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The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Program Review

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Ritz-Carlton rewards program

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards: The basics

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points can be redeemed for several different travel rewards, including free hotel stays, gift certificates, upgrades and trip packages. The value of your points will vary by reward, but we recommend that you aim for 1 cent per point when possible.

Nerd note: This is on the very high end of redemption options, but it’s a good benchmark by which to measure your trips.

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards program has three Elite levels — Silver, Gold and Platinum. You’ll hit Silver status with 10 Elite nights or 1 meeting, Gold status with 50 Elite nights or 5 meetings, and Platinum status with 75 Elite nights or 8 meetings.

With the Silver Elite status, you’ll get 20% added value on points, complimentary Wi-Fi, priority late checkout, a dedicated guest services line, gift shop savings and more.

With the Gold Elite status, in addition to the Silver benefits, you’ll get 25% added value on points, complimentary room upgrades, hotel credits with the Ritz-Carlton® Rewards Credit Card and more.

With the Platinum Elite status, in addition to the Silver and Gold benefits, you’ll get 50% added value on points, arrival gifts of points or miles, 48-hour room guarantee and more.

Cards that earn Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points

Ritz-Carlton® Rewards Credit Card

  • 5X points at participating Ritz-Carlton hotels and partner hotels
  • 2X points on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, at car rental agencies and at restaurants
  • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else

How to get more Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points

Staying at Ritz-Carlton locations isn’t the only way to rack up rewards. Other points-earning strategies include:

  • Earn 2,500 points for each journey you book through Abercrombie & Kent that includes a stay at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
  • Earn 3 Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points (or 1 airline mile) for every dollar you spend on planning an event at a participating Ritz-Carlton property. Points are capped at 50,000 per event, and miles are capped at 15,000 per event. You can also reach Elite status by having a certain number of events or meetings.
  • Earn extra points on special offers — you’ll find various ways to get more rewards on the Latest News & Offers page.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points can be purchased in increments of 1,000 for $12.50, and you can purchase up to 50,000 per year. This means that points cost 1.25 cents each, which may or may not be worth it, depending on your trip. Overall, we estimate the value of Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points at 0.9 cents each, so keep that in mind before you buy points for your next stay.

How to redeem Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points

Good redemption options

The best way to redeem your Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points is likely for hotel stays. We estimate points at a value of 0.9 cents each overall, with domestic stays at 0.9 cents per point overall and international stays at 1 cent per point overall. Here’s the breakout of points values:

  • Domestic weekday stays: 0.9 cents per point
  • Domestic weekend stays: 0.9 cents per point
  • International weekday stays: 1 cent per point
  • International weekend stays: 1.1 cents per point

As you can see, your best redemption option is likely international weekend stays. That said, if you aren’t concerned with getting the best value out of your points, you can redeem for any stay you want.

You can get a better value out of your points with Seasonal Awards or the PointSavers program. Seasonal Awards will cost you fewer points than normal booking, and PointSavers will give you up to a 33% discount.

You’ll also get more out of your points if you redeem for a stay of five consecutive nights. You’ll get the fifth night free, so if you’re redeeming for a hotel stay that costs 30,000 points per night, five nights will cost 120,000 points instead of 150,000 points.

For stays of two nights or more, you can also redeem for both cash and points. The value of your points doesn’t vary from regular hotel stays when you use this redemption option. Here’s how it works: You pay cash for some nights and points for some nights. The points cost and cash cost are the same as regular redemption. As with free nights, you should aim to use points on domestic stays, particularly weekday stays, to get the most out of your points.

Bad redemption options

Not all redemption options are ideal. In particular, we don’t recommend that you redeem for Abercrombie & Kent travel certificates. Your points are worth only 0.45 cents each when redeemed this way.

Other redemption options

A few Ritz-Carlton Rewards redemption options aren’t as easily quantifiable as the others. For instance, you can upgrade your room for 5,000 points or you can redeem a certain number of points for travel packages.

When you redeem for travel packages, you’ll get seven nights at a hotel and a certain number of airline miles. The value will vary depending on factors including the category of your hotel, the dates of your trip or the airline you fly.

Nerd tip: If you choose to redeem for travel packages, it’s a good idea to calculate how much your points are worth if you want a good value. With Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points, you should aim for a points value of 1 cent or more if possible.

Transfer partners

Instead of earning points, you can opt to earn miles on over 30 frequent flier programs when you stay at Ritz-Carlton locations. You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent at participating Ritz-Carlton properties on one of these partner programs:

  • Aeroflot
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Air China
  • Air France/KLM
  • airberlin
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Alitalia
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Avianca-TACA
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Copa
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia Airlines
  • Japan Airlines
  • Jet Airways
  • JetBlue
  • LAN
  • Lufthansa (Miles & More)
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Saudia Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • US Airways
  • Varig Airlines
  • Virgin America
  • Virgin Atlantic

Fine print

Effective Feb. 1, 2016, Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points will expire if you don’t have qualifying activity from the past 24 months. This means that you need some sort of qualifying activity on or after Jan. 31, 2014 to keep your points once this policy goes into effect. Qualifying activities include paid or redeemed stays at participating hotels, redeeming points, earning points or holding a qualified event or meeting.

Methodology

The calculated value of these points is based on an estimated redemption rate, not a credit card rewards earn rate. Therefore, you may notice that these numbers don’t match the rewards rates on our credit card finder tool. Read on for how we estimated these points values.

We tested 10 popular cities — five domestic and five international — to determine the value of a Ritz-Carlton Rewards Point when redeemed for free nights:

  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York City
  • Washington, D.C.
  • San Francisco
  • Istanbul
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • Jakarta
  • Hong Kong

For domestic stays, points value ranged from 0.8 to 1.4 cents each for weekday stays, 0.8 to 1.3 cents each for weekend stays. For international stays, points value ranged from 0.4 to 1.4 cents each for weekday stays, and 0.6 cents to 1.4 cents each for weekend stays.

To determine the value of your points for specific hotel stays, divide the cash value of the hotel stay by the number of Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points required. So if a night at your hotel of choice would cost either $500 or 40,000 points, the math would be as follows:

$500 / 40,000 = 0.0125, or 1.25 cents per point

 

Last updated on October 9, 2015

Erin El Issa is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @Erin_Lindsay17 and on Google+.


Image via iStock.