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

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)

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)

$75 gift cards (See note about $100 gift cards above) Dec 2018 (A G)
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)

British Airways

What works? Recent reports
Award fees 1/2018 (JBTx)

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)

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)

Southwest

What works? Recent Reports
A1-A15 Boarding at gate ($40) 2/2018 (Nick)
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)
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)

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)

 

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

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JBTx
Guest
JBTx

British Airways charges (for Award Taxes – on all types of flights using Avios, including on American and others on BA) have all worked so far – in late 2018 and once again in 2019.

Clover Chan
Guest
Clover Chan

I got a very tired rep in late December who volunteered to credit JetBlue flights that I used the $100 discount on.

Geo@YQB
Guest
Geo@YQB

10/2018 call in: Was able to get 2 tickets on American reimbursed. Tickets booked using 100$ visa infinite discount, and came to about 125$ each after the discount. Also used the card to purchase last 50$ or so of a ticket purchased with gift cards on Delta airlines. Also reimbursed no questions asked.

JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

I’m not seeing any new data points………..

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

There aren’t many, but those marked 12/2018 and 1/2019 are new. And thanks to reader contributions, there will be more listed very soon

Kalei
Guest
Kalei

Maybe you could repost this topic again? I’m hoping they’re not changing their rules for Award Taxes because I just tried 4/15/19 and got denied.

JayP
Guest
JayP

I booked a ticket on Cheap-O-Air, charged $80 to the card and the rest to a different card. Also $183 taxes on an ANA award ticket. Got them reimbursed in one secure message along with a couple baggage fees on Olympic air, used up all $300 at one time.

JayP
Guest
JayP

Oh, this was late December. Fees were throughout the year. I gave specific dates and amounts.

Paul
Guest
Paul

I used this card to successfully purchase and get reimbursed for 500 mile upgrade certificates on American Airlines

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

Paul: When?

rrgg
Guest
rrgg

I don’t see why that should be any kind of surprise. On paper you’re entitled to reimbursement for upgrade fees. There’s nothing more upgrade that a 500-mile upgrade cert.

T1G3R
Guest
T1G3R

1/7/19 – successfully reimbursed for (2) $150 southwest gift cards. Claimed as oversized baggage fee for bikes.

Josh
Guest
Josh

T1G3R how long ago was this?

T1G3R
Guest
T1G3R

About 2 weeks ago

Pam
Guest
Pam

Just did the same for AA cards

Pam
Guest
Pam

(Secure message 2x)

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

Pam: What denomination AA gift cards? And does your transaction show any indication that it was a gift card?

Pam
Guest
Pam

I purchased 2, $150 electronic cards both this month & back in July. They show as AA only on transaction history & nothing about it being a gc. Maybe a plastic one does though from what I’ve read?

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

T1G3R: Does the purchase show the words “gift card” (or something similar) when you look at your transactions online?

T1G3R
Guest
T1G3R

Nothing with the word “gift card” in transactions. Just “Southwest” with a 13 digit number.

Pam
Guest
Pam

Mine also pisted as “American Air{13digitcode}.” When I click on “Details” the Category reads “Uncategorized.”

Anon
Guest
Anon

Bought a $320 AA gift card online and the statement doesn’t reflect gift card, so no issues getting it redeemed via private message by saying it was for 500-mile upgrade credits.

Josh
Guest
Josh

Anon how long ago was this?

Nun
Guest
Nun

This post has gone too far. Why would you write about something like this when it’s a closed card? You’ll just ruin everything by drawing attention to any nonconforming reimbursements.

FM was the best at drawing the line on content in the past. No more.

Josh
Guest
Josh

I find this post immensely useful. It’s a new year and folks with the card like knowing what options we have to use that $300 credit.

Nun
Guest
Nun

It’s idiotic. Since this is handled by human reps chase can shut this down with a memo OVERNIGHT! It doesn’t require an IT project or any cost benefit analysis.

Besides the factor in getting reimbursement is mostly in how you ask for it and the amount. If it’s feasible that your charge could be what it says then it works. That’s it. There’s no collection of data points necessary.

Josh
Guest
Josh

This certainly isn’t the first blog post about this subject and Chase hasn’t “shut it down” as of yet. I appreciate FM taking the time to consolidate some data points for those of us that like to know what our options are. And if it’s “idiotic”, then why are you still here?

rrgg
Guest
rrgg

It’s explained why this is a dumb move. These credits are controlled by humans, not automated like CSR.

Billy Jack
Guest
Billy Jack

What could possibly be idiotic about $300 in my back pocket.

Too bad you don’t have one.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Correct Greg is trying to Help people ($$) and they burn him..
CHEERs

Pam
Guest
Pam

Because card can be PC’d to (along with new travel credit).

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

I think / hope it will be helpful to dissuade people from requesting reimbursements where Chase can see that the purchases were for gift cards

DSK
Guest
DSK

JAL $300 upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy

John
Guest
John

American elite status renewal ($495 offer to keep gold for family member, $300 was reimbursed by Chase). December 2018.

John
Guest
John

Over secure message

Just a Note
Guest
Just a Note

Purchased three $100 gift cards from AA back in February of 2018 and then again earlier this month, in separate transactions (each card on a different day, because I thought that made more sense). Last year called three separate times to get them reimbursed. This year, made one call. No problem either time.

