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The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card Review

The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card Review

Rewards Rate
Earn 6X per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3X points for every $1 spent on dining, car rentals and airline purchases, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases.
Foreign Transaction Fee
None.
Additional Benefits
Annual travel credit worth up to $300, Free Night Award, and more.
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Who is the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card best for?

Chase stopped promoting the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card to new applicants in 2018, but there’s a workaround to get the luxury hotel card if you’re willing to play the long game. The card offers valuable benefits, such as an annual travel credit of up to $300 and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, but beware the $450 annual fee.

Put simply, to get the the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card, consumers must first open a Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card or Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, then request a product change. There are a couple additional boxes to check — whichever Marriott Bonvoy credit card you decide to start with, you must hold it for a full 12 months, and it should have a credit limit of at least $10,000 to be eligible for the upgrade.

Overview of the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card

    • 6X points for every $1 spent at over hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
    • 3 upgrades to the Ritz-Carlton Club Level each year
    • $300 annual travel credit
    • $100 hotel credit on paid stays of two nights or longer
    • Worldwide airport lounge access
    • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
    660 720 850
    Excellent/Good
  • Automatic Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • 15 Elite Night Credits every calendar year
  • Earn Platinum Elite status when you spend $75,000 on your card in an account year
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (primary coverage with up to $75,000 reimbursement)
  • Car rental privileges (enrollment required) with National, Avis and Silvercar
  • Roadside assistance
  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Baggage delay coverage
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage when more than 100 miles from home

Intro Purchase APR

N/A

Regular Purchase APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Intro BT APR

N/A

Regular BT APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Annual Fee

$450

Cash Advance Fee

$10 or 5% of value, whichever is greater

Foreign Transaction Fee

None

Balance Transfer Fee

$5 or 5% of value, whichever is greater

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Rewards on Marriott stays and more
  • Up to $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge access
  • Up to $100 hotel credit
  • Free Night Award
  • Global Entry application fee credit
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Great travel benefits

Cons

  • Requires a product change
  • High annual fee
  • No sign-up bonus

What we like about the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card

  • Rewards on Marriott stays, dining and more

    Earn 6X per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3X points for every $1 spent on dining, car rentals and airline purchases, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases.

  • Annual travel credit of up to $300

    Chase’s website notes that the travel credit can be used “for qualifying airline purchases such as baggage fees, seat upgrades and preferred lounge memberships or passes.” To apply the credit, first pay with your card, then call 1-855-896-2222. If you max out the $300 value of this credit each year, that effectively decreases the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card‘s annual fee from $450 to $150.

  • Priority Pass Select membership

    Access more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide, regardless of what airline you’re flying or ticket class you’ve purchased. Enrollment required for this complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.

  • Hotel credit of up to $100

    You can put this credit toward qualifying activities during paid stays of two nights or more at the Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis hotels when you use the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card for your reservation.

  • Free Night Award after account anniversary

    This can be redeemed for a one-night stay at a Marriott property worth 50,000 points or fewer.

  • Global Entry fee reimbursement

    Global Entry can help you move more swiftly through security at select airports. And when you charge the application fee (currently $100) to the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card, you can get a statement credit to reimburse the expense. Plus, TSA Precheck is included when you get Global Entry.

  • No foreign transaction fee

    The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card is an excellent choice to take when traveling abroad. You don’t have to worry about a foreign transaction fee being added to every purchase you make because there is none.

What to watch out for with the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card

  • You can't apply directly for this card

    Because Chase stopped promoting the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card in 2018, you can’t apply directly for this card. Rather, you must apply for one of the other Marriott Bonvoy cards Chase issues, hold that card for a full year, then request a product change to the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card.

    The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card offers substantial value, so Marriott loyalists might be willing to go through the effort it takes to get the card, but that won’t be the case for everyone.

  • The annual fee is high

    With a $450 annual fee, the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card is not for the occasional traveler.

    But if you travel enough to take advantage of the annual travel credit (which is worth up to $300 per year), and if you rely on Marriott’s more than 7,000 properties worldwide for your home away from home, the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card offers enough value to offset what you’ll pay for the annual fee.

  • There's no sign-up bonus

    While opening the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card or Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card does offer the opportunity to earn a sign-up bonus (assuming you meet eligibility requirements), you won’t earn a bonus when upgrading your Marriott Bonvoy card to the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card.

