The Ritz-Carlton credit card has a new offer of two free nights at your choice of most Ritz properties after $3000 spend in 3 months. The card has a $395 annual fee but some real benefits that offset that fee.
Personally I liked the older special offers of 70,000 points and a $0 fee the first year, and 140,000 points (no fee waiver) better. But this will certainly be useful to some.
Earning on the card is:
- 5 points per dollar at Ritz-Carlton and Marriott hotels
- 2 points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines, on rental cars, and at restaurants
- 1 point per dollar on other purchases
I would only put Marriott/Ritz-Carlton spend on the card, other than for hitting minimum spend to earn the bonuses. Marriott points are worth less than a penny apiece, so double points (let alone one point per dollar!) wouldn’t be worth my spend.
Since the free nights are valid on tier 1-4 hotels, that means the following tier 5 properties are excluded:
In my opinion you don’t want to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman anyway.
In My View the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman is an Archetypal “Resort Factory”
I think of Ritz-Carltons as ‘the nice Marriotts’ although they’re hugely variable in quality. The Northern Virginia Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, for instance, is truly a mediocre property. But it would be absolutely lovely to drink a glass of wine at sunset overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the tier 4 Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. And if you’re going to Barcelona, the tier 4 Hotel Arts is certainly a lovely choice. The tier 3 Marina del Rey Ritz-Carlton is probably the very best LAX airport hotel…
Put another way, I don’t entirely ‘get’ the Ritz-Carlton brand. There are several outstanding hotels, but the chain lacks the peaks or the consistency of Four Seasons. They do, however, participate in quite a few broader Marriott corporate discounts. And they’ve adopted the parallel Ritz-Carlton Rewards program that is essentially Marriott Rewards with different promotions (and you’re supposed to choose one or the other).
- The card comes with Ritz-Carlton Gold status (which is Marriott Rewards Gold) the first year, and then you keep it by spending $10,000 on the card each year.
- $75,000 spend in a year gets you Platinum status.
- There’s a $300 airline fee credit as well that helps take the sting out of the annual fee.
- There are also some fairly restrictive club lounge upgrade and $100 folio credits with Ritz-Carlton stays as well.
- You get an airport Lounge Club membership.
- There’s concierge service that I’ve heard is now handled by the same company which takes care of Palladium card customers (which the President has). Unfortunately that’s a downgrade to the Palladium concierge, rather than an improvement for the Ritz-Carlton card.
- It’s a heavy card, more impressive-looking than Sapphire Preferred
(HT: Million Mile Secrets)
For avoidance of doubt I do not receive any referral credit for this card product.