UPDATE: The current Ritz-Carlton sign-up offer is up to 70,000 points.
Chase is currently offering 50,000 points for the new Ritz-Carlton co-branded credit card. Ritz-Carlton points are basically like Marriott points and free Ritz-Carlton nights start at 30,000 points and go up to 70,000. These points can also be redeemed for Marriott free nights which start at 6,000 points. However, this card is more than just free nights – it’s tailored for the high-end Ritz-Carlton customer who wants perks as well. And with a $395 annual fee this card won’t make sense for everyone, but is might be a great choice for those who frequently stay at Ritz-Carlton properties.
- 5 points per dollar on Ritz-Carlton spend
- 2 points per dollar on airfare, dining and car spend
- 1 point per dollar on everything else
-$200 in airline credit each year
- Priority Pass Select membership – free access to Alaska and United/Continental (until September 30, 2011) and a bunch of independent and international lounges. Also free for additional cardholders.
-$100 in hotel dining, spa or activities for each 2 night+ stay
- 3 upgrades to Ritz-Carlton Club level every year
- Instant Gold Elite Status, which is normally earned after 50 paid nights. Benefits include: Room upgrades, free internet, 25% points bonus on paid stays, late check-out, exclusive deals and award redemptions and overall enhanced customer service. Gold status is retained with $10,000 in annual spend each following year.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Primary car rental insurance, like the Continental OnePass Plus card (a huge benefit, especially for city dwellers like me who have no primary car insurance)
- Concierge service
While the 50,000 point sign-up bonus isn’t anything too remarkable, the benefits that go along with this card are strong if you actually stay in Ritz-Carlton hotels. The $395 fee is steep, you can easily make up for it by taking advantage of the $200 airline credit and on-site benefits like Club upgrades and $100 incidental credits. That being said, not all discount/corporate rates are eligible for Club upgrades and the $100 perk, so you usually have to book the standard lowest non-package rate on the website. Still, especially with the 50,000 point sign-up bonus, this card will most likely give several times its annual fee back in the first year. Thereafter, it really depends on how much you stay and spend at Ritz-Carlton/Marriott properties. Marriott/Ritz-Carlton also makes elite status pretty hard to get, so instant Gold status can really enhance your stay experience, but it’s difficult to put an exact price on the benfit.
The card itself is pretty impressive – it’s similar to the Sapphire Preferred and is a substantial titanium-ish card and looks really sleek. Overall, its for people who are looking for top-notch customer service and perks that make their Ritz-Carlton and Marriott stays more enjoyable. Plus a free night at tier 3 Ritz-Carltons like Lake Tahoe, Dubai and Battery Park, NYC isn’t too shabby either!
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