Posted by William Charles on December 18, 2014
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Published on December 18th, 2014 | by William Charles

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What Triggers The Ritz-Carlton $300 Annual Travel Credit?

In case you didn’t know the Chase Ritz-Carlton Card is now offering a 140,000 point sign up bonus after you spend $3,000 within three months of account opening (the bonus is usually 70,000 points but has gone up to 140,000 before. It also sometimes has 70,000 points with no annual fee). Whilst this card has a great sign up bonus, the annual fee is unfortunately $395 per year and isn’t waived for the first year.

One of the perks of this card is a $300 annual travel credit, which you can get per calendar year. This means that if you can get your card in time you’ll be able to get at least $600 in travel credits (once this year and once next year) and only pay the annual fee once. You might actually be able to get a third year, most card issuers will refund the annual fee if you cancel within a set period of time – but this is a potentially risky strategy so I’m personally not going to risk it.

How To Get The Statement Credit

To reimbursed for your travel expenses you have to call J.P. Morgan Priority Services (number on the back of your card currently 1-855-896-2222 ) within 4 billing cycles of making your purchase. This credit does not automatically apply, you must call and ask for it! If your purchases qualify then your statement credit will post within 5-7 business days and show up on your credit card statement within 1-2 billing cycles. You can also send a secured message rather than calling.

Here is how I plan on asking for my reimbursements (please customize yours a little, carbon copy letters rarely do well in these situations). I’ll be sending mine in through Chase secured message, but calling will also work.

Hello, I have a charge of <enter amount here> from <airline> that was charged on <date>. I would like this reimbursed as part of my Ritz Carlton $300 annual credit. Thank you in advance for handling this. <your name>

I always find that being polite, to the point with all the necessary information is the easiest way to get a response in your favor.

What Qualifies

A lot of people have been asking me what triggers this travel credit, can you just buy gift cards? Does it have to be flights? What about baggage fees. I thought I’d do some digging and find out the answers to these questions. This is what the fine print specifically states counts:

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.

These purchases can be made by either yourself or an authorized user, it doesn’t matter. I haven’t included any of the above listed things in our columns below, as we know they should code correctly and qualify for reimbursement.

Things That Trigger DO Trigger The Credit

Below is a list of things which people have been successfully reimbursed for before. Remember that technically only the things listed above are eligible and Chase has the ability to decline your claim. It might be a good idea to click the numbers to see how old these data points are.

Try to keep your purchases under $100.

The lower a purchase, the more it looks like a valid in flight purchase or fee – in which case it’ll be approved. It’s much harder to justify a $200 charge for a gift card as there aren’t many charges that would normally be this high that the travel credit is intended to cover.

  • Air France
    • Award flights fees/taxes: 1
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
    • Award tickets taxes + phone fees: 1, 2, 3 (didn’t work via SM, worked when they called)
  • Southwest
    • Giftcards: 1, 2, 3 (no longer working: 1, 23), 4 (working again)
    • Pet seat: 1
  • Delta
    • eGiftcards: 1, 2, 3, 4 (might not work anymore since it shows clearly as being a gift card)
    • Giftcards: 1 (might not work anymore since it shows clearly as being a gift card)
    • Flights: 1
    • Upgrade: 1, 2
  • Etihad:
    • Award taxes/fees: 1
  • Iberia
    • Change fees: 1
  • Singapore Airlines:
    • Award taxes: 1
  • United (I imagine United are sending Chase more detailed data than other airlines. Possibly as part of their co-branded partnership with Chase so becareful. This could equally by said of Southwest & British Airways but I haven’t seen as many issues)
    • Awards: 1, 2, 3
    • Change fee: 1
    • Economy Plus Subscription: 1, 2 (family)
    • Flights: 1
    • Gift cards: 1 (didn’t work, didn’t work x 2) This no longer works, I imagine United are sending Chase more detailed data than other airlines
    • Gift registry: 1 (didn’t work)
    • Upgrades: 1
  • US Airways
    • Award ticket taxes: 1
  • Non airline specific:
    • Award ticket taxes/fees: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
    • GoGo: 1
    • Boingo: 1
    • TSA Precheck/Global entry (lots of data points on this)