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

Do the charges show anything about gift cards?

Lukas
Guest
Lukas

No

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

Thanks for the datapoints! Keep them coming! I’ll update this post later today with the new info

Marshall
Guest
Marshall

Air France change fee reimbursed, We had 2 one way changeable business CDG-Venice tickets changed them a non-changeable RT CDG-Venice / Florence-CDG. I said the $350 was a change fee when I called. . Easy approval.

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

Thanks. What month did you call?

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

Most new datapoints have been added. On some I’m waiting for more information.

Chris
Guest
Chris

I have a few datapoints.

Type of charge – Hawaiian airlines interisland OGG-HNL seat purchase. $79 x 2.
Date of charge – Jan 2019
Requested via phone or secure message – SM
Success or failure – Success – I stated this was seat upgrade and was granted credit

In addition, I requested a number of Southwest award travel tax fees of $5.60 and $11.20 respectively. They were initially denied via SM if I asked for drink credit but I reapplied a few months later as food credit and was reimbursed.

Type of charge – AA revenue tickets $176
Date of charge – Aug 2018
Requested via phone or secure message – SM
Success or failure – Success, stated as seat upgrade and was approved.

Greg, one other thing just FYI. I followed your post regarding Ritz card and applied prior to Marriott merger. I was already Gold Marriott under Amex Plat and was concerned that my Ritz Plat status would not carry over with merger so I made separate account for Ritz as suggested by your blog.

When merger finished, my SPG/Marriott account is now Gold as expected (downgrade because of Amex Plat status and not earned) and my Ritz account is still Plat. However when I asked to merge my Ritz and Marriott account to reflect Platinum, I was told I could not merge 2 Marriott accounts since I already merged SPG and Marriott.

No big deal, I will keep 2 accounts separate as you can borrow between accounts but wish I could merge two to make it easier. Any suggestions?

Jack
Guest
Jack

Was able to get ticket charges refunded when booking through visa infinite portal in October of last year (flying on Alaska one way and United the other). Also was able to get a credit for the close in award fee ($50) on United last November. Both were done via SM

Pam
Guest
Pam

Hey Chris, wanted to thank you again for the bike transport fee trick from last year, have used it 4x. Makes the card that much more valuable to me.

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

9/2018 – $200 Delta Change Fee (claimed as upgrade) – Secure Message

trackback

[…] Frequentmiler […]

Larry
Guest
Larry

I have a recent successful reimbursement like the first one listed for AA, paying for the”upgrade” to first during the booking. I saved and sent the screenshot by secured message and the upgrade portion was reimbursed even though the charge was bundled as a single charge.

JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

I just had 2 $50 Delta gift cards and they showed up as gift cards……….Then I called Chase twice and twice was denied so the second call I just told them to move the credit line and close the card…………I’m sick of playing which shell has the bean in it for get this reimbursement……..if AMEX Platinum pulls the same stunt I’ll close that one also and just open another Citi Prestige since theirs is so easy to have reimbursed……………..

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Condor charges a fee to be able to pre-select your seat assignment with economy-class fares. I paid $100 to select two XL (extra legroom) seats. Successfully reimbursed on 1/27/2019 via secure message.

Antonio
Guest
Antonio

Just got rejected for trying to claim the United close in booking fees of $75 each

Billy Bob
Guest
Billy Bob

HUCA that via SM until it works.

Boonie
Guest
Boonie

You mention global entry fee but the card comes with a separate $100 credit so use that first and if you have additional fees than use the credit.

Martin
Guest
Martin

I bought American Airlines gift cards twice in March and they got reimbursed without any problems. They showed up on the statement as “AMERICAN AIR00106xxxxxxxx”.

I bought a $100 gift card (“baggage fee”) and a $200 gift card (“oversize baggage fee”). Both accepted without questions.

Richard
Guest
Richard

I just got reimbursed for a $50 American airlines giftcard, and when I checked my stmt it showed “GFT”, which i think stands for gift card. But not sure if the rep saw that or not, but it was the only charge on my card and got to use my travel credit

Kalei
Guest
Kalei

Tried calling Ritz for Avianca and British Airways, got a newbie, and he said they’re not allowed to do it for Award Fee Taxes? This is as of 4/15/19 – I’m going to try calling again, maybe I’ll get a better person, or I might try and secure message. It worked so easy before with Award Taxes when I called in. This is the first time I had a problem.

John
Guest
John

12/10/18 success reimbursement for SW boarding class upgrade $50, also had a Norwegian flight for $116 that I said was for checked Ski’s

Antonio
Guest
Antonio

Just used it successfully for 6 Aeroplan award fees of $20.06 USD each. I’ve found that when using SM with Chase that if I pick the topic of “Account Inquiry”, they issue the credit after the initial message was sent explaining what charges I want credit for.
When picking the topic “Other/Inquiry Not Listed”, they ask a lot of questions as to what the charges are for and I’ve been rejected on other occasions using this topic.

pbjclimbing
Guest
pbjclimbing

Air New Zealand domestic flights worked for me ~$73, ~$25. Etihad award booking taxes and fees also worked.

F C
Guest
F C

Just called the customer service number and got the credit in 2 mins – no questions asked. This was for Southwest.

Daniel Wu
Guest
Daniel Wu

Southwest eGC?

F C
Guest
F C

yup