This is exciting — Ritz Carlton Reserve is joining Marriott Bonvoy, meaning that members will be able to earn & redeem points, as well as take advantage of elite perks, for stays at these properties.
What is Ritz-Carlton Reserve?
For those not familiar, Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a collection of a handful of spectacular resorts. What’s the difference between Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties and standard Ritz-Carlton resorts?
Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties have anywhere from 50 to 115 rooms, so they’re truly intimate properties with personalized service. Meanwhile some of Ritz-Carlton’s resorts are basically luxury factories, many with 300+ rooms. So the properties are in completely different leagues, and will offer a vastly different experience than what you’d find at your average Ritz-Carlton.
Currently Ritz-Carlton Reserve has five locations:
- Dorado Beach is a 115-room Ritz-Carlton Reserve property in Dorado, Puerto Rico
- Higashiyama is a 50-room room Ritz-Carlton Reserve property in Niseko, Japan
- Mandapa is a 60-room Ritz-Carlton Reserve property in Bali, Indonesia
- Phulay Bay is a 54-room Ritz-Carlton Reserve property in Krabi, Thailand
- Zadun is a 115-room Ritz-Carlton Reserve property in Los Cabos, Mexico
Ritz-Carlton Reserve joins Marriott Bonvoy
While Ritz-Carlton Reserve belongs to Marriott, the brand hasn’t at all participated in Marriott Bonvoy up until now. That’s to say that you couldn’t earn or redeem points, or take advantage of elite perks, for stays at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties. That’s finally changing, and I’d consider that to be exciting.
As of today (April 14, 2022), Ritz-Carlton Reserve belongs to Marriott Bonvoy. Let’s go over the details of what you can expect.
Earn points at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties
Marriott Bonvoy members will earn points at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties at the same rate they would at other Marriott properties:
- Earn 10x points per dollar spent at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties
- Receive elite points bonuses of 10-75%, depending on your status
- If you’re paying with a Marriott co-branded credit card, you’ll earn bonus points for Marriott spending
Members will also earn one elite night for every night stayed, and those nights will also count toward lifetime status.
Redeem points at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties
It’s now also possible to redeem points for stays at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties. Marriott Bonvoy recently eliminated award charts, though we’re told to expect that Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties will cost 80,000 to 240,000 points per night at launch. For context, I’ve historically valued Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each.
Marriott Bonvoy’s fifth night free feature also applies at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties. Cash + Points bookings will also be possible, though I find that these typically aren’t a great value.
Elite benefits at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties
Marriott Bonvoy members can take advantage of select elite benefits at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties. Below is a chart showing what members can expect.
A few specific things to note:
- Not surprisingly, elite members don’t receive complimentary breakfast, just as is the case with Ritz-Carlton properties
- There’s not even any sort of a room upgrade perk for elite members
- It’s unique that Ambassador members receive a $150 resort credit at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties, as that’s the first time we’ve seen a perk like that
Where’s the value in Ritz-Carlton Reserve joining Marriott Bonvoy?
Seeing Ritz-Carlton Reserve join Marriott Bonvoy is exciting in general. I guess there are a couple of ways to look at it.
On the redemption side, I don’t think the value here will be that huge:
- I’d expect that award pricing will closely reflect paid rates, and there probably won’t be too much outsized value to be had
- At the same time, if you have a lot of points, this is an opportunity to redeem points at what are now Marriott Bonvoy’s most luxurious properties
- The fact that there’s no breakfast or room upgrades will take some value out of this for elite members
Personally I think this is more exciting on the points earning side:
- You’re going to get the best value by booking through the Marriott STARS program, offering perks like free breakfast, a $100 resort credit, a room upgrade, and more
- I view the Marriott Bonvoy points you can earn here as the equivalent of a discount in terms of how much a stay is costing you; for example, as a Bonvoy Titanium member paying with a co-branded credit card, I’d now earn 23x Bonvoy points per dollar spent, which is significant
- Then there’s the general value of being able to earn elite nights, spending toward Ambassador, etc., for Ritz-Carlton Reserve stays
Marriott Bonvoy has added Ritz-Carlton Reserve as a participating brand, which is exciting. This is without a doubt Marriott Bonvoy’s most luxurious brand, and these properties are incredible.
Just keep in mind that redemption rates at these properties are going to be high (reflecting the cost of a stay in cash), and elite benefits limited (there are no upgrades or free breakfast). I think the best value here is for those who were going to stay at Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties anyway, since you can now get rewarded significantly for these stays.
What do you make of Ritz-Carlton Reserve joining Marriott Bonvoy?