HomeCredit CardsChase Credit CardsIs the Ritz-Carlton™ credit card going to make a surprising return

Is the Ritz-Carlton™ credit card going to make a surprising return

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The Ritz-Carlton™ credit card has been unavailable to new applicants for almost six years and a general rule says that no major credit card that has been removed from circulation reappears in a similar guise a few years down the line. But could the Ritz-Carlton™ credit card become the exception to that rule?

Despite being unavailable to new applicants, the Ritz-Carlton™ credit card it’s still a card that plays an active part in quite a few people’s wallets (mine included), and it’s still a card that someone can add to their portfolio if they know how, but it’s not a card that most people who are new to the miles and points game will know much about.

Two (relatively) recent changes to the card, however, have got me wondering if Chase is eyeing up a possible relaunch of this card in near future.

A bit of background

The Ritz-Carlton™ credit card was closed to new applicants in July 2018 just before the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs were merged, and my understanding at the time was that this had less to do with how successful the card was and more to do with Marriott’s agreements with both Chase and Amex following the merger with Starwood.

Before the merger, Chase had the rights to issue Marriott Rewards co-branded credit cards while Amex issued the now legendary Starwood Preferred Guest credit card and the business version of the SPG card.

In the lead up to the merger, Chase was given the rights to issue entry-level and mid-tier Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, while Amex was given the rights to issue mid-tier, upper-tier, and small business Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, and that’s how things have been ever since.

What’s changed

In truth, not a lot, so we’re currently still in a position where only American Express is allowed to issue anything resembling a truly premium Marriott co-branded credit card (the card_name) and where Chase can only issue entry-level and mid-tier cards. So with the Ritz-Carlton™ credit card charging a premium card’s annual fee ($450), it doesn’t look as if there’s much scope for its return.

Having said that, there are a few things that make me wonder if something else is on the horizon.

Consider these three points.

Point 1 – As far as I can tell, the current agreement between Marriott, Chase, and Amex dates back to 2017, so this year will see the 7th anniversary of that deal.

Point 2 – When Amex refreshed the card_name in September 2022 and boosted the value of the free night certificate that it offers, Chase followed suit and boosted the value of the free night certificate that the Ritz-Carlton™ credit card offers to match the certificate offered by the card_name.

Point 3 – Chase has now tinkered with the Ritz-Carlton™ credit card for a second time in 16 months, only this time it’s a physical change that we’re seeing being made to the card and not a change to the card’s benefits.

Chase is now sending cardholders new versions of the Ritz-Carlton™ credit card which looks very similar to the existing card, but which is noticeably heavier.  The card has gone from weighing ~0.35oz/10g to weighing ~0.56oz/16g (according to my kitchen scales) and that means that it now weighs as much as the card_name.

So why is Chase doing this? Why did Chase bother improving the card’s benefits in late 2022 and why is it now making the card heavier and, presumably, more expensive to produce?

If Chase had no real interest in the future of the Ritz-Carlton™ credit card, I don’t see why it would bother improving the free night certificate or why it would go to the expense of making it feel more like the premium cards that are still being issued today.

So is it possible that Chase still has plans for The Ritz-Carlton™ credit card?

Could it be that as we approach the 7th anniversary of Chase’s deal with Marriott, the bank is hoping to make a premium co-branded credit card one of its requests in any upcoming negotiations on a new deal with Marriott?

Clearly, this is purely speculation on my part as I have no idea when the current Marriott/Chase/Amex deal expires and when or if any new negotiations are planned, but if Chase was looking to get back into the premium Marriott credit card business, the Ritz-Carlton™ credit card would be a very good place to start.

What do you think? Will The Ritz-Carlton™ credit card make an unprecedented return or is Chase just trying to keep existing cardholders happy?

For Your Consideration

a black credit card with a white line and a chip

Currently, if you successful apply for the card_name (Amex's high-end premium Marriott credit card), you can bonus_miles_full.

(Annual fee annual_fees - rates & fees).

Select Benefit Highlights (terms apply & enrollment may be required):

  • Annual free night award worth up to 85,000 points
  • Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status
  • 25 elite night credits every year (limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy® member account).
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Up to $25/month in dining statement credits

Click for more details on the card_name

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, please visit rates & fees

Regarding Comments

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