The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card review
Why you can trust Bankrate
At Bankrate, we have a mission to demystify the credit cards industry — regardless or where you are in your journey — and make it one you can navigate with confidence. Our team is full of a diverse range of experts from credit card pros to data analysts and, most importantly, people who shop for credit cards just like you. With this combination of expertise and perspectives, we keep close tabs on the credit card industry year-round to:
- Meet you wherever you are in your credit card journey to guide your information search and help you understand your options.
- Consistently provide up-to-date, reliable market information so you\'re well-equipped to make confident decisions.
- Reduce industry jargon so you get the clearest form of information possible, so you can make the right decision for you.
At Bankrate, we focus on the points consumers care about most: rewards, welcome offers and bonuses, APR, and overall customer experience. Any issuers discussed on our site are vetted based on the value they provide to consumers at each of these levels. At each step of the way, we fact-check ourselves to prioritize accuracy so we can continue to be here for your every next.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions.
We value your trust. Our mission is to provide readers with accurate and unbiased information, and we have editorial standards in place to ensure that happens. Our editors and reporters thoroughly fact-check editorial content to ensure the information you’re reading is accurate. We maintain a firewall between our advertisers and our editorial team. Our editorial team does not receive direct compensation from our advertisers.
Bankrate’s editorial team writes on behalf of YOU – the reader. Our goal is to give you the best advice to help you make smart personal finance decisions. We follow strict guidelines to ensure that our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers. Our editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers, and our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure accuracy. So, whether you’re reading an article or a review, you can trust that you’re getting credible and dependable information.
How We Make Money
You have money questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout life’s financial journey.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers.
We’re transparent about how we are able to bring quality content, competitive rates, and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and, services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service.
Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.
Editor’s note: This card is no longer offered to new customers.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card overview
If only Ritz-Carlton properties will do when you’re traveling, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card can be well worth the substantial price of ownership. The key with this card is making sure you maximize all the benefits it offers.
What are the pros and cons?
- High annual fee of $450
- High APR of 17.74 to 24.49%
- Card is no longer available
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 6 points per dollar spent at participating The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®. 3 points on dining, car rentals and airline purchases. 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Annual fee: $450
- Intro offer: N/A
- Regular APR: 17.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
Current Welcome Offer
As the card is discontinued, there currently is no welcome offer. Previous welcome offers have included a sign-up bonus of two nights for free at either of those spots and dozens more that qualify and an additional 10,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user, and they make their first purchase.
While the Ritz-Calton Rewards Card may initially seem limiting, there are a lot of opportunities to get your money’s worth with this card. Because of its partnership with Marriott Bonvoy, your chance to earn and redeem rewards expands further.
How you earn
There is a Ritz-Carlton in almost every major city, giving you the opportunity to earn 6X points per dollar every time you go out of town. Should a Ritz-Carlton not be available, there is a good chance that you can stay at a Marriott Bonvoy hotel for the same rewards rates. You also earn 3X points on airfare booked directly through the airline, car rental agencies and restaurants and 2X points on all other spending.
At Marriott Bonvoy properties, you earn 6X points for every $1 at participating hotels, 10X points for being a Marriott Bonvoy Member and 2.5% points because of your Gold Elite Status. In total, you can earn up to 18.5X points per stay at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts.
How to redeem
You can choose to use a combination of points and cash toward free nights, rooms, flights, shopping, or experiences. If you redeem your points for at least four nights, you’ll get a complimentary fifth night. You can also redeem your points for stays within the Marriott Bonvoy family of participating hotels.
Points expire if there is no activity on your account within 24 months. Qualifying activity counts as either earning Ritz-Carlton rewards through a qualified stay or using your card to make a purchase.
Other Cardholder Perks
If you stay at a Ritz a few times a year and use all of the perks attached to it, the value can far exceed the price tag.
Automatic Gold status
Did you know you receive automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status your first year of card ownership? This will give you free Wi-Fi, complimentary room upgrades, late check-out privileges and a 25% rewards bonus on your base points earnings.
