advance,

Elias

Nick Reyes
Editor

You can’t pay off your credit card bill. You can pay almost anything else that normally requires a check — though the problem now is that personal Visa cards may incur a cash advance fee or payments with Chase cards will be limited to 20% of your credit limit (i.e. if your credit limit is $10K, you can’t make a Plastiq payment for more than $2K).

With the 20%-of-your-limit restriction in mind as this is a personal Chase card, you could pay things like tuition, car payment, general contractors, HOA fees, student loans, utilities, taxes, etc (though if you don’t have fee-free dollars, it might make more sense to pay extimated taxes directly at a lower fee). Those are just a few ideas, anyway.

Boonie
Guest
Boonie

I’ve had this card for a few years so get the 3 upgrade certificates per year, it allows you club level access which is significant. I’m hoping this doesn’t go away?

Nick Reyes
Editor

We don’t know, but I would think this would be kept.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Do you think it is critical to get the certificates before August to take advantage of the potential huge win? What do you think will happen if you get the certificates after August? I just signed up for the card last night, but I’m not sure I would meet the minimum spend by then. Thanks!

Nick Reyes
Editor

It’s hard to say for sure what will happen. It’s possible that if you get the certificates after August (whether the 1st of August or whatever day Marriott chooses to launch the new combined program), you could potentially get a capped certificate (like “up to 50K or 60K points per night”). Greg’s thinking here is that if you get the certs now, they are valid at properties that charge up to 60K today. Marriott has reiterated many times that they intend to keep customers whole with something comparable in the new program — which to us implies that you’d get certs valid at properties up to 60K.

Additionally, I think Greg’s rationale behind getting the certs now is that it’s possible that they will be considered “floater certificates” and get converted to 60K points each if you have them in your account before the programs merge in August. If you get them later, you’re more likely to get certificates I think (that might still be capped at properties up to 60K – but that’s less flexible than points that don’t expire as long as you have activity). Meeting the spend now puts you in position to get paid out in points if that’s what Marriott intends to do.

CuriousGeorge
Guest
CuriousGeorge

It doesn’t make sense (to me) that Marriott will treat the Ritz 1-4 category certificates issued before August different from those issued after August. This would, for instance, imply that unused certs issued before August will be converted into 60k points equivalent but those issued before August but applied to a reservation that is cancelled after August will only get 50k equivalent.

It seems to me that whatever Marriott plans to “do” with Ritz 1-4 certs will be the same for certs issued before and after August.

About the floater cert thing and converting the certs into points and not point equiv certs … I can’t imagine any reason for Marriott to do that … the only thing leading to that conclusion is dissecting a couple of sentence blog post by a Starwood rep posted on a blog that a very very small percentage of Marriott customers read.

Just my 2 cents 😉

Jessie
Guest
Jessie

Any DP for approval applying for 2 non 5/24 chase cards in one day to combine pulls? Looking at Ritz and Hyatt-thanks!

Nick Reyes
Editor

It’s possible to do — but the way that Chase has been shutting down accounts this year, it’s much more of a risk now than a year ago. Personally, I don’t think the risk of account shutdown is worth saving yourself a hard pull. Hard pulls just aren’t that big of a deal — I’d rather space out the applications by 30 days and reduce (yet stil not eliminate) risk of shut down for too many new accounts at once. Call me conservative, but Chase has been a little ban-happy this year.

NinjaX
Guest
NinjaX

ur not being conservative. ur being smart. chase is just too key. look at all their new cards. its a gold mine. being shut down from that + amex new rules + barclay 6/24, it will be crippling.

CuriousGeorge
Guest
CuriousGeorge

Can you explain why you’re trying to get the two night certs before August 1st?

Nick Reyes
Editor

See my comment above — I think the main reason is to position himself to get a points payout if Marriott decides that these are “floater certificates”.

Theresa
Guest
Theresa

Don’t fully understand why we need the ritz certs before Aug 1?

wise2u
Guest
wise2u

PP is not a worthwhile benefit, there are too many passes out there and being denied entry (even during non peak times) is the norm…count it as a YMMV benefit

Jimbo
Guest
Jimbo

You are just unlucky. Like you, I can’t speak for everyone, but IMHO, it’s definitely a great benefit.

Nick Reyes
Editor

It is infinitely better to have it than not. Especially when it doesn’t cost anything. You’re right that there are overcrowding issues in some places — but PP has responded by adding more restaurants where you get a $28 credit. Even if your AUs are only able to use that once per year, that’s a free $28 meal x your number of AUs. Not a bad deal.

Ralph
Guest
Ralph

Nick, how does the credit work for PP at restaurants. Is it at the point of sale, or a credit back on your statement?

Nick Reyes
Editor

At the point of sale. It comes directly off the bill at the restaurant. Most restaurants will not allow you to use it towards gratuity, though I’ve read that some do. At grab-and-go type places, you just get $28 worth of stuff for free. If you have guest privileges, it varies based on your card. That’s what makes the Ritz card so valuable. Guesting privileges are theoretically unlimited. That said, some restaurants do limit you. I think Bobby Van’s in JFK limits you to 2 guests. I think some of the grab-and-go places allow more.