Things That DON’T Trigger The Credit

  • Alaska:
    • Gift certificates (clearly marked as such: 1)
    • Gift cards: 1
  •  Avianca
    • Airline ticket: 1
  • British Airways
    • Fuel surcharges: 1 (probably because the surcharges are quite high)
  •  United

F.A.Q’s

If I make a qualifying charge that posts to my account before the new year but I’m not reimbursed until afterwards, which year will it use my travel credit reimbursement from?

If you make a charge in 2014 and it’s not reimbursed until 2015, then you will be reimbursed from your 2014 limit and not your 2015 limit.

Can I purchase something from the inflight duty free shop? Will that trigger the bonus?

Technically it shouldn’t work, but like giftcards and other stuff it might. If you have any personal experiences let us know in the comments below. One person has reported this working on a Korean Airline flight.

Can you purchase AA 500 mile sticker upgrades and get reimbursed? 

No idea, try it and let us know because heaps of people have asked and nobody knows the answer.

Will I earn points on the reimbursed charges?

People have reported that they kept the points they earned on the reimbursed charges, but it’s such a small amount of points it shouldn’t matter too much either way.

Will these charges still count towards the minimum spend?

Do you really want to risk not getting the sign up bonus over $300 in spend? Do not risk it. Pre pay some bills if you have to.

Final Thoughts

I’d like more data points for this page, so if you have any experience with the Ritz-Carlton credit card and what will trigger the $300 travel credit that you get each calendar year, let me know in the comments. I’m also half way through my review of this card which can be found here, if you have any feed back then please share with me.

My personal plan is to purchase AA gift cards in small denominations, I’ll probably use them myself but at worst case I can always sell them for 80%+ of face value. I feel the most confident going after these gift cards due to the number of data points.



90 Responses to What Triggers The Ritz-Carlton $300 Annual Travel Credit?

  1. Parkerthon says:

    I know 50 and 100 work for e-gift cards. Trying 150 today. I always call cs to get credit. They don’t seem to care and are eager to please.

  2. Kim says:

    I’ve been doing small amounts to my united gift registry. Anywhere from $45-$75. And have been asking for reimbursement through sm.

  3. DannyOcean says:

    The wife has this card. We did 100 e-giftcard with delta and a 200 dollar e-giftcard with delta. Both approved. Will update you again in January when we try it again.

  4. David says:

    Do you know where we can buy a physical AA gift cards without shipping fee and still eligible for reimbursement? since e-giftcards is risky, some report says Chase won’t waive the e-gc but physical gc is ok.
    I went to AA.com (http://www.aa.com/i18n/productsGifts/giftCard.jsp?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=giftcards) and it charge a shipping fee of ($4.95 USD) per order. So if we have to buy 3 giftcards to keep the amount below $100, let’s say $75, $75, and $50 into separate order, then we have to pay total shipping fee of $14.85. Any better ideas or workaround for this?

  5. David says:

    William — appreciate of you can please share your thought on this.

  6. Parkerthon says:

    Purchased a $150 delta e-gift and called Chase RC customer service(which picked up in 5 seconds). They just checked my available amount of airline reimbursements and then reimbursed it. No questions asked. Not gonna lie, the customer service alone on this card makes me want to keep it.

  7. DavidNJ says:

    What do you know William about the 3 club upgrades that come w/ the Ritz-Carlton credit card. Can you get the club level upgrade @ a Marriott or just Ritz? My three upgrades posted on my Marriott account.

  8. Stone says:

    Can I ask where to buy AA gc? physical or eGC? from aa.com or at airport? Thanks.

  9. Kayla says:

    Alaska Gift Certificates WILL NOT work. On your statement they clearly state that they are a gift cert, so they will not be approved.

  10. Mike says:

    Does anyone know if it will work for US airway or southwest gift cards?

