Ritz-Carlton Rewards Category Changes Announced

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Earlier this week I told you about changes coming to Marriott Rewards, which include the addition of an entirely new tier category – Category 9 – and the devaluation of 36% of Marriott properties. Changes take effect on May 16.

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On Thursday, sister brand’s Ritz-Carlton Rewards program announced their own changes taking effect May 16 as well, most of which also amount to bad news for program members. Of the their 78 hotels, 23 (or 30%) will rise by one tier, requiring an additional 10,000 points per reward night. Of those 23, 15 are located in the United States, and seven of the nine U.S. hotels currently in Tier 1 will jump to Tier 2. Just one hotel will be lowered a tier, from Tier 2 to Tier 1 (the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa).

The tiers themselves will remain the same, as follows:

Ritz Carlton Tier Chart

The number of hotels included in each tier currently and following these changes are:

Today
Tier 1 = 21 hotels
Tier 2 = 28 hotels
Tier 3 = 21 hotels
Tier 4 = 5 hotels
Tier 5 = 3 hotels

Starting May 16, 2013
Tier 1 = 14 hotels
Tier 2 = 28 hotels
Tier 3 = 20 hotels
Tier 4 = 13 hotels
Tier 5 = 3 hotels

The following is complete listing of Ritz-Carlton properties that are changing tiers, with their current and future tier designations:

Hotel Name

Previous Category

New Category

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa *The only one being lowered

2

1

Hotel Arts Barcelona

3

4

The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai

3

4

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman

3

4

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami

3

4

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

3

4

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas

3

4

The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

3

4

The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown

3

4

The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation

2

3

The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun

2

3

The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles

2

3

The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey

2

3

The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami

2

3

The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans

2

3

The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka

2

3

The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead

1

2

The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta

1

2

The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland

1

2

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte

1

2

The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas

1

2

The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix

1

2

The Ritz-Carlton, Seoul

1

2

The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City

1

2

Unlike Marriott, Ritz-Carlton is not adding any new tiers, but the overall result of these changes are a devaluation of Ritz-Carlton Rewards points since more hotels are going to be more expensive than ever to redeem your points at – though the one positive note is that there are still just three top-Tier 5 hotels still. Where the changes will really hit members’ points accounts is in Tiers 2, 3 and 4, all of which have gone through quite a bit of transition and whose ranks have swelled with newly elevated properties.

Unfortunately, I think this is among the first of several devaluations (other recent ones have included Starwood’s new Cash & Points reconfiguration) that will make maximizing hotel points even harder, and makes it even more important that everyone pays attention to those limited-time credit card bonuses, seasonal promotions and social media campaigns in order to earn the most points possible and use them as smartly as possible.

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