The Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card is a Visa offered by the well-known Ritz Carlton hotel company through Chase bank. Upon acquiring one of these cards, users have the same benefits as those with a Marriott rewards program account and then some. You get rewards points when staying at a Marriott or Ritz Carlton location along with the other perks this card has to offer. The is one of those cards (such as the American Express Centurion) who's use is aimed toward big spenders and big travelers alike. It's clear that Ritz Carlton's intentions are to give these other big-name, premium cards a run for their money through high fees and even higher rewards to those who spend the right amount of money. But does it stack up to the behemoths in the industry who already have a well-known brand? Let's find out.
Annual Percentage Rate
The APR on the Ritz Carlton credit card currently sits at 15.99%. It's worth noting that this may change as it is based completely on the Prime Rate which fluctuates as the market does. While not the lowest rate in the industry, you'd expect a card that offers as many rewards is the Ritz Carlton does (rewards which we'll cover in a moment) to have a well above average interest rate. When stacked up with everything else this card has to offer, the APR isn't too shabby at all. But of course, paying your bills on time (something I hope the majority of Ritz Carlton holders would do) will bypass this rate altogether. It's a nice bonus; however, to know the world won't end in the situation one finds themselves making a late payment.
This is where the Ritz Carlton credit card really shines through. For the semi-casual monthly traveler, Ritz Carlton is quite possibly the best card out there. For starters, they offer a $100 credit at any hotel as long as cardholders stay for a minimum of two nights. Many cards will offer much less in the way of rewards for even a whole week in a hotel.
Cardholders also get back 10% of their annual spending in the form of Ritz Carlton rewards points. For those unaware, these Ritz Carlton rewards points are essentially just Marriott rewards points. This is what makes this card great for travelers. Even when used in a rotation of cards, the Ritz Carlton can certainly save lots of money on hotel expenses through both their rewards points as well as their free hotel credit.
Rewards points are also offered every time money is spent through the credit card at select hotels, furthering the money-saving opportunity with hotel expenses. Spending money on airline tickets also reaps rewards points as well as spending money on rental cars and in restaurants, though to a lesser degree than spending at hotels.
Ritz Carlton also offers a $300 annual travel credit to all of its card holders. These can be spent on near any travel-related expense outside of airline tickets and hotels. These expenses may include seat upgrades, baggage fees or on-board snacks and drinks.
Lastly, cardholders may upgrade to Ritz Carlton Club Level hotel rooms three times a year at no added cost. While certainly not the most important or exciting reward they offer, the Ritz Club hotel rooms are widely known for their luxurious appeal, giving an added bonus to cardholders.
For starters, cardholders can add authorized users to their account with no additional expense, not even an increased annual fee. Cardholders also get access to Lounge Club, an airport lounge with hundreds of locations across the globe, making traveling a bit more comfortable.
Members are also rewarded for spending more money with their Ritz Carlton credit card. Upon spending $10,000 over the course of any year, cardholders can gain Gold Elite status (something which new users get automatically for the first year), entitling them to free room upgrades at hotels. Those who spend $75,000 annually can achieve Platinum Elite status, which brings all of the benefits of Gold Elite as well as room guarantees and arrival gifts among other things.
Members also have access to a concierge service and a "Priority Service Advisor," both of which offer 24 hour service 7 days a week. Lastly, members don't have to worry about foreign transaction fees as there are currently none to be found, though this may be liable to change.
Sign Up Bonus
While majorly irreverent to any long-time or current cardholders, the Ritz Carlton credit card does have a nice sign up bonus worth taking advantage of. New members who $4,000 in the first three months of their membership will be entitled to 3 free stays in a Marriott hotel room. Past card members can even take advantage of this sign up bonus, assuming they haven't cashed out on any sign up bonuses in the last 24 months.
Compared To Other Cards Of Its Type
It seems the Ritz Carlton Visa meets halfway between standard credit cards (think a regular Visa offered by your bank of choice) and premium credit cards (such as the American Express Centurion). It seems to be aimed to those who spend at least $500 or more on hotel and airport expenses on a monthly basis. It offers some pretty nice rewards at a relatively low annual rate.
If I had to describe the card in one sentence, I'd say it's a low cost solution to the Centurion. Relative to the annual fee (under $400), the Ritz Carlton credit card offers a ton of rewards, services and benefits. For those with an interest in travel, you're getting some of the best value out there by going with this card.
Who Is the Ritz Carlton Credit Card Best Suited Toward?
If you love traveling and can't justify the fees accompanying other cards of its type, the Ritz Carlton credit card is definitely the card you'll want to take a look at. If you spend even as low as $500 a month on travel expenses (outside of airline tickets) and would like a bigger taste of luxury, you're really not losing anything by going with the Ritz Carlton credit card. It has great rewards geared toward those who frequent hotels and airports. If you're one of these people, I couldn't recommend this card more.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker