How Does the Ritz-Carlton Card's $300 Annual Travel Credit Work?

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Back in August 2016, Chase made some significant enhancements to The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card which included an increased signup bonus, reissuing the card as a Visa Infinite card, and the addition to some stellar new benefits that make the card a fantastic addition to the wallet of any points and miles fan.

The value in a premium rewards card like the Ritz-Carton Card lies in the benefits and credits we can use to offset the higher than average annual fee of $450. One of the best benefits that can provide immediate value on the Ritz-Carlton Card is the $300 annual travel credit.

While the definitions of which travel purchases will credit are not as generous as the Citi Prestige® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, it’s still the highest travel or airline credit offered on any co-branded credit card.

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

  • Two complimentary nights at any participating Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotel after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • 10,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • A $300 annual travel credit to use for baggage fees, seat upgrades, access to your preferred airport lounge and more.
  • A $100 hotel credit toward dining, spa or other hotel recreational activities on paid stays of two nights or longer.
  • Three Club Level Upgrades. Upgrade to The Ritz-Carlton Club® level three times annually on paid stays of up to 7 nights.
  • A complimentary annual Priority Pass™ Select membership with access to over 900 VIP airport lounges in over 400 cities worldwide (~$399 retail value).
  • Complimentary Ritz Gold Elite status for your first account year. Spend $10,000 your first year and each subsequent year to maintain Gold Elite status.
  • A $100 statement credit when you use your card to pay a Global Entry application fee. You'll also be eligible to receive TSA Pre ✓® privileges if you are approved.
  • Primary auto rental insurance, trip delay/cancellation/interruption insurance, and many other travel protection benefits.
  • $450 annual fee

What Will Chase Credit as a Travel Purchase?

The travel credit on the Ritz-Carlton Card is one of the more restrictive travel credits of the cards we have reviewed, applying only to non-ticket airline purchases and lounge passes and memberships.

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Chase classes qualifying purchases as:

  • Airline lounge passes
  • Baggage fees
  • In-flight entertainment & Wi-Fi
  • In-flight meals
  • Seat upgrades

Unlike the Sapphire Reserve, airfare will not credit as travel, nor will other travel purchases such as Uber or hotels. Two paragraphs stand out when reading the terms and conditions.

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. Purchases are when you, or an authorized user, use a card to make purchases of products and services, minus returns or refunds.


We do not determine whether merchants correctly identify and bill transactions as being of a certain type. However, we do reserve the right to determine which purchases qualify for statement credits.

The first is pretty straightforward, clarifying what cardholders can claim as credits on the Ritz-Carlton Card. The second is more interesting, noting that there will be someone assessing each claim to determine whether it falls within the prescribed categories.

This could go either way. It leaves wiggle room for articulate cardmembers to argue their case when they put forward a claim, however, also makes it harder to claim borderline purchases that may slip through in an automated system.

With data points stretching back to the cards reissue in August 2016, we've seen plenty of variance in what has been allowed through and received a credit. The general rule appears to be that unless the purchase is undeniably within what Chase considers a qualifying purchase, smaller transactions are more likely to be approved.

Will Travel Purchases Credit Automatically?

No, travel purchases on your Ritz-Carlton Card do not credit automatically. Cardmembers must contact the number on the back of your card and inform the representative that you want to use your travel credit. It pays to have your card statement handy, either printed or on an available device so you can easily discuss the charges.

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.

Qualifying purchases made by authorized users on your account are eligible for statement credits; however, only the obligor on the account, not authorized users, may request statement credits.

You can also request a credit through the secure messaging system on Chase’s website.

Claim the Ritz-Carlton Annual Travel Credit Twice in the First Year of Cardmembership

The Ritz-Carlton Card’s $300 travel credit resets every calendar year January 1 – December 31, so depending on the time of year you apply for the card you could receive the annual travel credit twice in the first year before having to pay the second annual fee. That is a potential $600 in value just from one benefit and more than offsets the $450 annual fee.

Maximum statement credit accumulation for this offer is $300 per calendar year. Annual credit will be issued for the calendar year in which the transaction posts to your account. For example, if you pay baggage fees at the end of 2015, and the airline does not post the transaction until 2016, the cost of the baggage fees will be allocated towards your 2016 calendar year maximum of $300

Timing is definitely something that potential cardmembers should take into consideration before applying for a premium card like the Ritz-Carlton Card, what will be the best time of year to apply for the card to maximize its benefits.

Final Thoughts

In our recent post covering the best credit cards with travel and airline credits,  The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card was one of our feature cards, counting among its many benefits the $300 travel credit which can be used to pay for airline incidentals, lounge passes, fees, meals, and even lounge access.

While it has some restrictions, it is also one of the highest travel credits offered on any rewards earning credit card and, when used to its fullest potential, can add hundreds of dollars in value to the Ritz-Carlton Card.

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