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2015

Update 2/11/15:  The Ritz 140k Bonus offer now has expired.

 

Which is better?  The Marriott Premier Visa Card or the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card?  I decided to share my experience with both cards and create a comparison chart.  First I would like to thank jsucool76 for providing Marriott Insiders with news of the 140K sign up offer for the Ritz Carlton Rewards Card.  https://www.theritzcarltonrewardscard.com/offer140k

 

The Marriott Rewards Program and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program are essentially the same with the main difference being the type of hotel promotions you would receive.  After receiving confirmation from Marriott that I would not have to switch my rewards account to Ritz-Carlton in order to sign up for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card I decided to sign up to take advantage of the 140k Rewards Points Promotion.

 

After signing up I was surprised how quickly the Ritz-Carlton Rewards card arrived.  It was delivered by UPS in a box about the size of a book with very impressive packaging.  The card itself was much thicker and heavier than the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card.

 

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Below is my Comparison Chart of the two credit cards:

 

 

 

Marriott Premier Visa

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card

Annual Fee

$85.00

$395.00

Annual Perks

Category 5 Certificate

15 Elite Night Credits

$300 Annual Travel Credit

$100 Ritz Credit Hotel Credit

3 Ritz Upgrade Certificates

10% Annual Bonus Points on Purchases

Welcome Offer

50,000 Points after spending $1,000 in purchase the first 3 months.

 

Annual Fee waived 1st year.

140,000 Points after spending $3,000 in purchases the first 3 months.

 

Annual Fee billed first month.

Rewards Points & Credits for Purchases

5x Marriott, 2x Airline, Car, & Restaurants, 1x all other

 

1 Elite Night Credit for every $3,000 Spent in Purchases.

5x Marriott, 2x Airline, Car, & Restaurants, 1x all other

Airport Lounge Access

None

Lounge Club Membership

Elite Status

Automatic Silver Elite

Gold Elite- 1st Year

Gold Elite- 10k Purchases Each Year

Platinum Elite- 75k Purchases Each Year

Chip & Signature Feature

Yes

Yes

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Yes

Yes

Purchase Protect & Extend Warranty

Yes

Yes

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

Yes

Yes

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

Yes

Yes

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Yes

Yes

Emergency Medical/Dental Insurance

No

Yes

Emergency Roadside Assistance

No

Yes – up to $50 per incident 4x a Year, must be traveling over 50 miles from home

 

I have to admit if it wasn't for the 140k sign up offer I would not have been interested in the card as the Marriott Premier Visa offers most of the same benefits.  I had my eyes on one of Marriott's Travel Packages which includes a 7 night Stay at a hotel and airline Miles.  https://www.marriott.com/rewards/usepoints/morepack.mi

 

Marriott Travel Packages are an excellent use of Marriott Rewards Points.  I wanted to make use of the Category 8 Southwest Airlines Package which included 120,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points as this would allow me to also earn the Southwest Companion Pass good for the remainder of this calendar year and all of next year.  https://www.southwest.com/rapidrewards/tiers-more-companion-pass

 

As you can see from the comparison Chart the Ritz-Carlton Card comes with a hefty $395 annual fee which can be offset mostly by the $300 Annual Travel Credit which can be used for Airline Bag Fees, Seat Upgrades, Airport Lounge Fees, and Global Entry Fees.  Some card holders have reported they have purchased airline gift cards and had success claiming the gift cards as baggage fees.  The $100 Ritz Hotel Credit is good towards dining, spa, and recreational activities with paid stays of two nights or longer.  Warning...the three Ritz-Carlton Upgrade Certificates to Club Level is only valid when you pay the rack rate of the hotel.  Discounted rates and point stays can not be used in conjunction with the Upgrade Certificates.

 

The Marriott Premier Visa comes with an $85 annual Fee which is easily offset by the Annual Category 5 Certificate.  Also the cardholder receives 15 elite night credits each year towards renewing their status.  This is very helpful to Reward Members like myself who have not yet earned Lifetime Platinum status.

 

Now that I have reached the $3,000 spending requirement to earn the 140K points I'm going to give the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card a rest.  While the 10% Annual Bonus Points is an attractive benefit of the Ritz card the benefit of earning additional elite night credits for every $3,000 spent on the Marriott Rewards Premier Card is more beneficial to me until reaching Lifetime Platinum status.

 

Most likely after this first year I will cancel the Ritz-Carlton Card unless I can find real benefit from the airport lounge access and upgrade certificates which I have not used yet. If I do decide to cancel I would be eligible for another welcome offer for the same card after a 2 year period.  That in itself maybe a reason to cancel after one year.

 

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Update 3/1/16

 

After using the card for a year I decided it is a keeper and I renewed it.  I have no problem using the Annual $300 Airline Credit and also been enjoying having access to the airport lounges.  The car rental auto insurance is "primary" insurance which means if something happens I won't have to make a claim with my regular insurance company. There is also some piece of mind knowing that I have Trip Cancellation & Interruption insurance with the card.  I'm also getting a little closer to Lifetime Platinum (need about 100 nights)...once that happens I plan to move all of my current spending from the Marriott Premier Visa to the Ritz card to utilize the 10% annual bonus as I will then no longer need the elite night credits from the Premier Visa.