1. As someone who just went through this, let me offer a bit of clarification on the club level upgrades and $100 hotel credit.

    As with most things, both benefits have fine print, and both say that they can’t be used in combination with any other offer. So, if you have a negotiated rate (e.g. for a conference or a wedding, etc.) you can’t use either the club level upgrade or the $100 in combination with that group rate. It *does* say “not in combination” in the fine print, but that’s a bit of a bummer.

    However, what the fine print does *not* say is that the club level upgrades can’t be applied to just *any* non-discounted rate … they have their own rate. That’s a bit confusing, so here’s an example: Say you look online and see that the non-discounted rate for the dates you want is $420/night (don’t laugh). When you call the number to use the upgrade, you may be told that you can’t use the club level upgrade with that rate — instead, you have to pay a different (often higher) rate in order to use the club upgrade. IMHO that’s a bit of a bait-and-switch … if I have to pay more to use the upgrade, then it isn’t really “complimentary” is it?

    It’s still a great card for the other benefits, and the reservations rep was completely sympathetic and professional while telling me I was out of luck. Just consider this a data point: Don’t get your hopes up for cashing in on these two benefits if you’re paying anything other than the rack rate.

    • Ed
      Great post !!! I like WHO has been there thing…. @ Radisson Bu Disney Paris today PERFECT for golfers … Food BK 20E + drink , Brunch 40+drink but very NICE but doesn’t look like photos on their website . I’LL forget the free hotel and will stay in Paris 45 mins away .But then free is free (shuttle) and close to Disney (10 mins) is close to Disney ..

  2. 140K points are nice but is there ANY availability for rewards stays at a Ritz? I looked at three locations and did not see any.

  3. If you want the Marriott points, don’t forget the regular Marriott card which has, I think, a 70k signup bonus…

  4. A couple additional things to consider is that if you have a significant other. If you each sign up for the 140k offer, you’d have enough Marriott points using the combine points feature (280k+) to use one of the Hotel+Air packages: http://www.marriott.com/rewards/usepoints/morepack.mi

    These packages could be another way to get the SW companion pass if SW doesn’t offer their 50k bonuses again in the future. Or you can get up to 132k United miles and 7 free nights in a cat 1-5 hotel.

  5. Ed,

    I received the same push-back when trying to use the club level upgrade. But I argued that this was not part of the terms and conditions of the offer so they had no basis to deny me the club level upgrade on my room purchased at the best available rate. Had to escalate the call to a manager, but convinced them that they needed to honor the published terms and couldn’t enforce unpublished terms.

    As for whether to go for 70k or 140k, wife and I went for 140k for just the reason mentioned by Aurelien above. While I normally value MR/Ritz pts at 0.5 cpp, the points will now be worth around 2 cpp with the travel package. And that number would be higher if used for SW companion pass or used for premium air travel (I typically fly economy so value miles around 1.5-1.8 cpm).

    • @Isaac,
      Yeah, had I actually been paying best available, I would have. As it was, I had a significantly lower conference rate and … since it does say “not in combination” … I really wasn’t justified in being upset about it. Had I been, then yes, I’d have pushed back.

      Check out Marriott’s page for travel packages. It’s pretty self-explanatory: http://www.marriott.com/rewards/usepoints/morepack.mi

  6. just used Club level certs for 7 night @ Ritz Cancun..published lowest rate was $229…my rate was $299…but lowest published Club level rate was $529…so I still saved $230 a night x 7 = $1,610 in savings on this trip alone! (if I were to purchase Club level room at best rate on website)…and I know my wife and I will easily drink plenty-o-drink in the club, and grub as well. Nice to be upgraded to Gold Elite status as well for early and late check out, and things like that…not to mention the 140k points I received..$100 credit for 2 night stay, and $300 calendar year airline reimbursement…for me the card is AMAZING!

  7. So I’m interested in the card as I’ll be moving from Italy back to the USA. I’m going to be bring a lot of extra baggage so can I use this card to put the extra baggage fees incurred by Emirates even though I don’t use this card to purchase my airline ticket? Or you only get the $300 incidental fees if you pay the ticket with your card? Thanks for this article, great as usual!


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