What works for Ritz-Carlton Travel Credit?

The $300 Ritz-Carlton travel credit is a valuable way to offset the cards hefty $450 annual fee. Every credit card’s travel credit is different so I thought I would outline in detail the Ritz’s travel credit and what worked for me.

As a reminder I recently signed up for the Ritz-Carlton Visa to get two free nights for the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay as part of my next trip. I even discovered how to get a third free night on the Ritz card which is an unadvertised offer. But beyond all of that, because I got it in the fall, I was in the position of needing to use the $300 travel credit as quickly as possible.  Meaning I pulled out all the stops to get those credits rushed through.

Ritz-Carlton Bali Pool
Ritz-Carlton Bali – $300 travel credit and 2 free nights here isn’t bad for a signup bonus!

Ritz-Carlton Travel Credit: What works?

Because of some work travel I was able to get quite the mish mash of charges to try and apply the travel credit to. Officially the Ritz travel credit only applies to the following items per the terms and conditions:

  • Airline lounge day pass
  • Towards a yearly lounge membership of your choice
  • Airline seat upgrades
  • Airline baggage fees
  • In-flight Internet/entertainment
  • In-flight meals.

Unofficially that can differ. I requested and received travel credits for the following items:

  • Gogo Wi-fi
  • American seat upgrades to Main Cabin Extra
  • Inflight purchases for drinks/food
  • Baggage fees
  • American Airlines $50 gift cards

Tips for using Ritz Travel Credit

  1. Bundle all your charges together: you need to ask Chase, via secure message or over the phone, to apply the travel credits to your charges. When you submit 15 charges for reimbursement a couple wayward $50 gift cards aren’t going to attract as much notice or questions.
  2. Label the charges: I sent a list of my transaction dates, amount, how transaction was coded, and what it was for. That way you’re telling them what the charges are and hopefully avoiding questions. Those AA gift cards? Make sure they’re in a $50 denomination so they can be labeled as “baggage fees” when you submit your request
  3. Prepurchase Gogo passes: if you’re still struggling to use your Ritz travel credit and are wary of using the gift card approach you can simply prepurchase Gogo wi-fi passes. Not only is it significantly cheaper ($16 all day AA pass here for example), but Chase can’t know whether you made that purchase in the air or not.
  4. Travel credit is by calendar year: This means I have $300 to use in 2017 and another $300 to use for 2018. That means $600 in travel credits plus the free nights for the $450 annual fee.

Using Ritz-Carlton Travel Credit: Bottom Line

It can seem a little daunting to use up $300 in airline travel credits. Especially if you have status and don’t need to pay for seat upgrades or baggage fees. But there are plenty of other ways to do so if needed. Prepurchasing Gogo passes and $50 American gift cards certainly did the trick for me!

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