Since You Have to Choose, Should You Be a Marriott Rewards or Ritz-Carlton Member?


Since You Have to Choose, Should You Be a Marriott Rewards or Ritz-Carlton Member?

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

With especially rich offers for both the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card readers have been asking whether you can get a Ritz-Carlton card if you’re a Marriott Rewards member, and vice versa.

This is a topic I covered back in 2013.

Marriott acquired Ritz-Carlton in 1998, but the hotels had limited participation in the Marriott Rewards program: you could spend points for Ritz-Carlton stays, but that was it. Luxury chains have for the most part eschewed points, the belief was that they provide recognition not freebies and compete to offer the best luxury experience. However they launched the Ritz-Carlton program in the fall of 2010.

You are only supposed to have one account between the two programs. You are supposed to choose between Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Marriott Rewards. However,

  • The programs are almost identical. I will go into the differences.
  • You can switch back and forth between the programs without restriction. You just have to call and ask to have your account moved from Marriott to Ritz-Carlton or vice versa. And you can switch back later if you wish.
  • You don’t have to make the switch before signing up for a new credit card in the other program. I’d just give my current number in either program when getting the card

Aside from credit cards, the main difference between the programs is promotions. The Ritz program has run more free night promotions and double elite qualifying promotions, but those have required Ritz stays. If you stay at Ritz-Carltons frequently you’ll do better with the Ritz program’s specific promos.

Generally promotion rules require all existing accounts to have been a member of that program when the promotion was announced, so you can’t switch after promotion details are announced because you want to take advantage of that particular program (although new accounts can register for a promotion after that promotion is announced).

The new Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card is a Visa Infinite card.

In addition to Gold Elite status (which is honored at Marriott hotels, comes complimentary the first year and that you retain each year you spend $10,000 on the card); a $300 Airline Fee credit, $100 Global Entry credit, and unlimited use $100 Airline Ticket discounts when buying for 2 or more passengers; 3 complimentary upgrades to The Ritz-Carlton Club® Level each year valid on paid stays of up to seven nights; plus airport lounge access and a premium concierge.

The card gives you a signup bonus of 3 complimentary nights at any participating Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotel after $5,000 spend on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Here are some places you can spend those free nights. And here’s my full review of the card.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Credit: Ritz-Carlton

The Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers 80,000 points after spending $3000 within the first 3 months of cardmembership. There’s an additional 7500 bonus points when you add your first authorized user to the account and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening. Together that’s a bigger offer than I’ve ever seen before for the card.

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