Nick Reyes
Editor

You can check the terms of each in the Priority Pass App.

Jimbo
Guest
Jimbo

Like others are asking, why are you rushing to get the spend done now? None of the earlier posts about this card mentioned anything about this, so I’m surprised to see it now.

Martin Fleisher
Guest
Martin Fleisher

In addition, at least under the current rules the certificates expire a year after issued, so I had the idea of finishing the spend on the later side

phil
Guest
phil

The certs can be extended for another yr. Just call.

Martin Fleisher
Guest
Martin Fleisher

wow! really. that would be great.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Are you sure that’s the case for free night certs? I know that’s been the case with the seven night certificates from travel packages. I’m not sure how they handled it with the Ritz certificates. That said, I got a report yesterday about someone who was unable to extend a 7-night certificate. Still trying to determine whether it’s a change in policy on those – not sure if such a change might also affect other certificates like the ones from this card.

Mariusz
Guest
Mariusz

Data Point: Successfully extended 3x free Tier 1-4 nights certs for another 12 months on 1/7/2018. It was done just before I cancelled my Ritz Card.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Awesome, thanks.

Josh
Guest
Josh

You can change the statement day to something like 25 and then it would post on July 25th with the statement?

Nick Reyes
Editor

I expect it would.

Robert
Guest
Robert

Will adding someone as an authorized user increase that persons Chase 5/24 count?

Nick Reyes
Editor

This depends on whether or not the card gets connected to their credit profile. If they live at the same address as you, probably yes. If they don’t, probably no.

Ricardo
Guest
Ricardo

Question: can the $300 reimbursement be applied to airline gift card purchases? could you extend on what this reimbursement id good for?

Nick Reyes
Editor

Not easily. You need to call in or send a secure message to get the credits. This one involves human interaction, so YMMV on the agent you speak with. It’s not impossible, but not as easy as with other cards. Personally, I’ve used it with low cost carriers since they charge for everything. I’ve had no trouble using it for baggage and seat fees on Spirit and WOW Airlines or on Southwest upgraded boarding at the gate.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Nick,

Can we use it for the $15 Southwest Priority boarding that we pay for in advance too? I’m not sure if you were referring to something else before boarding the flight.

Nick Reyes
Editor

I haven’t tried that. I’ve used it for the A1-15 boarding at the gate – $30 or $40 per segment.

leo
Guest
leo

Just applied after reading this Article got the dreaded 30 day wait email. I hope i get it in time to meet the minimum spend by Aug 1

Ralph
Guest
Ralph

Call them. Same thing happened to me. I had to move some credit around from another Chase card to get approved.

NinjaX
Guest
NinjaX

greg. i dont think u realize how n00b heavy ur fan base is becoming. i think u should start putting disclaimers and adding key risk points for people who dont get it before busting out “Act Now” posts. i assume u see the massive shift in reddit the past 2 years.

The Other Sam
Guest
The Other Sam

Good morning! Currently Marriott Gold through status match with SPG. Earned through spend, not stays. Applied for and was approved for Ritz card late last week. Prompted by piece suggesting platinum status would follow through Feb 2020 (plus the free night certs/point equivalencies). Thank you for the heads-up!

Travelling soon and staying at some SPG properties. Moocher that I am, would like to enjoy free breakfast for us, if possible.

7/23-7/28 = Sheraton Rhodes Resort
7/28-8/2 = Amsterdam Element

Have some legitimate spend for a kitchen remodel, but would need to MS a bit to hit 10k to get platinum. Is it worth it?

Thanks in advance.

The Other Sam
Guest
The Other Sam

Just read that Element Amsterdam offers complementary breakfast. Oops.

brian
Guest
brian

Ritz comes with automatic gold for the first year…

Nick Reyes
Editor

Brian is correct. You don’t need to spend anything to get status if you just opened the Ritz card — you get automatic Gold status, which will convert to Platinum when the new program launches in August.

There’s nothing that is going to get you free breakfast at the Sheraton Rhodes. That said, they have a nice area for SPG Gold and Platinum members that’s separated from the main dining area. Service there was fantastic. In fact, the Sheraton Rhodes has some of the best service I’ve had at an SPG property.

You won’t get Platinum (free breakfast) status until sometime in August (and we don’t know exactly when). Sorry it’s not the news you wanted.

Angie
Guest
Angie

For the AU PP cards, how do we request the cards? Call the number on the back of the card? Thank you.

D f
Guest
D f

There does not seem to be much discussion about the 10,000 points authorized user. So it is my understanding that that will convert to 10,000 Marriott points plus the possible 120,000 for the two free nights loading certificates. Am I correct on that?

Nick Reyes
Editor

Does 10k points are Marriott points. Ritz points = Marriott points. You technically have either a Ritz account or a Marriott account, but it’s all the same. Yes, that’s in addition to the sign up bonus.

FLN
Guest
FLN

Hi Greg – did your Ritz Carlton Visa Gold status convert to Platinum (yet) in the new MR program? My MR account still shows Gold Elite. I talked to the RC executive line on 8/29 and they claim the Platinum status show up until 2019 but that I would have it all year.