One of the best features of the Chase Ritz Carlton Rewards Card is the free club level upgrade. If you have stayed at a Ritz-Carlton hotel you know that access to the club level is quite valuable and the Ritz will charge you quite a bit for it. I just signed up for the Chase Ritz-Carlton card and booked a room using my free club level upgrade certificates and you can read about my learnings below.
By the way, for I should point out that I value access to the club at $150 or more per night, so on a 3-4 night stay this feature could be worth over $500! On my last stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles, CA they charged me $150 per night for access to the club lounge. Of course, I could have booked a room rate that included club level access, but those rates were $500 or more, and I had found a cheap $175 per night rate.
Ritz-Carlton Card Club Upgrade Restrictions
There are a few restrictions associated with using the free club level upgrades
- The club level upgrade must be booked in advance at the time of your reservation
- Upgrade is limited to a maximum 7-night stay
- Each cardholder receives 3 Club Level Upgrade certificates per year. You must use one certificate per room, per stay.
- You cannot book a cheap discounted rate and then apply the certificate (see below).
Booking The Ritz Carlton Card Free Club Upgrade
In order to book the free Club Level Upgrade you need to call Ritz-Carlton reservations at 1-800-542-8680.
You can view your available club upgrade certificates by logging into either Marriott.com or Ritz-Carlton.com and clicking on “Account Activity.” Under the section titled “Unused Certificates” you will see three certificates that say “Club Level Upgrade Up to 7 Nights.” A screenshot of my account is shown below.
What Room Rates Qualify for The Ritz Carlton Free Club Upgrade?
Since you are required to call reservations in order to use the free upgrade, you cannot book a discounted room rate and apply the free club level upgrade certificate. This is quite annoying because many of us travel for work and have access to pretty reasonable corporate or government room rates. Even if you don’t have a corporate rate, there are other ways of getting a cheap room like using AAA, senior, or promotional discounts.
When I called to book a room the rate that I was quoted for a basic room was actually slightly cheaper than the lowest available rate on the Ritz-Carlton website. Of course, it was about $35 higher per night than the AAA rate, but I was willing to pay a little more in order to use my free club level upgrade certificate.
Also, keep in mind that when you book this rate, you also get a free $100 hotel food, beverage, or spa credit per stay. You can see the room rate description I received in my email confirmation below.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, includes upgrade at time of booking to Club Level, must pay with The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, 100 USD hotel credit per stay, see Rate Rules
I will add that if you are booking multiple rooms for a stay, you can apply your club upgrade certificates toward the other rooms as well. You must use one certificate per room, but it’s a nice feature that allows everyone in your party to get access to the Ritz club lounge, not just the cardholder. Of course, all rooms must be booked under your account, so distributing the payment might be a bit of a challenge, but that’s another topic.