Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa airline fee credits: What works?

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The Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite card is no longer available to new applicants, but it is available to those with Chase Marriott consumer cards via a product change.  Unlike the Marriott cards, though, the Ritz card costs a whopping $450 per year.  Fortunately, it also offers $300 per year in airline fee reimbursements. These reimbursements can help to mitigate that $450 annual fee if you can put them to good use.

Ritz airline fee credits

Chase Ritz airline fee credits are offered by calendar year. For example, Ritz cardholders can get up to $300 in fee credits for charges made up until December of this year, and $300 more for charges made next calendar year.

What purchases count… officially towards Ritz airline fee credits?

Eligible incidental fees include:

  • Airline lounge day pass
  • Yearly lounge membership of your choice
  • Airline seat upgrades
  • Airline baggage fees
  • In-flight internet/entertainment
  • In-flight meals and drinks
  • Global Entry fees

And, officially, the following purchases are not deemed to be incidental fees:

  • Airline tickets
  • Mileage points purchases
  • Mileage points transfer fees
  • Gift cards
  • Duty free purchases
  • Award tickets

What purchases count… unofficially towards Ritz airline fee credits?

Sometimes purchases of gift cards, award fees, or even low-cost airfare are reimbursed even though they shouldn’t be.

The key that makes the Chase Ritz-Carlton card different from some other premium cards is that the fee reimbursement is not automatic on this card. You will need to either call in to speak with an agent or send a secure message in order to request reimbursement. This means you will be relying on a human to manually credit the reimbursement….and therefore relying on that human’s interpretation of what works and scrutiny (or lack thereof) regarding your charge.

If you are looking to get reimbursed for gift cards, you may want to consider denominations that line up with fees that would ordinarily qualify for the credit. Gift cards purchased in a denomination that correlates with the associated fee for a checked or overweight bag, for instance, might be more likely to be reimbursed. On the other hand, if the charge shows up on your statement as “AIRLINE ABC – GIFT CARDS”, an agent may deny reimbursement even if you had purchased in an appropriate denomination. Secure message may be an easier method than phone, though some report the opposite is true. The things that work or don’t work vary by airline and by agent and may change over time. Something that worked in the past won’t necessarily work today — but since the best way to predict future behavior is by looking at past behavior, we will collect datapoints here to try to determine the trends.

Remember that a successful data point is more powerful than a negative datapoint in that a successful data point shows something is possible. Recognize that in some cases, you may need to HUCA (Hang up, Call again) or send a message again in order to be successful.

This resource page will be maintained and updated as we receive reader data. If you have recently attempted to receive reimbursement via your Ritz travel credit, please comment to add your data points including:

  1. Type of charge
  2. Date of charge
  3. Requested via phone or secure message
  4. Success or failure

The following table shows the unofficial stuff that works or doesn’t work with each airline that we have collected so far (note that I am including some things that officially count as well, like a seat upgrade in economy class on Lufthsana as readers sometimes ask about charges from foreign carriers and for small upgrades like extra legroom, etc):

Aeroplan

What works? Recent reports
Award fees (Linh)
Award fees (see linked data point for more info on potential success) 8/19 (Antonio)

Air New Zealand

What works? Recept Reports
New Zealand domestic flights ($73 and $25) 8/19 (pbjclimbing)

Air France

What works? Recent reports
Award fees 7/2018 (JustSayin)

Air France

Recent reports
What works?
$350 Change Fee via call
2018? (Marshall)
 

American

Recent reports
What works?
Upgrade to first class during booking process (booking a coach ticket, click “upgrade” to book it as first class – save screen shots in case)($260) 12/2016 (Flyertalk)
Seat assignment / upgrade 8/2018 (Angie)
$100 gift cards* (Note that some reports indicate the charge may now appear as “American Airlines – Gift Cards” and no longer work. Secure Message is more likely to be successful than via phone.)

