Arguably the most high end hotel credit card is back with an increased welcome bonus.
The Ritz-Carlton™ Card welcome bonus
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Signature Card is offering a welcome bonus of 140,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of card membership.
The card does have a $395 annual fee, which isn’t waived the first year. For context, in the past we’ve sometimes seen a 70,000 point welcome bonus with the annual fee waived, so whether or not this offer is better depends on whether you value Ritz-Carlton Rewards points at over ~0.56 cents each (since you’re basically deciding whether you want to pick up an extra 70,000 points for $395).
The Ritz-Carlton™ Card benefits
This card comes with a ton of benefits, including:
- Gold Elite status for the first year of membership
- Gold Elite status for any subsequent year in which you spend at least $10,000 on the card
- Platinum Elite status for any year in which you spend $75,000 on the card
- A $300 airline fee credit per calendar year
- Three upgrades to the Ritz-Carlton Club for stays of up to seven nights each
Ritz-Carlton Club Hong Kong
The $300 airline fee credit is based on calendar years, so you should be able to get two airline fee credits out of the first year’s annual fee. In other words, you’ll be making money on the card. A $395 annual fee with $600 worth of airline fee credits is already a “profit” of $205, assuming you value the airline fee credit at close to cash value.
And Gold Elite status in the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program is quite valuable. You receive reciprocal benefits at Marriott properties, so when staying at Marriott properties you receive club lounge access, etc. (Marriott really doesn’t have many elite benefits, eh?). For subsequent years, it can make sense to put $10,000 of spend on the card to maintain Gold status, in my opinion, since it is useful for Marriott stays.
Don’t get too excited about the club upgrades. They can only be used on select rates, and not in conjunction with Virtuoso/American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts. So while they can be useful for some, don’t expect you’ll be able to book a discounted promo rate and use them.
The Ritz-Carlton™ Card spending bonuses
The card offers the following bonuses on everyday spend:
- 5x points per dollar spent at Ritz-Carlton properties
- 2x points per dollar spent on airline tickets when purchased directly with the airline, car rental agencies, and restaurants.
- 1x point per dollar spent on everything else
- 10% annual points bonus each calendar year
I value Ritz-Carlton Rewards points at under a penny each, so personally I don’t think it’s worth putting non-bonused spend on the card. The one exception is if you’re going for one of the thresholds, like trying to spend $10,000 on the card your second year so you can maintain Gold status.
Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
70,000 points vs. $395
So is it worth going for this offer over one in the future that might have the first year’s annual fee waived? Well, 70,000 points is enough for one night at Ritz-Carlton’s top tier properties, like the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. If you value that at more than $395, then absolutely.
For example, you can redeem a free night at the Ritz-Carlton New York, where rates are often ~$1,000 per night:
Or you could redeem 60,000 points for two free nights at a Tier 1 property, which are still in almost all circumstances worth $200+ per night.
This is as good as the welcome bonus gets on this card. You’ll make money on the card the first year, and pick up quite a few points which can be redeemed for some stays at Ritz-Carlton properties.
View from the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
The information for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card has been collected independently by One Mile at a Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.