For those of you who are experts in applying for credit cards to receive airline mile and hotel points, you’re probably familiar with the Ritz Carlton Visa issued by Chase. This card is Chase’s attempt to provide similar benefits to the American Express Platinum card. In my opinion, they are close in the benefits they provide, but the AMEX Platinum has more flexibility as you get Membership Rewards (MR) versus Ritz Carlton Rewards (RCR) for spending on the card . Membership Rewards can be transferred to a variety of hotel and airline partners whereas the Ritz Carlton Rewards can only be used at Ritz Carlton or Marriott properties (well, you can also transfer them to partners at an astonishingly dismal rate – 70,000 RCRs give you 25,000 miles on a handful of airlines). Anyway, today Chase upped the ante by issuing an updated Ritz Carlton card giving 70,000 RCRs upon first use with the $395 annual fee waived for the first year! Contrast that to the current AMEX Platinum offer which gives no sign on bonus and comes with a $450 annual fee that’s not waived for the first year (as an FYI, the Mercedes Benz version gives 50,000 MR when spending $1,000 within the first 3 months and has a $475 annual fee, not waived).
The key benefits offered by this card are:
- 70,000 Ritz Carlton Rewards upon first use (no minimum spend requirement!)
- $395 annual fee waived for the first year
- $200 airline credit to be used towards incidentals (think baggage fees, in-flight food, etc.)
- Complimentary airport lounge access through the Lounge Club as long as you are a holder of the card
- Automatic Gold Elite status with Ritz Carlton for the first year and any subsequent year you spend $10,000 or more on the card
So, should you apply for this card? A couple of things to consider… This card is issued by Chase, our favorite bank when it comes to travel oriented offers. You can only apply for a Chase card once every 30 days so if you’ve applied in the last month, you’ll have to wait a bit (we recommend only applying for cards in batches every 3 to 4 months to ensure you maintain your pristine credit). Although the terms and conditions state that previous Ritz Carlton or Marriott credit card holders are not eligible for the offer, several on this Flyertalk thread have posted otherwise. I imagine that you will get the 70,000 RCRs but keep this in mind. (EDITED TO ADD: As reader “R” points out in the comments, this offer is technically targeted towards Ritz Carlton Residence Owners although nowhere in the application does it ask you to verify your ownership so I doubt this is considered when reviewing applications or distributing benefits). It also has been reported that you can use Marriott Rewards and Ritz Carlton Rewards interchangeably so the 70,000 RCRs offered here would make a nice compliment to the 70,000 Marriot Rewards you can get here.
I guess the next logical question would be, what can you get with 70,000 (or 140,000) Marriott or Ritz Carlton Rewards? I think the best redemptions are what work into your plans. In the coming months, members of my family have vacations planned for Orlando and Maui both of which have Courtyard Marriott’s at the Category 4 level which require 20,000 rewards per night. A combination of both the Marriott and Ritz Carlton card could get you 7 nights (actually 8 with the free category 1-4 cert from the Marriott card) at either of these properties. If you tend to travel more internationally, the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott both go for 40,000 rewards points per night which are known to be outstanding properties and thus good redemption values.
In short, the benefits offered by this card are astounding given the fact that there is no minimum spend requirement and the annual fee is waived for the first year. If you are in the market for a new Chase card, looking for free airport lounge access, or if a Ritz Carlton/Marriott property works into your upcoming travel plans, I would highly recommend pursuing this one with your next round of applications. As for my husband and I, we have our Chase cards picked out for the next couple of rounds based upon our near future travel, but we do hope that this one sticks around for a while. These benefits are awesome for what’s required of you in return!
What do you think? Will you be applying for this card?