Updated on December 14, 2023
Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
Step aside, Sapphire Reserve – your buzz has now worn off. There's a new #1 in my book – it's the Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card. Technically, it's a JPM issued card, but what's the diff these days since it all rolls up to Chase. What compelled me to sign up for this card a few months ago was the Doc's warning that the signup bonus of 3 free nights would be soon dropping to 2 nights. I immediately signed up (and approved), and within a couple of weeks, the last working links eventually died.
Note: This card is NO longer available for new applicants, however, you might be able to upgrade one of your existing Chase cards to this card.
So What's So Good About the Ritz Carlton Card?
On the SURFACE, here are the perks:
- $300 annual travel credit (worth $600 first year since you get $300 for 2017 and another $300 for 2018)
- It requires calling up to get charges reimbursed but it is quite easy (versus the Sapphire Reserve which happens automatically)
- The credit was intended for seat upgrade, in flight purchases and lounge access charges, but I have been able to get reimbursed for taxes and fees on award tickets
- Signup bonus of 2 free nights at any Ritz Carlton property, tier 1-4
- Here are the best uses of the certs
- 1 Free Night certificate up to 50k points every year
- The Ritz card does not follow 5/24 rules
- 3 club level upgrade certificates per year on paid stays
- Limited time only, $25 back with Apple Pay
Real Gems of the Ritz Card
There are 2 main reasons why the Ritz Carlton card is the most underrated card in the Chase portfolio:
- Priority Pass for you, as well as each of your authorized users
- Comes in handy for those family members who refuse to sign up for credit cards, yet you want them to have airport lounge access when they fly. Just add them as authorized users and they can get lounge access.
- $0 cost to add authorized users, up to 6. Relative to Citi Prestige, Citi wants $50 for each. Relative to Sapphire Reserve, Chase wants $75 for each
- Lounge access comes with unlimited guests too
- [This benefit has been discontinued] $100 Visa Infinite Companion Airfare Discount
- Book round trip domestic airfare for you and a companion, get $100 off each booking, unlimited uses
- Works for authorized users as well – my most recent booking, I was able to book 8 passengers on 4 separate reservations and score 4 x $100 discount on a domestic round trip flight
- Instructions on how to book
- Check out how the discount gets applied – The first ticket gets charged the full price and the second ticket has the $100 discount applied. And as you can see, 8 tickets purchased of which 4 of them reflect the $100 discount.
Heaviest Metal Card?
Weight might not be a driver for most, but it surely is icing on the cake for me. The Ritz card is the heaviest metal card out there, weighing in at a full 1 oz! To say the least, it's a conversation starter.
As many of you know, I have been a JPM Reserve cardholder for 8 months now and I must say, the JPM Reserve card is a very close 2nd place. Unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the JPM Reserve comes with United Club membership so that's a value of $450-$550 depending on your United status. Ritz Carlton Rewards still wins the race mainly because of the unlimited uses of the $100 visa infinite companion discount, including authorized users.
Long Term Plan
When I first applied for the Ritz Carlton Rewards credit card I wasn't sure how long I would keep it. Since then, the Ritz card has really grown on me – the new love of my credit card life. Working out the math, $450 annual fee, partially offset by the $300 annual travel credit, gets me to an effective annual fee of $150. Depending on how much you are able to leverage $100 visa infinite companion discount and the Priority Pass for authorized users, you will come out hundreds if not thousands ahead per year.
So my long term plan is to keep the Ritz card until (if) Chase devalues the 2 big gems. The Ritz will compliment my JPM Reserve card, which I also plan to keep paying the annual fee each year.
Get The Card
Other Favorite Offers
Another Chase offer I like right now is the British Airways up to 100,000 sign up bonus.