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Senior Contributor
Open123
Posts: 4,220
Registered: ‎02-23-2011
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Amex Plat vs. Chase Ritz...

Anyone consider changing from the Plat to the Ritz card?  If so, what are some of the pros and cons you used to make or think of switching?

 

 

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BigDaddy18
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Re: Amex Plat vs. Chase Ritz...

Nope no way AmEx Platinum is pure baller status and it rocks!!!


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Crashem
Posts: 3,096
Registered: ‎01-26-2012
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Re: Amex Plat vs. Chase Ritz...

While they have some similar features such as 200 airline credit, these are inherently different cards. Mr points have more flexibility and Amex plat has a few more benefits. But ritz card has a lot of ritz specific benefits. Plus you get ritz points. So if you stay at ritz a lot, Ritz card looks attractive.
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Valued Contributor
CreditScholar
Posts: 2,300
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Amex Plat vs. Chase Ritz...

[ Edited ]

It looks like we're in the minority when it comes to card choices open...

 

I'll probably get a lot of disagreement from people on here, but I view these two cards as very similar. I just received a 100k offer for the Amex plat, and was debating between applying for that or the JPM Ritz card sometime in the next 6 months. With the new Hilton Reserve card that was just released, I may have to re-think my strategy again. I do want a hotel card though sometime soon.

 

1. First of all, forget about spending and MR vs. Ritz points. Both the plat and the ritz are cards you hold for the benefits. While some people put spending on them, there are far better alternatives out there that provide better rewards. There is no incentive to spend a lot on the Amex plat unless you have a lot of forex charges, and you simply prefer Amex (say over Chase). For me the sign-up bonus will always be dwarfed by the on-going value of holding a card long-term.

 

2. The only major advantage I can see with the plat is access to American, US and Delta lounges when travelling domestically. Priority Pass select is offered to both cards for international travel. I'm a UA-flyer based in one of their hub cities and only fly *A, so this doesn't bother me much. I already have a full RCC membership. If you want the others like American or Delta though, it'd be a strong reason to keep the card.

 

3. Both cards offer a $200 incidentals credit, although with the plat you're locked into only one airline. The Ritz card can be used on whatever airline you fly, up to the yearly maximum. While some people used to take advantage of Amex's automated system to get gift cards, it's now been explicitly stated that gift cards are no longer re-imbursable under the plat's $200 incidentals allowance. Advantage: Ritz.

 

4. The plat offers $100 towards global entry, but this is more of a one-off event. You don't apply for this every year, so once you use the credit that's it. If you're like me (and I suspect you are) and don't churn cards constantly for bonuses, this just isn't worth factoring in. $100 is just too small to alter the decision one way or another.

 

5. Marriott gold is imo the best non top-tier status you can get. It's far better in terms of benefits compared to Starwood gold, Hyatt platinum, and arguably it's better than Hilton gold. I personally like Marriotts quite a bit. Most Ritz Carltons are also wonderful (although there are a couple that I don't think are quite up to standard). The bonuses are pretty self-explanatory, and useful if you stay there with any regularity.

 

6. Amex plat offers NPSL, although this seems to matter more for people who either: have large spikes in their spending for business, or for those who can't grow their CLs/spending capacity without a charge card. I'm guessing you're well established with high CLs already, so I don't think this will apply to you as much.

 

I also don't buy into the "charge cards help you manage your credit by forcing you to PIF every month". All that takes is simple discipline. You can treat a credit card like a charge card and always PIF. You can't do the reverse and treat a charge card like a credit card by revolving a balance.

 

People also say that NPSLs are great because it doesn't count towards your util. Util doesn't matter unless you're planning to apply for new credit. If you are conservative with your applications and plan at least 2 months in advance, you can easily reduce your util prior to applying. It's not that difficult.

 

7. From most accounts the concierge services are at least equivalent, or if not better with the JPM card. I personally don't use this service often, but when I do it's because something has seriously gone wrong. In these cases, I need to know that the level of service will be excellent.