Alternate hotel card

Compare it to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

| Disclosures
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
N/A
19.49%-28.49% Variable
$650
Earn 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at
  • Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.
  • Each Card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
  • A Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite member will earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar or the currency equivalent that is incurred and paid for by the member.
  • 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.
  • Marriott Brilliant Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. Benefit options include: Five (5) Suite Night Awards, 85K Free Night Award, and mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.
  • $100 Luxury Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85) when you pay the application fee with an eligible Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • Enjoy unlimited airport lounge visits when you enroll in Priority Pass™ Select membership.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • Cell phone protection: You can be reimbursed for your costs to repair or replace your damaged or Stolen cell phone up to $800, subject to a $50 deductible, for 2 approved claims per 12-month period when your prior month's wireless bill was paid utilizing an Eligible Card Account. Terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
660 720 850
Excellent/Good

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

 

On the surface, the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card are very similar credit cards. The obvious difference is that the latter card is available to new applicants.

Cardholders with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® 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.

There’s also a welcome offer: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months.

Like the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card charges a hefty $650 annual fee, but comes with significant travel benefits that make it worthwhile.

For one thing, cardholders with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card can take advantage of up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide. You’ll also receive a Free Night Award (redeemable for a one-night stay at a property worth 50,000 points or fewer) every year after your renewal month. And, when you use your card to book a stay of two nights or more at the Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis hotels, enjoy a Marriott Bonvoy property credit of up to $100.

That’s not all. You’ll also get a Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required) which lets you access Priority Pass airport lounges regardless of which carrier or class you’re flying. In addition, get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and a fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Precheck.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about a foreign transaction fee, because there is none.

There are additional benefits with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, too:

  • 15 Elite Night Credits each year toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Premium Global Assist® Hotline when traveling more than 100 miles from home
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Baggage insurance plan
  • Trip delay insurance
  • Return protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Access to ticket presales and special events with American Express® Experiences
  • *Terms apply

So, what’s the point of getting the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card through a product change rather than just getting the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card? For one thing, the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card is a Visa, and Visa cards are more widely accepted in some countries than American Express cards.

For another, note that the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card restricts its elevated rewards rate on dining to U.S. purchases, while the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card does not. For the frequent international traveler, earning more rewards when dining abroad could be an important difference.

Lastly, for consumers who care about prestige, the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card is a Visa Infinite credit card, which is one step above Visa Signature. Visa Infinite cards are rare, and tend to come with high annual fees and premium benefits. Along with the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card, the noteworthy Visa Infinite cards available in the U.S. are the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the UBS Visa Infinite Credit Card.

To see rates and fees for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card please click here.

Compare the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card to similar cards

Comparison of four different credit cards
The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant<sup>®</sup> American Express<sup>®</sup> Card Chase Sapphire Reserve<sup>®</sup> The Platinum Card<sup>®</sup> from American Express
The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card Chase Sapphire Reserve® The Platinum Card® from American Express
Read Review
Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
Apply Now
on Chase's secure site
Apply Now
on American Express's secure site
Terms Apply
Rewards Rate
6X per $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3X points for every $1 spent on dining, car rentals and airline purchases, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases. 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. 5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards® 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply.
Welcome Offer
N/A Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months. Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
Annual Fee
$450 $650 $550 $695
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable 19.49%-28.49% Variable 20.74% - 27.74% Variable See Pay Over Time APR
Card Details
The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card Chase Sapphire Reserve® The Platinum Card® from American Express

Is the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card right for you?

The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card occupies a unique space in the credit card world. Frequent travelers who prefer to stay at properties under the Marriott umbrella will likely get enough value from this card each year to more than justify its steep $450 annual fee. But you have to be willing to put in the work and time to get the card. You must first get one of Chase’s other Marriott Bonvoy cards and hold it for a full year.

Before you rush to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card or Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, check your Chase 5/24 status first. Due to the unwritten Chase 5/24 rule, if you’ve been approved for five or more credit cards from any issuer in the past 24 months, Chase will deny your application.

Once you’ve been approved for the card of your choice and have held it for a year, you’ll need to make sure you have a credit limit of at least $10,000 (that requirement is in place because the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card is a Visa Infinite card). If your current card’s limit is lower than that, you can call Chase and request a credit limit increase, but know that this may generate a hard inquiry and can drop your credit score a few points.

With these boxes checked, you can call Chase and request an upgrade to the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card.

If all that sounds like too much time and hassle, Marriott devotees can enjoy similar rewards and benefits with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card — for an equally steep $650 annual fee.

To see rates and fees for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card please click here.
To see rates and fees for the Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.

The information related to the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards prior to publication.

The information related to the The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.