    • Alonso says:

      Southwest eGiftcards aren’t working reliably anymore.

      I managed to get $150 refunded but then when I called in on 12/31 for another $150 they were able to tell it was for a giftcard and I was not reimbursed for them. Unfortunately, it seems like the CSR you speak with will make a note on your account and future CSRs will also refuse to refuse those charges.

      I tried to get reimbursed by SM after that phone call but was told the same thing.

      I will likely be trying AA giftcards as I’ve read from multiple sources that those are working still.

  11. t says:

    i just did 3 x 100 egc on aa.com and the agent on the phone told me that its not valid.

  12. Andre says:

    An over-the-phone request to credit a $300 SW e-gift card was not approved because of their specified terms. Maybe I will try again over secure message later..

  13. dave says:

    Anyone get any credited back with AA gift cards lately? do only physical cards work?

  14. dave says:

    Will physical AA gift cards work or egift cards? Anyone try recently or have a data point on this?

  15. Parkerthon says:

    Delta e-giftcard purchase of $300 was approved for reimbursement early January for me. Just called and said it was a change fee for an international flight. They didn’t even blink.

  16. Harry Beihvur says:

    AA gift cards are a huge hassle to have reimbursed now. Took quite a few HUACA’s. Two GC’s bought in odd numbered denominations, basically halving the $300 but not an even $150 and $150. I lucked out b/c they made a mistake in reviewing my ‘escalated” case, otherwise I think Id be SOL.

  17. Had no issue in 2014 with $50 Delta GCs, a $100 early Jan also no issue, a late Jan $100 they have requested proof of what it was for, I am letting it settle and will try calling in rather than SM.

  18. Paul says:

    I’ve been using the card when paying taxes/fees on award tickets on UA, AA and BA. All reimbursed. Easier than hassling with gift cards and only getting 80%. Sure, I lose 3x on other cards, but it’s better than losing 20% reselling gcs…

  19. Diego Matamoros says:

    Denied by SM for $175 total change fee for 2x AA award tickets, stating that “ticketing fees, including change fees, are not eligible for this benefit”.

  20. Larry says:

    $50 Delta e-GC denied because the representative stated it was listed as a gift card purchase. It appears that Delta is providing additional detail to Chase.

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  22. Steven says:

    Delta e-GC denied because rep said it was coded as a gift card purchase. I did call about 2 weeks ago to get a physical $75 Delta gift card reimbursed. Rep asked no questions and approved that one.

  23. MEDC says:

    AA $175 in GC ($150 + $25) – SM’d for reimbursement and was asked for proof of being for covered expense. I’ll try and call to see if that gets me anywhere.

  24. Jordan says:

    data point: purchased Delta online GC’s ($75, $75, $80, $50). On statement charge appears as, “DELTA AIR Gift Card DELTA.COM CA”. SM and reps refused to reimburse because it’s says gc.

  25. DJ says:

    $75 AA GC reimbursed over phone, no questions asked, charged on Feb 23, posted Feb 25, reimbursed Feb 26

  26. Ryan says:

    Data point- $279 in taxes reimbursed as “upgrade” fee to business (Iberia) without any questions asked.

    • Rishabh says:

      $300 travel credit received for flight bookings from India to US ($400+) on Makemytrip.com and Travel2be (Not coded as any airline transaction but as makemytrip.com and travelgenio)…

  27. Aaron says:

    I’m planning on taking the Heathrow Express out of LHR into the city. Should be about $89 for the wife and I. Anyone have any luck getting this reimbursed? The charge doesn’t show up from an airline, but from an airport, so I don’t have high hopes, but figured I’d ask.

  28. frank says:

    Purchased $150 SW gift card. Chase rep said they can see it is a gift card purchase and not early bird checkin fees. Hung up called again. Same thing. I had no problem doing these last year, but that has changed.

  29. Paige Davey says:

    Thanks for all the useful information! I was wondering – does the unused portion of the annual $300 travel credit carryover to be used into the next calendar year?

    Thank you.

