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TPG reader Scotty tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy–“What’s the best way to use rewards points earned from my American Express Platinum card toward staying at The Ritz-Carlton?”

I love Amex points, but I almost never use them for hotel stays. Generally, the transfer partners aren’t that lucrative, and you get less than one cent per point when you redeem them for gift cards.

I much prefer to use my Amex Membership Rewards points for airlines, especially when transfer bonuses are being offered. So if you have the Platinum Card from American Express and you’ve built up a bulk of points, is it worth using them for hotel stays? In Scotty’s case, there are two options for Ritz-Carlton redemptions, and they’re both pretty awful.

Your Two (Awful) Options

  1. The first is to redeem Amex Membership Rewards for a Ritz-Carlton gift card. You can get a $1,000 gift card for 120,000 points, meaning you’re getting 0.8 cents per point in value. The upside of this is that you will earn Ritz-Carlton points if you book through Ritz-Carlton.com and pay with your gift card.
  2. Your other option is to book the hotel through Amex Travel. Unfortunately, these redemption rates are even worse. I priced out the Ritz-Carlton in Central Park, New York, which returned a value of about 0.7 cents per point–not so great!
You won
You won’t get good value using your Amex points to stay at the Ritz-Carlton.

My Recommendation

If you’re hoping to use points for Ritz-Carlton stays, I recommend getting the Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, which gives five points per dollar spent at Ritz-Carlton, and two points per dollar spent on certain categories like airfare and dining. Although there is a hefty $450 annual fee, you get different airline and hotel credits, as well as elite status, all of which help offset the up front expense. Check out Nick Ewen’s recent review of this card for more details. Another option for Ritz-Carlton stays is to use Chase Ultimate Rewards earned from your Chase Sapphire Preferred card. My Chase Ultimate Reward points can get me that same room at the Ritz-Carlton Central Park at a much better ratio of well over one cent per point.

Generally, Amex Membership Rewards aren’t great for hotels, especially not the Ritz. In this case, I suggest diversifying your cards so you can get better value when staying there.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.