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