  30. Jon says:

    Just spoke with a Ritz Rep. Apparently because of the switch to Visa Infinite, the travel credit should apply to travel charges instantly now. Can anyone else confirm this? I called about a charge with delta air and he told me “it was already set to be waived after the cycle ends.”

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  32. D says:

    DP: AA e-GC in $150 and $75 increments reimbursed. Submitted via SM claiming baggage fees.

  33. Bodiddely says:

    Just got $100 AA eGC reimbursed as well via SM. I didn’t specify what the charge was for, just said I’d like to apply a portion of my $300 Ritz credit towards it.

  34. Mordy says:

    Purchased an $100 DL eGC – posted as “Delta Gift Card” – Shows on their end also.

  35. SLCGuy says:

    I submitted three Delta eGCs totaling $300 via secure message and was reimbursed on all three. For what it’s worth, I can see that the expenditures are showing up in Chase’s system as “Delta Gift Card,” so maybe I’m just getting lucky with the customer service reps that are completing the reimbursements.

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  37. JBTx says:

    AA 500 Mile Stickers: The reimbursements absolutely DO work (so Yes). I purchased them in sets of 2 each (for some arbitrary reason) – repeated the process twice. Both times I used Secure Message to request reimbursement for the upgrade stickers for seat upgrades; and there was no issue getting them reimbursed.

    This was in early-mid 2016 (I just went back to this thread today and finally saw the question).

  38. Ryan says:

    For egift cards, very simple lesson with the Ritz card- DO NOT call.

    If you send a simple secure message with an explanation of the charge (I said it was for oversize luggage fees), where made, what for, why it fits, it’s generally reimbursed.

    I made the mistake of calling for my 2017 charges and being told that they can “see it’s a gift card.”

    Tried to send a SM later on only to have the same answer given.

  39. Adam says:

    Will RC reimburse for a travel purchase made in 2016 so long as I have unused 2016 credit?

  40. dave says:

    Does anyone know any difference in getting AA gift cards reimbursed from physical or virtual gift card? As long as you keep the amount low and SM them it seems they are going through now fine?

  41. Matthew says:

    DATA POINT

    Successfully used the travel credit in 2016 for a United Economy Plus Subscription originally $499 (Primary user) and also successfully used it today for my 2017 credit to upgrade my United Economy Plus Subscription to include my family which was $400. Credit posted to my account in 3 days last time.

  42. John says:

    What gift cards are getting credited most easily now? Looks like AA is hit and miss so I would prefer not taking that risk. Thanks.

  43. Paul says:

    I want to take a stab at applying for this card. But I am not willing to pay the annual fee twice. I want to get the $300 annual Travel credit for 2017 and 2018, but will I have enough time to buy gift cards in January of 2018 and be able to close the card in time to not get charged with a second annual fee? Or should I just be patient and wait to apply?

    • Joshua Kaplan says:

      you get 60 days after the annual fee hits to call in and cancel for a full reimbursement of the fee

  44. Nate says:

    Requested reimbursement of a one way JetBlue flight for $62 (said it was a seat upgrade) over SM. Reimbursed without further questions a few hours later.

  45. Senyah says:

    Called in and was reimbursed for
    SQ Award taxes for ~130
    AA Award Taxes for ~170

  46. tim says:

    In December I got two AA Egift cards credited over the phone with no problem – one for $140 and one for $160. Last week (2017) I tried with two Delta egift cards – each $100 – they showed up on the statement as “Delta gift cards”, so of course I was denied over the phone. So I went back to try with one AA egift card at $100 since it worked in December and was DENIED. The agent said it was showing up as a gift card, which I don’t see how because it’s registering on my account the same way it did in December. I’m afraid with the new year they’ve figured out how to code AA purchases more accurately. Not good news.

  47. Peter says:

    I got two $50 AA GC’s reimbursed by using the secure message in January 2017. You have to clearly state your dates of purchase and the type of purchase (baggage fees etc). It goes to different customer service reps all over the world, so it is worth it to try again.

