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All award travelers should earn transferable points, as they give you great flexibility in your redemptions. They also shield you from any potential devaluations, since the ability to transfer to other programs means you’re not locked into one currency. Chase Ultimate Rewards are some of the best transferable points out there, and TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Nick Ewen explains how you can transfer them to Ritz-Carlton for hotel redemptions.
In order to even think about redeeming these points for maximum value, you first need to know the actual process for transferring them to partners. Today I’ll wrap-up our series that looks closely at the process for transferring points to each Ultimate Rewards partner. So far I’ve looked at Hyatt Gold Passport, United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, British Airways Executive Club, Singapore KrisFlyer, Korean SKYPASS and IHG, and now I’ll take a look at the program’s final hotel partner: Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
Before you think about transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Ritz-Carlton, you’ll need to complete a few basic steps. For starters, you need to set up online access for your Ultimate Rewards-accruing credit card (like the Ink Plus Business Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred). To do this, simply go to www.chase.com and look for the “Not enrolled? Sign-up now” link at the right-hand side:
Then simply enter in the required information to complete your online enrollment.
If you already have an online credit card account with Chase, you can add a new card to it by clicking Manage Accounts in the Customer Center and then selecting Add Accounts at the top.
The other important thing to do is to sign up for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Club (though if you’ve read my points and miles mistakes post, hopefully you’ve already done this!). To do this, just visit the page to enroll in the program and enter your information.
Now, there is one rather unique aspect of the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program that’s worth mentioning: its relationship to Marriott Rewards. While the Ritz-Carlton brand does fall within the umbrella of the Marriott portfolio and does participate in the Marriott Rewards program, it has maintained a separate (but almost identical) loyalty program. However, per the partnership’s FAQ page on Marriott.com (emphasis mine):
“Members may only have a primary relationship with only one program at a time. Although members may elect to have their primary affiliation with either Marriott Rewards or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, it is possible to change membership from one program to the other by contacting Guest Services.”
As a result, if you already have a Marriott account, you can’t also sign-up for Ritz-Carlton. However, you can call Guest Services to change your primary affiliation from Marriott to Ritz-Carlton (or you can make this change online). You’ll keep the same account number, point balance and elite status, and the elite benefits and point-earning/redemption options are identical. The critical difference between the two is the promotions to which you’ll have access.
Once these two things are complete, you’re ready to start transferring!
Transferring to Ritz-Carlton
The actual process for transferring Ultimate Rewards points to all partners starts the exact same way:
1. Log in to your Chase account and click on the Go to Ultimate Rewards link at the top right.
(1a. If you have more than one card account, choose your desired one from the next page.)
2. Hover over the Use Points drop-down menu and select Transfer to Travel Partners.
3. Scroll down the list of airline partners and click Transfer Points next to The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
4. Select you or an authorized user from the drop-down menu, enter your member ID and then click Continue (notice I had to use my wife’s account, since I’m currently a member of Marriott Rewards).
5. Enter the number of points you want to transfer (must be in increments of 1,000) and click Continue.
6. Review your details on the next page and then click Confirm & Submit.
The next screen should confirm that the transfer was successful.
We recently tested how long Ultimate Rewards transfers take for each of the program’s 11 partners, and unfortunately Ritz-Carlton transfers can take up to two days to show up.
|Singapore Airlines||Same Day|
There are a few important things to keep in mind with these transfers:
- The transfers are nonrefundable, so be certain you want to make the transfer before you click Submit.
- You can only transfer to yourself or an authorized user.
- You can combine points from your different cards or transfer points between your account and that of your spouse/domestic partner. For complete details, check out my post on combining Ultimate Rewards points.