3/2018 (Chris)

1/2019 (Just a Note via call)

5/19 (Martin – useful data point)

$75 gift cards (See note about $100 gift cards above) Dec 2018 (A G)
$50 gift card 5/19 (Richard)
Award taxes ($170) 1/2017 (Doctor of Credit)
Award booking fee ($75) 7/2018 (NI)
Partial ticket purchase (part gift card, ~$120 on Ritz card) 7/2018 (Clay)
Award redeposit fees ($175) 1/2019 (Kimbra)
Flight purchased with Visa Infinite $100 companion discount (~$125 / ticket) via call 10/2018 (Geo@YQB)
Elite status renewal ($495), $300 reimbursed via secure message 12/2018 (John)

Amtrak

What works? Recent reports
Ticket purchase 7/2018 (Josh)

Alaska Airlines

What works? Recent reports
Award fees Early 2017 (Denise)

Avianca

What works? Recent reports
What doesn’t work? Recent reports
Award fees 4/19 (Kalei)

British Airways

What works? Recent reports
Award fees (note counter-data point below) 1/2018 (JBTx)
What doesn’t work? Recent reports
Award fees (note that this DP suggests it may still be YMMV depending on agent) 4/19 (Kalei)

Condor

What works? Recent reports
Seat assignment fee ($100 for two XL seats) 1/19 (Ryan)

Delta

What works?
Comfort+ seat upgrades ($109) 5/2017 (Flyertalk)
Gift cards ($50 / $200)* (See below) 7/2018 (Phillip)
Award fees 7/2018 (Clay)
In-flight food 7/2018 (Clay)
Upfare 7/2018 (Mike)
Flight purchased partly with card (~$50) and rest with gift cards 10/2018 (Geo@YQB)
What doesn’t work? Recent reports
Gift Card ($50) 10/2018 (Cherry)

Etihad

Recent reports
What works?
Award taxes & fees 2/2017 (Doctor of Credit)
8/19 (pbjcliming)

Frontier

Recent reports
What works?
Round trip flight. Asked for bag fees to be reimbursed, but all of it was 12/2018 (Billy Bob)

Iberia

What works? Recent reports
Cheap Flights (4x ~$34) 7/2018 (Austin)

JAL (Japan Airlines)

What works? Recent reports
$300 upgrade to premium economy
2018? (DSK)
   

JetBlue

What works? Recent reports
Flight purchased with Visa Infinite $100 companion discount 12/2018 (Clover Chan)

Lufthansa

What works? Recent reports
Upgrade to extra legroom seating in economy class ($102) 5/2017 (Nick)

Norwegian

What works? Recent reports
Flight (reported as checked skis) 12/18 (John)

Southwest

What works? Recent Reports
A1-A15 Boarding at gate ($40 or $50) 2/2018 (Nick) and again 12/10/18 (Jonn)
Southwest in-flight Wi-Fi ($8) 2/2018 (Nick)
Gift cards ($150) (see counter-datapoint below) 1/2019 (T1G3R)
Early Bird Check In ($15) 5/2017 (Flyertalk)
Business Select upgrade 7/2018 (Abby)
Southwest gift card (amount unclear; note that I imagine this is YMMV depending on the rep) 10/19 (F C)
What doesn’t work? Recent reports
Southwest gift card ($75). Was told that purchase displayed as gift card
12/2018 (BML)

Singapore

Recent reports
What works?
Award taxes ($130) 1/2017 (Doctor of Credit)

Spirit

What works? Recent Reports
The Thrills Combo (checked bag, seat selection, etc) $212 (2 pax) 5/2018 (Nick)

Turkish

 

What works? Recent Reports
Buying miles online 4/20 (Nick. Bought 2500 miles for $75)
 

United

What works? Recent reports
Mileage transfer fee 1/2018 (Eason)

WOW Airlines

What works?
Upgrade to XXL seating for 2 and checked baggage fees ($300 – paid bundled with ticket and extra charges represented the majority of the charge) 5/2015 (Nick)

Miscellaneous

What works? Recent reports
CLEAR membership

6/2018 (Berkeley Girl)

(David)

What doesn’t work? Recent reports
CLEAR renewal
12/2019 (Ron)

 

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