  48. don says:

    I was asked by chase to provide proof for my last ones. 2 X $50 gift cards. I’ll update you on if my “proof” was sufficient.

  49. Chris says:

    DP: Bought 3x $100 AA e-gift cards. Tried to get reimbursed for them just now, but the CSR said he saw it was coded as a gift card purchase even though I told him it was for lounge passes. So no reimbursement (yet). Going to try to call later in the evening and hopefully get an agent who isn’t so diligent.

    This sux, looks like they’re catching on now. It worked for me last year, though.

  50. tassojunior says:

    +1…..Worked for AA giftcards last year but on 2/8/2017 3 $100 AA giftcards were denied as csr saw they were for giftcards.

    Any airline giftcards still working? Southwest?

    • tassojunior says:

      UPDATE- Worked by secure message !! After denial by the telephone csr who saw they were for AA giftcards somehow, I sent a SM and next day got a response they were approved for the $300 credit.(although the $300 credit doesn’t show up until the next month).

      • tehpointsguy says:

        Did you buy 3 x $100 gift cards or a single $300 gift card? TIA.

        • tassojunior says:

          I bought 3 $100 e-cards because the fee for an overweight bag is $100 and I thought the issue was convincing a csr they were for legit fees. Looking back the 1st csr looked and saw they were giftcards while the 2nd didn’t.

          Last year I got 3 $95 cards and there was no question. If a certain larger amount triggers a look it may be always denied and $100 may be over and $95 not. $300 is going to trigger a look much more often….maybe always.

  51. tuffles says:

    Bought a $55 AA Gift Card, did a SM and got approved. Also same for $75 SW gift card.

  52. tassojunior says:

    btw- This has also been my experience getting the annual fee rebated. The telephone csr said “no”, the CL can’t go below $5000, while the SM agent lowered it to $1500 to trigger an annual fee rebate.

  53. YK says:

    Award fees/taxes for an Etihad flight were reiumbursed successfully through SM.

  54. Noah says:

    DP: Bought $150 SW giftcard, SM’ed and got it credited.

  55. Joshua Kaplan says:

    DP: Bought 1 $300 AA E-Gift Card and was credited after sending an SM

  56. Irshad says:

    Dp: purchased one 100 dollar aa egift card. SMed for refund. They asked to submit proof of what the charges were. Called them immediately and requested over the phone. Said baggage charges and no questions asked

  57. JW says:

    DP: Purchased one $300 AA eGift card and sent a SM for the refund after the the transaction went out of pending. No questions asked and the $300 was applied.

  58. Milo says:

    I changed the ticket date for a Qatar airways flight and i was reimbursed as part of annual travel credit

  59. B says:

    I’ve had the best success when flying completely random airlines through my travels, which typically must be bought in cash with no points option (e.g. Bahamas Air, Chile’s local sky airlines, Pakistan’s Air Blue, Peru’s local airline, Vietjet etc). Then you just claim that its baggage fee or change fee etc. The ticket costs of these local airlines are low enough (usually less than $100 per person) that the cost seems similar to the change/baggage fees.

  60. James says:

    Reimburse for united award flight. Book 2 one-ways though. One was $50 another one $16. SM first, but was asked to proof, then decide to call, rep took around 5 minutes and said it will reimburse in 2-3 days no question ask.

  61. russell says:

    Any recent data points for gift cards? Nothing really here or on FT- I’m sure by December, these pages will be a lot more active

  62. Jeff says:

    If you have $200 left of your $300 credit, and have a single qualifying charge of $213 (just a hypothetical), will they credit you for $200? Or does the qualifying charge have to be LESS than your remaining travel credit?

  63. Eric says:

    I see the DP for reimbursement of the United change fee is from a couple years ago.

    Has anyone recently gotten the $200 change fee reimbursed?

  64. Nathan says:

    Just got a $150 Southwest eGift card – reimbursement was a success on first try via SM!

    Originally wanted to try Delta but with so many negative DPs recently I figured it’s not worth the risk.

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