Well, color me pleasantly surprised. We had received a number of tips over the previous month from readers who were told that the travel incidental credits on the Chase Ritz-Carlton credit card would be applicable toward restaurant and grocery purchases this year, and Doctor of Credit published the rumor last week, but I was still skeptical. The rumors had been that it was going to work on purchases beginning on July 1st — and here we are six weeks later with no communication from Chase.
However, I can now confirm that I spoke with three different reps tonight who all knew about the ability to apply the credit toward restaurant and grocery purchases. Unfortunately, each time I tried calling for reimbursement I was told that the system was glitching out and unable to apply the credits. I don’t know why they weren’t able to apply the travel credit against my charges right now, but the good news is that reps definitely know about this capability and it will likely become easier to redeem in the weeks and months ahead.
This is surprisingly generous news. The Ritz-Carlton Visa Infinite is already a pretty valuable card with the following key benefits for its $450 annual fee:
- Annual free night certificate good for a night of up to 50K points
- Priority Pass with unlimited guests
- Free authorized users (who each get their own Priority Pass)
- $300 in airline incidental credits (which have historically been pretty easy to use)
- Excellent travel protections (matching the Chase Sapphire Reserve)
- Purchase protection benefits
The card is no longer available for new applicants, but it may be available for product change from another Marriott card.
The news here is that the airline incidental credit can now be used to offset restaurant and grocery purchases from July 1 – December 31, 2020. That’s awesome. With a window of six months time (with 4.5 months left), it should be really easy to max out the travel credits even for someone who hasn’t yet used any.
Better yet, if you have an anniversary date coming up in the next few months, it may be possible for you to get $600 rebated in groceries and restaurant purchases if you haven’t yet used this year’s credits and you use up next year’s by the end of 2020 (hard to confirm this until people are able to do it). Update: Never mind that. As Alex points out in the comments, the travel incidental credits on this card are actually calendar year rather than cardmember year.
If I may offer a word of advice, I’d recommend waiting at least a few days to call. I ended up on long holds over 3 phone calls tonight and each time the reps told me that the system was experiencing glitches/technical issues and they were unable to apply the credits. I’ve seen success reports at Doctor of Credit, so I know it has worked for some cardholders. I recommend waiting at least a few days unless you’re really into hold music.
Each rep with which I spoke today knew about the fact that the travel credits on the Ritz-Carlton card can now be used for restaurant and grocery store purchases, so that was encouraging. Reports in recent days had followed the same trend they had for the past few months — some reps were saying that this was coming and others hadn’t heard anything about it. The first rep I spoke with today appeared to be reading from a memo dated August 6th for what that’s worth.
Each rep I spoke with had to keep putting me on hold. The first rep said she’d have to connect me to another team, but I didn’t have the time to wait at that moment. The second rep hung up on me while I was on hold. The third rep seemed to try very diligently and told me she spoke with her supervisor and their team lead who both said the system is having glitches and I should try calling back tomorrow. Since this is scheduled to work until the end of December, I’ll just hold off a week or two and call again.
At any rate, I’m thrilled to see this happen. I didn’t expect that Chase was particularly concerned with appeasing customers on a card that they no longer offer to new applicants. I’m very happy to be wrong. While the card’s annual fee increased to $450 at some point, my fee last year was still charged at $395. Even if I’m charged the full $450, I’ll be happy to renew. These $300 in credits are essentially same as cash to me, so I’ll gladly pay $150 net to get a 50K cert, the best possible priority pass, and excellent travel protections. Funny — I originally intended to dump this card after the SPG merger and I just keep getting too much value out of it to cancel. Looks like it’s sticking around at least another year.