Legally covering our hindside: We aren't going to BS you, TDWise provides these most excellent travel tips in hopes that you return the favor and use our referral links. We will get a kickback from the banks if you do so. We promise not to let this influence our advice in any way. See our Terms of Service for more legal ranting.

The Chase Ritz Carlton Rewards Card

Ritz Carlton Rewards Card Review for Military

Everything on this tray was delicious and included in First Class

Note: This card is no longer open to new applicants.  If you have a Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card for over a year you can product change to the Ritz. Read about the updated version here.

I’ve been putting off writing this post since there are so many benefits to this card and I haven’t been sure where to start.  But since I just used this card for an excellent first-class upgrade on United and took a nice promo pic, I suppose now is the time to buckle down and type.

Ritz Card Hand Feel

Let’s start with the basics.  This is the exclusive card offered for Ritz Carlton and Ritz did its ritzy thing by making it the heaviest card on the market (As of the new Bonvoy merger this card reverted to metalcore, a far cry from its once lavish hand feel.  In return for this blasphemy, it now comes with annual free nights, so, I guess I’ll let it slide).  By far.  It’s noticeably the heaviest card you can apply for and get without seven figures in the bank.  I can count the number of times it hasn’t been commented on by cashiers on one hand.  It’s solid metal, no laminate here. Its sign-up bonus is also 2 nights at any tier 1-4 Ritz (out of a 5 tier system) for $4k spend in three months.  A weekend at the Ritz for free? Count me in.

The Ritz Card came with one of the most lavish welcome packages.

Airline Incidental Reimbursement

The card is offered to John Q. Public for a lofty $450/year but once again, this doesn’t apply to active duty.  For that annual fee, you can immediately cut off $300 in airline incidental reimbursement.  This is my favorite feature of the card not because it pays me $300/year to own it, but unlike the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve, you have to call in to request your reimbursements.  That doesn’t sound like a great feature but it kind of is, at least for me.

All this for a credit card

Forced First-Class

See, with automated airline incidental reimbursements we all just find the loopholes and cash them out for gift certs or stash them away in the United travel bank (RIP Travel Bank), which is great for making more free travel.  But by making you call in your reimbursements it cuts out the loopholes and forces you to stick to the intended use of this reimbursement, which is incidentals.

This creates a need to cash in on luxury instead of straight airfare.  I have to get creative each year on each flight I take to make the most out my $300 on in-flight drinks, food, and most importantly, seat upgrades.  You will fly a lot more first-class with this perk than you would if you could just bank this money because it forces you to spend on upgrades if you want to make the most out of your yearly perk.  I promise you, a first-class seat on a 4-hour flight is worth every penny of the $159 United charges when the Ritz Card is footing the bill.

Ritzy Ritz Hotel Perks

The card also comes with Gold status at the Ritz for the first year, but you already have this from the Amex Plat.  It has a pathway to platinum status but you have to spend $75k in a year and that’s money better spent on other cards’ minimum spends.  The Ritz perks really shine with the 3 club level upgrades you get every year on paid stays up to 7 nights and the $100 room credit on those stays of 2 nights or more.  If you stay with Ritz a lot this card is worth more than the annual fee just in hotel perks.

No fuss on the front of this elegant hunk of metal.

Airfare Discounts

For the travel aspect, we get another priority pass along with a $100 airfare discount when 2-5 roundtrip tickets are booked through the visa infinite airfare portal.  And of course, global entry/TSA Precheck reimbursement and waived foreign transaction fees, because who doesn’t offer that these days?


All the coverages: baggage delay, lost luggage, primary auto rental, purchase protection, trip cancellation, and trip delay reimbursements.  This card does everything in a way only the Ritz can bring to the table.


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>