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.



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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.

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

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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

I second this, as I would like to know about where to buy it as well….can you please share some suggestion,William?

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

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

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.

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

did you ever get your aa gift cards credited?

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..

Secure message did not work either. Looks like this deal is a no go for me.

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

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

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.

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