The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card: Visa Enters the Luxury Market

When one things of high class and unparalleled elegance in hotel stays, they almost immediately and universally think of the Ritz-Carlton hotel brand. The company is one of the most established luxury hotels in the world, and has a reputation for excellence that is the envy of the hospitality industry. Now, in combination with Visa and JPMorgan Chase, the high-end hotel chain is expanding that reputation into credit card services.

The First High-End Visa Card

The high-end luxury credit card niche is generally filled by American Express, which counts most of the world’s biggest spenders among its clients. However, Visa has recently dedicated itself to making this market competitive, and they’ve partnered with Ritz-Carlton to create their first high-end credit card.

Like many American Express credit cards, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards credit card comes with a lofty annual fee. Those approved for the credit account can expect to pay $359 up front just for the privilege of accessing Visa’s high-end customer services. However, that annual fee goes toward some great benefits that will work in the favor of those who frequently stay at Ritz-Carlton locations or shop with the company’s exclusive list of travel and airline partners.

In addition to the $359 annual fee for the card’s high-rolling customers, those approved for this elite credit card can expect to pay an interest rate of prime plus 11.59%. That makes the card extremely competitive in the high-end market and might convince a lot of people to dump their American Express cards for this attractive Visa offering.

Rewards Points

Ritz-Carlton is promoting its new luxury Visa card by offering newly approved members a 50,000 point bonus when they activate their new card, which is a great way to get started with this enviable reward program. After the initial credit of bonus points, customers can earn 5 points for every $1 spent on a hotel reservation or other hotel service offered by the Ritz-Carlton.

Additionally, the hotel chain has partnered with travel planning company Abecrombie & Kent, giving users 2 points for every $1 they spend on a trip that includes a hotel stay. More than 20 airlines are also part of this promotion, offering 2 rewards points for every $1 spent on airfare to any destination. And finally, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card will allow customers to earn another 50,000 rewards points simply by booking an event at one of their many hotels around the world.

Elite Benefit Levels

Rewards card users who stay at the Ritz-Carlton frequently will be able to use their accrued number of stays, and their rewards points, to move into tiered brackets of increasing benefits. The company’s silver, gold, and platinum benefit levels each have an increasing number of perks for frequent guests.

At the silver level, which requires 10 nights or 1 business meeting at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, customers get special offers that can only be redeemed by elite guests, as well as a personal reservation hotline and a dedicated guest services line. Silver members can also enjoy priority late checkout and exclusive savings in the hotel’s gift shop.

Gold members get all of the benefits offered to silver users; they also enjoy the luxury of complimentary room upgrades, complimentary in-room broadband internet access, and a 25 percent bonus on their existing pool of reward points that they’ve earned via their many hotel stays. Silver members are automatically upgraded to gold status when they have booked 50 hotel stays or 5 business meetings at any combination of locations.

Finally, Ritz-Carlton’s highest level of benefits is the platinum level. These customers can expect all the great benefits of silver and gold status, as well as 48-hour priority room reservations that will bump them to the top of any waiting list. Additionally, they can expect a 50 percent bonus on their rewards points just for getting bumped up to this elite class of customer. They’ll need 75 stays at a Ritz-Carlton location, or 8 business meetings, in order to advance to this highest level of service and benefits.


The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card is a strong luxury credit offering from Visa, and its points system as well as its elite benefits levels ensure that frequent customers will make the $359 annual fee work for them. Frequent business travelers and luxury vacationers should apply sooner rather than later, and take advantage of 50,000 bonus points.

We recommend the Marriott Rewards Card.