First thing first: the presentation is beautiful!
And the card? The card is heavy as you won’t believe it. Hit someone on the head with this thing, and I guarantee they will feel it. So don’t. 🙂 It’s heavier than the Sapphire Preferred, which is also metal, but it doesn’t hold a candle to this card weight-wise. The Ritz Carlton really feels good in your hand!
But enough with all this geekish nonsense. A few days ago, I posted that the Ritz Carlton Reward card (well this version of it) is probably the best, yet the most underrated credit card on the market. Let’s recap why:
- 70,000-points bonus, and the points work for Marriott, too;
- Gold Status for the first year and reciprocal elite benefits for Marriott;
- Low spend: $2,000/3mths;
- Complimentary airport lounge access for you and the guest;
- The $300 annual credit for airline incidentals including Global Entree (raised from $200) per calendar year!!!
And if you use the code F53K on the phone (and only on the phone) you will have all the above with no annual fee for the first year.
Now that I’ve received the card, there are a couple of the benefits that I didn’t know about. These are not mind-blowing benefits, but they just add to the general awesomeness of this product. Sure, it has trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, extended warranty and other benefits we take for granted, but it has some other goodies that stand out, too.
Primary Rental Coverage
Yes, Chase Sapphire Preferred has it too, now (or it will; I’m not sure if it has come into effect yet), but this is still a great and rare benefit, no matter how you look at it.
Free Road Side Assistance
You get up to four “events” covered up to $50 each during the year, including towing, fuel delivery or flat tire fix if you are driving at least 50 miles away from home. Note, that the AMEX Platinum card also comes with this benefit (and it gives this to you wherever you’re driving). Still, an awesome benefit if you drive away from home every now and then.
This is not an uncommon Visa Signature benefit, although it doesn’t come with every VIsa Signature card. What’s very different, however, is that it protects your purchase against damage or theft for 120 days vs. 90 days for a typical Visa Signature card. Besides, it covers up to $10,000 per claim (!!!) vs. your typical Visa Signature $500 limit.
Price protection is not a common Visa Signature benefit at all. From what I remember, the Citi ThankYou cards have something like that. The Ritz Carlton Rewards card will reimburse you up to $500 per item (vs. more “industry common” $250), and up to $2,500 per year, if you find a cheaper advertisement for the same product you’ve purchased within 90 days. I’m sure that many folks in our hobby who resell stuff on Ebay and Amazon could turn this card into a moneymaker even with the annual fee.
Emergency Medical and Dental Benefit and Emergency Evacuation and Transportation
You are covered up to $2,500 (and up to $100,000 in case of the Emergency Evacuation) if you or an immediate family member becomes sick or injured. Now, $2,500 might seem a little low, but it will cover most not too serious accidents and sicknesses just fine. And another thing, I haven’t found the dreadful words pre-existing conditions in the T&C, although I have only scanned it, so I need to read more carefully to be sure.
Now, this is such a rare benefit that I can’t name another credit card that offers this coverage off the top of my head. The AMEX Platinum does not. Please tell me if you know any other credit cards that do that.
Note how I haven’t even begun listing purely Ritz Carlton benefits! Those are great too, as long as you are interested in paid stays at the Ritz Carlton. Here are some highlights:
- Earn 5 Ritz-Carlton Rewards points per $1 spent at The Ritz-Carlton hotels.
- Upgrade to The Ritz-Carlton Club® Level three times annually on stays of up to seven nights.
- Extra Hotel Experience with each two-night stay or longer at a Ritz-Carlton hotel. Celebrate with a $100 Hotel Credit to be used toward your choice of dining, spa or other hotel recreational activities when reserving this offer.
And if any new people who don’t know me better think for a moment that I’m getting paid for this glowing review, I have only one thing to tell you: I wish! 🙂 Get this card while you can and don’t forget the code F53K. Seriously, do it now if you qualify. Check this FT thread for more details.
So, paraphrasing Stephen Colbert: best hotel credit card or best credit card ever? What do you think?
Be on the lookout for my new Manufactured Spend posts, and also my newsletters explaining a thing or two are going out over the weekend. Please make sure they don’t go into your spam folder.
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