Booking with Ritz
Now that you’ve made the transfer, it’s time to actually book with Ritz-Carlton Rewards. As I mentioned above, the program gives you the exact same redemption options as the Marriott Rewards program, so you aren’t restricted to using Ritz-Carlton Rewards points for Ritz-Carlton award rooms (and vice versa). Here’s a list of the number of points you need per night at a Ritz-Carlton property (PointSavers rates in parentheses):
- Tier 1: 30,000 points (20,000 points)
- Tier 2: 40,000 points (30,000 points)
- Tier 3: 50,000 points (40,000 points)
- Tier 4: 60,000 points (50,000 points)
- Tier 5: 70,000 points (60,000 points)
Here are the award rates for Marriott-branded properties (again with PointSavers rates in parentheses):
- Category 1: 7,500 points (6,000 points)
- Category 2: 10,000 points (7,500 points)
- Category 3: 15,000 points (10,000 points)
- Category 4: 20,000 points (15,000 points)
- Category 5: 25,000 points (20,000 points)
- Category 6: 30,000 points (25,000 points)
- Category 7: 35,000 points (30,000 points)
- Category 8: 40,000 points (35,000 points)
- Category 9: 45,000 points (40,000 points)
However, since we already covered Marriott Rewards, here’s a step-by-step process of how to actually book these award rooms with Ritz-Carlton:
1. Start by visiting Ritz-Carlton’s homepage, click on Rewards Member Login at the top right-hand corner, then select selection your language and country:
2. Enter your e-mail address or rewards number and password and click Sign In:
3. Click Reservations at the top right-hand corner:
4. Select your desired hotel from the drop-down menu (or search by region/metro area/amenity), enter your dates, check the box for Use Rewards Points and then click Search:
5. Review the different redemption options (including upgraded accommodations) and click Select next to the room you want to book:
6. Review the details of your reservation and enter the credit card you want to use (if you don’t have one saved to your online account), then click Reserve Now at the bottom right:
The next page will display your confirmation.
Note that the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program also allows you to book award stays when you’re short on points. You’ll just need to earn the additional points required for the reservation at least 14 days prior to check-in or else your reservation will automatically be canceled.
One of the big limitations of the Ritz-Carlton website is the fact that it doesn’t show other Marriott properties, while Marriott.com does show Ritz-Carlton locations. As a result, if you’re unsure of whether you want to redeem your points for a Marriott or Ritz-Carlton property, it’s easiest to use Marriott’s website to search all available properties. Because the programs are so closely related, you can actually use the exact same login credentials on Marriott.com and then choose from all available properties on the search results page:
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards program may fly under your radar, mainly because the benefits are essentially identical to the Marriott Rewards program when it comes to earning points, redeeming points and enjoying the benefits of elite status. However, if you’re interested in some of the program’s lucrative promotions (like last fall’s offer of 100,000 points and double elite nights), you may want to consider switching your primary program designation from Marriott to Ritz.
Another time you’d want to be a member of Ritz-Carlton Rewards instead of Marriott Rewards is if you’re considering opening the The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, which is currently offering three complimentary nights at any participating Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotel after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The card also comes with added benefits like Club Level upgrades, automatic Gold status for the first year (and every year thereafter in which you spend $10,000 on the card) and a $300 yearly air travel credit. You can also take advantage of terrific experiences like wining and dining in Napa Valley. For more information, check out my detailed card review from last fall.
Ultimate Rewards points regularly appear near the top of TPG’s monthly valuations (and for good reason). With a number of valuable transfer partners, you can get a ton of value and flexibility by collecting these points and then putting them toward a variety of different redemptions. I’ve never had a reason to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Ritz-Carlton, but given the right redemption, it could make a lot of sense.
For additional information about Ultimate Rewards and redeeming Ritz-Carlton points, check out the following posts:
- Should I get the Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Card?
- Hotel Review: The Ritz-Carlton Seoul
- Ritz-Carlton Chicago To Fully Join Brand – New Points Opportunity
- Maximizing Ultimate Rewards with Chase Freedom, Sapphire and Ink Plus
What are your experiences transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Ritz?
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards