One of the cards you probably haven’t heard about in a while is the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card, and there’s a reason for that: the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card closed to new applicants in July 2018. However, Chase still allows cardholders of Marriott-branded personal credit cards to do a product change to the Ritz-Carlton, as long as you’ve had the card for at least 12 months.
If you’re considering doing a product change, there are a lot of factors to consider. One of the marquee benefits of the Ritz-Carlton Credit Card is a $300 per calendar year airline travel credit. As card issuers are tightening policies on how airline fee credits can be used, it’s helpful to know how easy it is to use valuable benefits like these, so I wanted to share my recent experience in using this card’s credit.
The first thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t an automatic reimbursement. You need to call Chase to manually request the credit. That makes this credit harder to use than the $300 per year travel credit that’s automatically processed for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. But, as you’ll see below, it’s a pretty easy process for the Ritz-Carlton Card.
Which expenses should get reimbursed
The full terms of the travel credit are found here. In the terms, Chase specifically states that only the following types of non-ticket purchases qualify for this credit:
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
If you have an authorized user, their purchases are specifically included in the terms. However, only the primary cardholder can call to request the statement credit. Once approved, the statement credit “will post to your account within 5-7 business days.”
The terms explicitly state “you must contact J.P. Morgan Priority Services at the number on the back of your Ritz-Carlton Credit Card within 4 billing cycles of the purchase date,” so make sure that you don’t wait too long to call to request reimbursement.
Finally, the credit will only be issued “for the calendar year in which the transaction posts to your account.” So, a checked bag fee charged right before New Year’s won’t end up counting toward this year’s statement credit if it posts in the next year.
My call to request reimbursement
As directed in the terms and conditions, I called the number on the back of my card. Unlike other card issuers, I didn’t have to jump through minutes worth of automated systems to get a representative. Instead, within seconds of me dialing the number, a friendly representative picked up.
The representative confirmed that I hadn’t used any of my $300 airline fee credit to date. Then, he asked me which transactions I needed to be reimbursed. Before the call, I’d flagged seven transactions that were reimbursable and gave him the date and amount for each.
He read back the transactions, confirmed that he didn’t see any others that were reimbursable and confirmed that I’d be getting a credit for $181.34. He also noted that I’d still have $118.66 of credits left for 2019.
After sincerely thanking me for being a cardholder, he disconnected. The entire call took less than six minutes.
My message to request reimbursement
After originally publishing this piece, a number of TPG readers commented below mentioning that cardholders can send a private message to Chase to request reimbursement instead of calling. So, when I needed to request another round of reimbursements, I tried this method and it was perhaps even quicker.
For those that are unfamiliar with how to send a private message, let’s go through the steps. First, log into your Chase account. Then click on the three lines in the top left corner of the dashboard:
Under Connect with Chase, select the Secure Messages option. Select Compose Message. Under Credit Cards & Products, I selected Rewards Inquiry and clicked “go.” You’ll want to select your account and then under the topic options, select Other Rewards Program Inquiry and type a message with the expenses you’d like to request reimbursement for.
My message was short and quick:
I’d like to request my travel credit be applied to the Wi-Fi purchases I’ve made recently: $49.95 Gogo on 10/19 and $18.80 T-Mobile on 10/22. Thanks!
The next morning, I received a message that my request had been processed:
What got reimbursed
Let’s go through the seven transactions that I was able to get reimbursed:
- $18.80 inflight Wi-Fi purchase during a Japan Airlines flight review
- $49.95 Gogo monthly subscription
- $5 headphone purchase as part of a Delta flight review
- $15 priority boarding fee as part of a Delta flight review
- $30 checked baggage fee during a Delta flight review
- $9 inflight food purchase on Delta
- $24 inflight food and drink purchase during a Sun Country flight review
- $16.77 inflight food and drink purchase during a French Bee flight review
- $60 checked baggage fee as part of a British Airways flight review
- $31.67 inflight Wi-Fi purchase during a British Airways flight review
- $19.95 inflight Wi-Fi purchase during a Cathay Pacific first class experience review
- $19.95 inflight Wi-Fi purchase during a Cathay Pacific incredible deal flight
All of those expenses fall under covered reimbursable expenses, although the Gogo monthly subscription is in a bit of a grey area.
In 2018, I got especially lucky with my travel credit reimbursement. I called on Dec. 26 to request a reimbursement for the fees I’d racked up since signing up for the card in July. Unfortunately, I hadn’t done a very good job of charging expenses to this card to take advantage of this credits. From the date of opening this card until my call, I’d spent:
- $116 on in-flight Wi-Fi purchases
- $105 on airline award taxes and fees
- $1,110 on airfare for a Japan Airlines premium economy review
- $1,715 on hotels
- $1,035 on other purchases
Based on the Ritz-Carlton Card’s terms, I should have only gotten the $116 of Wi-Fi purchases reimbursed, but I was hopeful to also get the $105 in award taxes reimbursed.
After putting me on hold to look into the situation, the rep came back to say that I’d spent at least $300 in eligible purchases and authorized the full $300 credit to my account. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I thanked her and ended the call. It was not clear which charges specifically were considered eligible. The Wi-Fi purchases and award taxes and fees would not have been enough to reach $300, meaning that at least some airfare, hotels or other non-travel purchases were included. With that said, I wouldn’t count on getting these types of expenses reimbursed.
Featured image of Ritz Carlton Cancún courtesy of the hotel.
is a digital nomad who travels full-time while covering American Airlines (Executive Platinum), IHG (Spire Ambassador) and anything points & miles. He’s flown 60 airlines and more than 760k miles since 2017.