The Price of Marriott Platinum Status Just Went Down

I’ve shared full details on the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa before.

It’s a surprisingly good card for a certain subset of folks, and it turns out it’s just gotten better.

The key benefit of the card, I think, is Ritz-Carlton Gold status (which is Marriott Gold status) the first year, and then after $10,000 in spend in each subsequent year.

It’s a pricey card at $395 annual fee, but used to have a $200 airline fee credit to offset. The fee credit has been increased to $300. It’s pretty easy to use the credit, so think of it as a $95 fee card with a few hoops to jump through.

For $95 and $10,000 spend you get Marriott Gold on an ongoing basis — a mid-tier level to be sure but it requires 50 nights (or United Gold status). And Marriott Gold is virtually indistinguishable from Platinum.

The card is an impressive heavy metal and comes bundled with club upgrades and a concierge service that’s better than the standard Visa Signature offering.

They’ve added two more benefits in addition to increasing the airline fee credit (in effect reducing the card’s annual cost).

10% Annual Points Bonus

They give you a 10% bonus on the points you earn. But since I don’t consider points-earning on this card especially strong I don’t value this new benefit highly.

I view this card as a useful way to have mid-tier status with a hotel chain that is everywhere, you get the card and hold it (and put $10,000 spend on the card to maintain status) but you don’t put meaningful spend on the card.

Platinum Status With $75,000 Annual Spend

Hilton pioneered giving away real status via credit card spend. Their Amex Surpass card offered Gold with spend in its original iteration and now bundles it free with cardmembership (as does the Hilton Reserve card). Both cards offer top-tier Diamond status after $40,000 in spend. Like Marriott, mid-tier and top-tier status aren’t especially distinguishable from each other.

The Ritz-Carlton card will now let you earn Ritz-Carlton Platinum (i.e. Marriott Platinum) with $75,000 in annual spend.

The ability to earn Platinum status in the Marriott or Ritz-Carlton programs isn’t new. The existing Marriott Premier Visa gives you 15 nights towards status every year plus 1 additional night with $3000 spend. You can earn Platinum after $180,000 in annual spend.

So the cost of Marriott Platinum has just falled from $180,000 in credit card spend down to $75,000.

Of course the Marriott card lets you combine actual paid head in bed nights with credit card spend to earn status, while the Ritz-Carlton card is letting you earn status only via spend.

(HT: tommy777)

Note: no referral links were used in the making of this post.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Another blogger smokescreen to trick readers by giving them insightful analysis about interesting offers. You’re trying to make readers come back and follow your blog, aren’t you- we’re onto your tricks, Gary!

  2. Thanks for the heads up. That’s a solid improvement. So have people been able to get both this card if they already have the Chase Marriott still open?

  3. so after 75000 spend on ritz card would my marriott plat status offer me united airlines status that marriott plats get?

  4. Interesting developments. The downside in commparison to the Marriott Visa Signature card is that you don’t get the elite night credit every $3k in spend. So for those interested in accumulating elite nights for life-time status, it won’t help you…unless I’m missing something?

  5. FYI Marriott Plats only get Silver on UA, which isn’t much better than the benefits you get with their credit card.

  6. Indeed. Why pay $195 to Amex and spend $50k to get 20k Delta MQMs when you can knock out $25k more and get UA Silver+Marriott Platinum?

  7. Indeed. Why pay $195 to Amex and spend $50k to get 20k Delta MQMs when you can knock out $25k more and get UA Silver+Marriott Platinum.

    Does the status only last while you hold the card? Or does it follow its normal calendar year?

  8. For the sake of clarification, if one does NOT do the requisite $10K spend then this cad is essentially buying unlimited Lounge Club access for $95($395-$300 “ancillary credits”)?

  9. Don’t forget that this card comes with an unlimited visits loungeclub card, that’s a big benefit in and of itself.

  10. Yeah Marriott Plat is basically equivalent to Hilton Diamond, not very valuable, and not nearly as good as Hyatt or Starwood top tier status. I wonder if these programs realize how much they dilute the perceived and real value of their status and hence reduce incentive to actually stay nights to attain that status.

