The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card review

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Snapshot

4.9

Bankrate rating
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Bottom line

With its $450 price tag, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card may at first glance hardly seem worth it when stacked up against other luxury credit card heavy hitters like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. But 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.

Chase Image

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

Rewards rate

2X–6X

Annual fee

$450

Intro offer

N/A

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% (V)

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent  (740 - 850)

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?

Pros

  • You can earn free nights at the Ritz-Carlton
  • You automatically earn Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status
  • No foreign transaction fees

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

Quick highlights

  • 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.

Reward Rate

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.

Airport benefits

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.

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The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

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4.9

Annual fee

$450

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

2X–6X

Recommended credit

Excellent(740 - 850)
American Express Image

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Annual fee

$650

Intro offer

150,000 points

Rewards rate

2X–6X

Recommended credit

Good to Excellent(670 - 850)
Chase Image

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Annual fee

$550

Intro offer

60,000 points

Rewards rate

1x–10x

Recommended credit

Excellent(740 - 850)

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.