It also makes it easier to earn free nights at a Tier 1 property is 20,000 points, and every Tier requires another 10,000 points up to a maximum of 60,000 points for a Tier 6 property.
Other awesome attributes of this card include an annual $300 airline incidental credit. You’ll have to call the issuer and ask them to give you a statement credit as it’s not an automatic benefit like with some other cards.
You also get a Priority Pass membership for airport lounge access worldwide, a $100 hotel credit on paid stays of two nights or longer and $100 Global Entry application fee reimbursement every four years.
How much are rewards worth?
You can receive one night free at a Tier 1 property is 20,000 points, and every Tier requires another 10,000 points up to a maximum of 60,000 points for a Tier 6 property.
The card also grants you three Club level upgrade passes each year on paid stays of up to seven nights. Club-level rooms give you access to the club lounge, an area that is always stocked with food and drinks and replenished throughout the day. Prices for these rooms typically range anywhere from $150 to $300 more than the price of a standard room.
Rates & fees
The price to carry the Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card can be pretty steep for most cardholders. For starters, it has an annual fee of $450 along with an APR of 17.74 to 24.74 percent (when last updated), already higher than the national average. This interest kicks in immediately as there are no introductory APRs on purchases or balance transfers.
There is a small upside to the fact that there are no foreign transaction fees so this is great to use at international Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts.
How the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card compares to other cards
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards card has high rewards to match its high annual fee. This card is perfect for those who know exactly where and how they want to stay when traveling. However, this card may be too limited for most cardholders. Take a look at the options below that may be better fitted for frequent travelers.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card vs Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
For those who want to cut the middleman, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express card is a very comparable co-brand card. Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program. 3 points at Worldwide Restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2 points on all other eligible purchases.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant also has a welcome offer of 150,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 within three months of account opening. With potential statement credits each year, which easily help offset its $650 annual fee. Marriott Bonvoy® Platinum Elite Status: With complimentary Platinum Elite status, earn 5X points on every eligible hotel purchase for qualifying rates. That’s 50% more points on hotel purchases.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Though the Chase Sapphire Reserve may have a steeper annual fee ($550) and higher interest (18.49 to 25.49 percent, variable), this card is one of Bankrate’s highest rated cards for a good reason. Unlike the Ritz-Carlton card, the Chase Sapphire Reserved covers and rewards much more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You earn 10X points on hotels, car rentals, and Chase dining purchases along with 5X points on air travel. This gives you a chance to get up to 35X points on every vacation. Not to mention the automatic $300 travel credits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve definitely is worth its yearly bill.
That being said, a lot of the card’s earning power does rely on its rewards portal to do the work. The extra work may not be ideal for a frequent traveler who already knows what they want and doesn’t want to compromise. It also has a fairly low sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 within the first three months for its price point. If you want a more straightforward luxury travel card, this may not be the best fit.
Best cards to pair with the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card
Because the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card is so focused, it would be better to have a more general card to pair with it. A general travel card with a lower annual fee, like the Citi Premier® Card, can be a good addition, as it still has rewards geared towards travel but doesn’t have a steep price. With 3 points per $1 spent on gas stations, flights, and hotels, you can travel anyway you want and still be rewarded. It also helps that it’s not attached to a particular brand, making it even more flexible.
However, if you prefer the concentrated perks of a co-brand, an airline card such as the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express could also match well with the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card. With Delta being one of the largest airlines in the world, there are plenty of opportunities to use this card. While the rewards rate is lower (3X points per Delta purchase, 2X per U.S. supermarkets and restaurants), the price is also lower at $95 per year.
Bankrate Take: Is the Ritz-Carlton card worth it?
Yes, if you have the Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card and stay at both Ritz-Carlton and Marriott-Bonvoy properties. Because of this partnership, the card’s long-term value has increased. That being said, this card can be a no-go due to its lack of availability for potential cardholders. There are other hotel co-brand cards that give people high rewards for a lower annual fee.