Chase just dropped a pleasant surprise for existing Ritz-Carlton Credit Card holders, and if you’re among them, your wallet might be getting a bit heavier. Why? Because the metal version of the card is making a comeback, and you won’t need to lift a finger – all current cardholders will automatically receive the new design sometime this month.
The card’s benefits remain unchanged for now, but the return of the metal design is likely to bring a sigh of relief to those who found the plastic version less than satisfying. Many complained that the plastic design made the card feel cheap, especially when most cards with comparable annual fees are now metal.
For points and miles enthusiasts, the Ritz-Carlton card holds a special place in the hearts (and wallets) of many. It stands out as one of the very few, if not the only, cards offering unlimited guests when utilizing Priority Pass lounge access – a perk that’s hard to beat, and makes this card a favorite among those in the know.
Although the card officially closed its doors to new applicants back in 2018, there’s a nifty workaround. While a direct application is a no-go, you can snag the lower-tier Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card by Chase. After holding it for a year, a call to Chase requesting a product change to the Ritz-Carlton card is all it takes.
But does this subtle change hint at the card reopening for new applicants? Don’t get your hopes up. Marriott’s credit card partnerships have been complex since the SPG merger. The current arrangement seems to allocate the higher-tier cards, like the Bonvoy Brilliant, to AmEx for new applicants, while Chase handles the lower-tier cards such as the Bonvoy Boundless and Bold.
Yet, as they say, never say never. In a curious turn of events in 2022, Marriott simultaneously introduced the Bonvoy Bevy and Bonvoy Bountiful. These two cards are nearly identical in every aspect, with the Bevy being an AmEx card and the Bountiful a Chase Visa.
Oddly enough, the Bountiful seems to have been all but forgotten since its launch, overshadowed by the Bevy. However, it’s still available for new applications on Chase’s website. The Bountiful’s only potential edge over the Bevy? It might appeal to those who frequent Costco or need wider acceptance abroad, given Visa’s global footprint. Depending where you go in Europe, it seems like either everyone accepts AmEx, or nobody accepts it.
Speculating on what would happen if the Ritz-Carlton card reopened to new applicants, my hunch is that there could be some adjustments to the Priority Pass benefits. The current unlimited guests feature, especially for those with families, might be too good to last. If the floodgates were to open for new applicants, a plausible scenario could involve capping Priority Pass guests at two per visit, mirroring the setup of the Sapphire Reserve. Chase has surprised us before, and it’s likely they’ll surprise us again, so stay tuned.
(h/t Mike Jones)