  11. are you sure that you will get Marriott Plat with this card, Lucky wrote yesterday that this wont happen, so who is right???

  12. So if you have this card and Ritz Gold status, do you receive the same lounge access benefit that a Marriott Gold receives when staying at a Marriott property?

  13. So do you get the 70K points also? What is up no referral link? Come on Gary, you are slipping 🙂

  14. If you already have a Marriott Rewards account, can you get the bonus points transferred from Ritz-Carlton Rewards to Marriott Rewards?

  15. @tex – correct (officially) but my point is that status in one is honored at the other chain as the equivalent.

  16. @DJ yes Ritz Carlton gold is Marriott gold so you get the same benefits as a Marriott Gold when staying with Marriott

  17. @Tony not sure what you’re talking about, could you share the specific quote where Lucky says you cannot get platinum through spend on this card? His post said you could I believe.

  18. @DBest status follows the normal membership year. If you cancel the card but have met the spend and earned status you will keep status until you would normally lose it.

  19. Hey Gary –

    In regards to the 300 dollar credit. Do you suppose that AA gift certs code as “misc” there as well? (i.e. can you do the Amex Platinum trick with Chase?

    Also…do you think if you spent your 200 credit already, there’s now going to be an extra 100 to play with?

  20. It was in his comments where he made that statement. I’ll have to go back and find it.

  21. @Gary here is what Lucky wrote

    “May 1st, 2014 at 5:33 pm
    lucky said,
    @ Peetyrd — They do offer reciprocal elite benefits between programs, though you don’t get Marriott Platinum status, per se.”

    However, later in the day he did write that you do get Marriott PLT.. I didn’t that comment.

  22. There are two RSVP codes out there as well, look at milepoint. You can get fee waived first year plus 70,000 or pay the fee and get 140,000. I just called today for the fee waived one and was approved. So if what you say is true its 70,000 points plus $300 in airline gift cards for free.

  23. Interesting how you did not cross-ref your prior posts that basically confirm that Marriott Plat status is pretty much worthless, or rather doesn’t provide much beyond Gold. Thus the new card feature is a phantom benefit.

    Now if Hyatt and SPG offered top status via credit card (or some other method besides actual hotel stays) that would be worth writing about.

  24. I find the lounge card useless. Very few choices (none in my main airport–Atlanta—just the International terminal, which is not accessible to domestic flyers), none in New Orleans, none in Philly, . . . .). It’s an okay card, but not worth the $395, imo.

  25. I signed up for this card in June 2013 as a “1 year rental” knowing that I was going to stay at some Ritz’s throughout the 1 year. The 70k signup I combined with some existing Marriott points and spent a couple nights at the Amelia Island property – 40k/night and highly recommended. The big pluses with this card for me were:

    – My paid stays (3 nights Greensboro, GA and 6 nights in Sarasota, Fl – both $249/night in March and May of this year plus 2 more paid nights in Amelia Island) included Club Level. High floor room, all you can drink and eat minus a square dinner for the entire trip. Awesome people and concierge. This is HUGE.
    – $100 credit each stay a nice bonus
    – 17.5x points on the room cost (Recent 6 nighter in Sarasota was about $2k including all taxes, resort fee, etc so I got 35k Ritz points just about enough for another night.
    – $200 per calendar year in baggage fee credits. So YES it can be used twice if you sign up for card now and YES it is $300 now, so $600 in these credits. I used for a first class upgrade and also a lounge fee.

    If you plan on at least 1 or 2 paid Ritz stays in the next year then this card is a no brainer.

  26. @mbh I was able to access The Club at ATL on domestic itineraries from different terminals, no problem.

  27. It’s possible now that they’ve extended the Plane Train to Concourse F (it didn’t used to be possible), but it’s still a pretty long haul away from most domestic flights.

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