[Too Late] Consider getting the Ritz-Carlton card right now

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The Ritz card is unavailable for new signups as of July 26 2018


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

FM Mini Review: While the card is pricey, the annual free night, plus $300 in ariline fee credits, plus other perks make this card a keeper.


Card Type: Visa Infinite

Base
Travel
Dine
Brand

Earning rate: ⚬ 6X Ritz & Marriott.⚬ 3X airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, at car rental agencies and at restaurants ⚬ 2X everywhere else

Big spend bonus: $75K spend per account year for Platinum elite status

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Annual 50K hotel certificate upon renewal ⚬ 3 club level upgrades. $100 hotel credit for each 2 night or longer stay ⚬ Priority Pass Select with unlimited guests ⚬ $300 annual credit for airline incidentals ⚬ $100 discount on multi-passenger ticket purchases. ⚬ Automatic Gold Status

See also: Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide

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.

To determine your 5/24 status, see: 3 Easy Ways to Count Your 5/24 Status. The easiest option is to track all of your cards for free with Travel Freely.

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.

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