I’m sure most of you have heard about new and improved offer on Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa Infinite product. It’s a very strong sign-up bonus, and can be a good deal for many families, but there are caveats, as usual.
Here are the most important details of the offer:
Direct application link (might be added to my affiliate channel later on). Reportedly, this card is not subject to Chase 5/24 rule. Keep in mind that only Tiers 1-4 properties qualify when it comes to credit card sign-up bonus certificates.
According to “T&C”: “All E-Certificates will have an expiration of 12 months. E-Certificates may not be transferred, extended beyond the expiration date, or re-credited for points. E-Certificates may be used on separate stays or on the same stay.”
I didn’t see anything about “double occupancy” restriction, so that’s good. The $100 hotel credit benefit is only valid on paid stays of two nights or longer, so it will probably be useless to most normal families due to how expensive most Ritz-Carlton properties are.
Note that you will also receive 10,000 points after adding an authorized user. You’ll also get Ritz-Carlton Gold status which will entitle you to quite a few perks like guaranteed late checkout, complimentary room upgrade and few other rather meaningless benefits.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get free breakfast or lounge access on award stays at Ritz-Carlton properties. But… you WILL be entitled to those perks at most Marriott hotels due to reciprocal benefits! See Marriott Gold status overview here This was pointed out in View From The Wing blog and I found it quite interesting.
There is also a Priority Pass benefit, which can potentially save you some cash on food if you have a long airport layover. I don’t value it highly, but many do.
The $300 (x2) question
The $300 airline incidentals credit is based on calendar year. According to terms: “To request a statement credit to apply towards qualifying airline incidental purchase(s) made with your Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, you must contact J.P. Morgan Priority Services at the number on the back of your Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card within 4 billing cycles of the purchase date.
Only the following types of non-ticket purchases qualify for this offer: airline lounge day pass, or towards a yearly lounge membership of your choice; airline seat upgrades; airline baggage fees; in-flight Internet/entertainment; in-flight meals.”
Some report being able to use it on airline gift cards, but YMMV Personally, I wouldn’t count on it because you might be disappointed when things don’t go as planned and you are stuck with $450 annual fee. It looks like you’ll have to call and if asked what the charges are for, you might find yourself in a pickle. The ethical pickle, that is.
What should you do with points?
You can find Ritz-Carlton award chart and individual property listings here
If you factor in minimum spending, you’ll have at least 15,000 points after adding an authorized user, more if you use the card for dining and travel purchases. Spend another $5,000, and you will have enough for one night at Tier 1 PointSavers Reward property.
You can also take advantage of “cash+points” redemption. According to Ritz-Carlton website: “You can redeem rewards for a single or multiple-night stay at Ritz-Carlton® hotels worldwide—starting with as few as 15,000 points and $115 for a single night.”
I’m guessing they are referring to Tier 1 properties, where you’ll mostly be able to find availability during off-season. Obviously, $115 is a substantial amount in co-pay, but to me, makes more sense than putting an extra $5,000 on the card with hopes that your property will end up on PointSavers Reward list.
You can also redeem 10,000 points for 2,000 miles in many airline programs, including Southwest. That could be nice for someone who is trying to top off their account for Companion Pass. Overall, though, I consider this to be a “three free nights” bonus with a potential to get a fourth one at a discount.
Is the juice worth the squeeze?
So, should you bite? Maybe. Let’s assume that you will try to maximize the certificates and redeem them at Tier 4 property. Here are your choices:
Of course, all Ritz-Carlton properties are nice, so even Tier 1 hotel is likely to be super splendid. A lot of families will probably be interested in Kapalua property in Maui. I decided to check random dates in March, and availability on points appears to be decent.
Naturally, I’m assuming that certificates are valid as long as there is points availability (a big question mark). Rooms at this resort fit up to four, and property runs at $600+ per night:
If you have five or more in the family, you will not be able to use your certificates for a regular room. It is possible that the property will allow it as long as you use your own bedding, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Few things to keep in mind:
1) Even though your property is available today, it might not be by the time you receive your certificates.
2) I’ve seen some comments from readers who had a hard time redeeming these certificates in the past. Reportedly, they now book into rooms available via points, but I haven’t seen any definitive answer on this one.
3) Ritz-Carlton has a fairly small footprint, so if your plans change, you might have a hard time using certificates before expiration date.
4) While it may feel good to stay at a property that runs at $600 per night, would you ever pay that kind of money for a hotel? It could make sense to consider a condo instead. You’ll have more room, a kitchen and other amenities. Always check VRBO or AirBnB (my referral link, you’ll get $35 off your first rental) for alternatives.
5) The spending threshold of $5,000 in 3 months is quite high. Be careful so you don’t overspend just so you can get your “free” nights.
6) This offer is very compelling if you can actually use airline credit on gift cards or award ticket taxes. If you fail to utilize it for that purpose, then you just paid $450 for your three “free” nights.
Yes, companion airfare benefit could come in handy for some, but if you only fly once or twice per year, you’ll get a maximum of $200 out of it. And remember, it has to be paid airfare, where you are not using points. You would have to book your tickets via this link.
Should you consider Chase Fairmont Visa Signature instead?
Obviously, it will depend on where you are going. But let’s say you want to visit Maui and are not sure which offer to choose. The biggest argument in favor of Chase Fairmont Visa is the fact that the card will likely disappear in a near future.
It’s impossible to know for sure, but the chain was bought out by Accor group, so presumably, the Fairmont card is on life support as we speak. Ritz-Carlton and Chase just came out with their new offer, so I doubt it will disappear in a near future. You are eligible for either card as long as you didn’t receive the sign-up bonus within the last 24 months.
I wrote a post on Fairmont offer awhile back, and recommend you read it. It’s true, the bonus structure and benefits are very different from Ritz-Carlton card, so it’s probably the case of comparing apples to oranges. Fairmont offer only gives 2 nights, so unless you are staying in Maui for that short of a time, both spouses will have to get the card. You’ll each have to spend $3,000 in 3 months.
The biggest difference is that the first annual fee on Fairmont offer is waived, so no need to worry about utilizing airline incidentals credit in order to offset it. A very nice perk with Fairmont card is that it will give you Premier status allowing you to book a suite which will fit 5 people. You can also reserve it even before you have the certificates in your account, and one of my readers was able to do it without any issues.
In fact, you can join Fairmont program and do it even before you apply for the card in case your flights are already set. I don’t believe that’s possible with Ritz-Carlton, but I could be wrong. And no, Fairmont card doesn’t pay me either.
Of course, there is a third option. You can just wait for details on the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card before applying for either of these two offers. Boom.
Readers, who is considering Ritz-Carlton card? If you have any insights on this offer, please, chime in!
(Hat tip to this excellent post on Doctorofcredit)
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