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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
The concepts of hotel ownership versus hotel management can be a bit fuzzy. One case in point is that of The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, which has paid for the license to use the name Ritz-Carlton since opening in 1975, but is, in fact, a Four Seasons property at the moment. Don’t believe me? Here’s the hotel website…operated by Four Seasons.
That can get a bit confusing, but at least in this case, Ritz-Carlton (the company) has announced that The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago will be fully joining its brand in August. That means guests will eventually be making reservations there through Ritz-Carlton’s website, and that they will be able use their Ritz-Carlton and Marriott points for stays there.
Currently the city’s only Ritz-Carlton, the hotel is on the larger side for the brand, with 429 rooms including 101 suites on the 15-30th floors of Chicago’s landmark Water Tower Place. It also has a full-service spa and restaurant and plenty of meeting space.
No word yet on what rewards Tier the hotel will be in, but redemptions will start at 30,000-70,000 points per night. I suspect it will start out toward the lower end of the spectrum in Tier 2 or 3 because it was last renovated in 2009, and will undergo a renovation over the two years following the changeover—so you might want to hold off on reservations. Ritz-Carlton and Marriott elites will enjoy all their benefits there.
Ritz-Carlton is currently in an aggressive expansion push. It now operates 87 hotels, but has over 30 more in the works, including several properties in the Middle East and Asia.
Every so often, though, brands will take over or partner with existing properties, sort of like Marriott did with Gaylord Hotels, or Hyatt did with MGM Hotels in Vegas, opening up even more opportunities for rewards club members to earn and redeem their points—which I see as great news at the end of the day.
If you’re looking to stock up on points for a potential stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, you’ve got a couple great current credit card offers, which also come with automatic elite status.
Meanwhile, the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card currently offers a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar spent at over 3,800 Marriott locations, 2 points per dollar spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies and restaurants, and 1 point per dollar spent on purchases anywhere else. Additionally, you’ll receive an additional free night in category 1-5 locations every year on account anniversary. The $85 annual fee on this card will be waived for the first year and this card comes with no foreign transaction fees and Global Chip and Signature technology.
Earlier this year, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card was offering sign-up bonuses of up to 140,000 points, but it looks like the public offer is currently back down to a two complimentary nights at Category 1-4 property when you spend $4,000 in 3 months. The card also offers a slew of other valuable benefits for its $450 annual fee including three upgrades to Club Level per year on paid stays, a $300 annual travel credit, a $100 hotel credit on paid stays of 2 nights or longer, 5x points on Ritz-Carlton and Marriott spend, 2x points on airline tickets, car rentals and restaurants, 10% annual points premium on points earned through card purchases throughout the year, no foreign transaction fees, automatic gold status your first account year (you can maintain it by spending $10,000 each year thereafter), and more. Check out our full review here.