The Ritz-Carlton card offers a $300 annual travel credit, one of the highest out of all the major travel credit cards. But unlike other cards that automatically credit your account after you make a qualifying purchase, the The Ritz-Carlton travel credit requires a little bit of effort. Here’s how to redeem your travel credit for the Ritz-Carlton card and what you need to know.
You must call within 4 months of the purchase date
The first thing to make sure you don’t forget about is the time limit.
The official terms state:
“you must contact J.P. Morgan Priority Services at the number on the back of your Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card within 4 billing cycles of the purchase date.”
Four billing cycles (or four months) should be plenty of time for you to contact Chase — I generally try to call as soon as the purchases post to my account.
Purchases must fall within the “travel” category
In order to redeem, you first have to make sure that your purchase falls within the recognized travel category. Although Ritz-Carlton calls its statement credit a “travel credit,” it’s essentially an airline credit, since almost every eligible purchase must be airline related (besides the Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check credit).
What exactly falls within this “airline-related” category is not always 100% clear and the Ritz-Carlton credit card specialists (whom you’ll call in and speak with) are allowed to use their discretion when choosing to honor your requests. As the terms state: “we do reserve the right to determine which purchases qualify for statement credits.”
The official policy
The website states that the following will be reimbursed:
“Only the following types of non-ticket Net Purchases qualify for this offer: 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; Global Entry fees.”
Lounge expenses, luggage fees, and in-flight entertainment/wifi/meals are the straightforward categories that are pretty easy to determine and so you should have no issue with getting those reimbursed. It gets a little murky for other items, such as airline seat upgrades but they do provide you with some guidance.
Generally, the Ritz-Carlton specialists will reimburse you for expenses that make your travel easier or more convenient so long as the charges post as separate charges from your airfare. So for example, if you purchased Early Bird from Southwest as a separate charge from your airfare, they should have no problem reimbursing you for your charge. Early Bird allows you to obtain a form of priority boarding by allowing you to get seated before other customers, so it’s not really a seat upgrade but it still counts because of the convenience factor. The same usually applies with fees for selecting your seats on a plane.
J.P. Morgan is very clear that they will not reimburse you for airline gift cards, airfare, or even taxes and fees paid for award flights. Some have slipped through the cracks and received credits, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend counting on it to work. (And some airlines report level 3 data to Chase, so they can see what specific product your purchase was.)
Ultimately, whether or not you get reimbursed for certain items may come down to how the specialists interpret the charge and the closer to “upgrade” or “convenience” that they view the charge, the better your odds of getting reimbursed.
Getting the reimbursements
To actually get the reimbursement, call into the number on the back of your Ritz-Carlton credit card: 855-896-2222 (for U.S.). A live representative from J.P. Morgan Priority Services will pick-up and you just need to tell them that you’re trying to use your travel credit.
You should have your bank statement printed or pulled up on a device so that you can talk them through your charges but the representatives tend to be pretty competent so you likely don’t have too much to worry about.
If you think your reimbursements fall into the grey area, or suspect that the specialists might refute your attempt to get reimbursed, it’s probably a good idea to also have flight information on hand, as some have been questioned about those details in the past.
Every time I’ve called, I’ve never been questioned too hard about my charges and the representatives have taken my word for what some of those charges were for. However, I make an extra effort to sound confident and knowledgable about my charges so if you sound unsure about your requests, your requests may come under more scrutiny.
Once you verify the charges you want to get reimbursed, you should see the statement credit appear within 5 to 7 business days and then it should show up within 1-2 billing cycles, depending on when the reimbursement hits.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.