Yesterday, I posted the news about the revival of a fabulous Chase Ritz-Carlton 140,000-point bonus offer. This offer used to be available for a long time before it died back in October 2014. There was also another Chase Ritz-Carlton offer with a 70,000 point bonus and no annual fee for the first year, but that one remains dead for now.
I did a write up on the 70,000-point, no annual fee offer, arguing (although with whom, LOL?) that the Chase Ritz Carlton credit card might be the best reward credit card ever!
I don’t think I have ever reviewed a credit card with so many great features–yet that would have so little to do with the product it promotes. Because very few things about this card make it Ritz-Carlton specific.
George from TBB suggested in the comments that I compare the Ritz Carlton and Marriott Rewards programs. I don’t think it makes a lot of sense, because the Ritz-Carlton is just the top layer of the Marriott program. It is to Marriott what Waldorf Astoria is to Hilton, and–to a lesser extent–what InterContinental is to IHG. The uniqueness of the Ritz Carlton program is that it has its own credit card, which is, however, deeply integrated with the Marriott program itself.
So, what can you do with the Chase Ritz-Carlton 140,000-point bonus and other benefits of this unique card? Well, the Ritz Carlton points are also Marriott points (and vice versa) and the Ritz Carlton Gold benefits for the first year that you get with the card are also reciprocal with Marriott.
1. If you are into luxury, you could treat the bonus just like the Citi Hilton Reserve bonus (2 weekend nights anywhere), Chase Fairlmont bonus (2 nights anywhere in a suite with breakfast and credit), or Chase Hyatt bonus (2 nights anywhere). Only in case of the Ritz Carlton card you can choose between two nights at the top RC or three nights at the top JW Marriott.
Or you could stay 3 nights at a suite in the Cat. 9 Cove Atlantis on the Paradise Island, Bahamas. The Cove Atlantis is so fancy–they won’t even let your kids anywhere near that sanctuary. Leave them at the gates. 🙂
2. If you are content staying at a Cat. 7 Marriott, your 140,000-point bonus will buy you a five-night stay. Although, their best properties have “migrated” into Categories 8 and 9 in the last two years.
3. You can get some extra miles while staying at one of the good-to-great resort, get two RC cards (or whatever combination of RC and Marriott cards) with Marriott Hotel + Air Package.
Category 8 appears to be an exceptionally sweet spot for that purpose. You can get a 1-week vacation in some fantastic destinations (Rio, Paris, HK, Tokyo, Sydney) and get 55,000 United miles at an exceptionally good ratio. If you just booked a week at the JW Marriott in Rio, for example, you would spend 240,000 points (with the fifth night free). If you book fly-and-stay, it’s like you are paying 50,000 RC points for 55,000 United miles. Which is a phenomenal value, I’d say.
4. If you do stay at Ritz Carlton, then you get upgraded to the Club Level three times annually. Ritz-Carlton club lounges are not your run-of-the mill hotel lounges. They offer gourmet food and beverages for 18 hours a day. Unfortunately, the upgrades are only available on paid stays. And there is a $100 credit, too, for stays of two days or longer.
5. Free airport lounge access is available with the Lounge Club. Many folks scoff at this benefit, because the Prioirty Pass that comes with the American Express Platinum card has twice as many lounges. However, unlike the Amex Play Priority Pass, the Lounge Club gives you access for two people. So, it’s a trade off.
6. Back in November, Chase killed the Marriott’s 70,000-point, leaving only the 50,000-point offer intact. However, they also left a backdoor for the 70,000-point offer for the elite members. If you are not an elite, the Ritz Carlton card should supposedly get Marriott recognize your Ritz Carlton status. This is untested, however, so not 100%.
7. This card has the most amazing Visa Signature benefits I’ve ever seen. Some of them are unique, and others are better including those offered by other issuers (there are two exceptions from what I can see). Read my post that talks about those other benefits in details. Just Got My New Chase Ritz Carlton Card–Is It the Best Reward Card Ever?
What are the exceptions?
- The Ritz Carlton card offers free assistance “if you are driving at least 50 miles away from home”. The American Express Platinum card offers this assistance wherever you drive.
- The Citi Price Rewind benefit (where they automatically give you credit if they find a lower price) surely sounds interesting, in theory, at least.
And then, of course, there is a crown jewel of this card: the annual $300 airline fee credit.
Please don’t tell me it’s not easy to cash out. It is! And the American Express Platinum card makes you jump through the hoops, as well. So… jump and don’t complain. You are turning a decent cash profit! If you subtract the $395 annual fee out of $600, this is what Chase is paying you just for the privilege of placing this fantastic card with awesome benefits into your wallet.
Gee, this is one of these moments when I regret my decision not to chase credit card affiliate commissions. Because I could write a poem–well, forget poems–a song about this card (LOL) and still stay true to myself. If only all other credit cards were just like this one, how great would that be?
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