 

8. FHR is an advantage towards the plat, although if you have access to LHR, Visa Sig's luxury hotel collection, Virtuoso, etc., this benefit is watered down via access to alternatives.

 

9. Amex may FR you at any time. I haven't heard of someone getting F/Red by JPM. I'm sure it happens, but it's virtually never mentioned.

 

10. I don't see Amex plat as any kind of a status symbol, and most of the people I come across don't either. It might be different for others.

 

 

That's my take on this. I'd view both as complementary cards to go with others that you actually push spending through. Depending on what else you have, it may not be so clear-cut. I personally prefer the JPM Ritz Carlton card over the Amex plat, but that's just IMO. I'm not that impressed by Amex's products, nor have I ever been. There are too many other alternatives out there that provide similar (or superior) benefits with greater universal acceptance worldwide.

 

 

 

 

FICOs: EX: 826, EQ: 817, TU: 810
Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards Visa Signature - $23,200 CL
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature - $12,700 CL
Chase United MileagePlus Club World Elite MasterCard - $26,500 CL
Citibank American Airlines Executive World Elite MasterCard - $22,500 CL
J.P. Morgan Ritz Carlton Visa Signature - $23,500 CL
Senior Contributor
Open123
Posts: 4,220
Registered: ‎02-23-2011
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Re: Amex Plat vs. Chase Ritz...

@ Bigdaddy18 - Agreed!  The card definitely rocks!

 

@ Carshem - MR points are definitely much more flexible.  They are different cards, but serve a similar purpose for me; in that I use my Amex personal Plat mainly for Ritz stays.  

 

@ CreditScholar - Thanks for the analysis!  Appreciate very much your taking the time to put it together, which clarifies many of the points where I've been considering.

 

1.  Agreed, I use the Plat mainly for the benefits (mainly lounge, spg gold, and fhr) and hardly ever use the card for the MR points.  There are far better ways to accrue MR points than using this card.  One of the issues with Amex is that their Plat is the only card (aside from Centurion) with 0 forex making it all but impossible to receive more than a point per dollar spending abroad.  The main reason I use the Plat abroad is when I'm doing it for the benefit of certain clients who (rightly or wrongly) would think something might be amiss if we suddenly stopped using it.  For my personal travel, I'd rather use a card with no forex and bonus category spending.  

 

3.  This is where I was first drawn to the Ritz card.  With Amex having to designate a single airline, I've found that more often than not I fly the airline in which I haven't chosen.  Since the choice has to be made and can't be changed until the next calendar year, I thought it prudent to avoid redundancy by choosing an airline in which I don't already have "perks" or an existing card.  Well, what invariable happens is that I don't have "perks" or "existing card" for this ariline for a reason--namely that I tend to eschew them.  Anyway, I end up never utilizing my $200 credit having to resort to ordering gift cards than I'll never redeem.  I think the Ritz has it right here where the $200 credit isn't limited to a "single" airline.

 

4.  Global entry is nice, but it's only useful when travelling alone.  As you've said, there's no way I'm leaving my travelling companion waiting in line while I zip through.  

 

5.  The SPG gold is nice, but it certainly isn't something I can live without.  I know little of Marriott Gold, but all of the Marriott's I've ever stayed at has always been first class all around.  Aside from the airline credit, the main reason for my pondering changing is my main spending on the Plat is for my Ritz stays through Amex's FHR.  It's a pretty good deal, but the Ritz's card's benefits and 5x bonus makes this card extremely appealing.  Not sure if it's a coincidence, but JP Morgan just happens to tab the one hotel card in their lineup that Plat user's spend on the most.  

 

7.  I hardly ever use the concierge service, and can't really comment on it either.  I've heard many great things, but short of an emergency, I don't anticipate using the service too often.

 

8.  FHR with certain hotels is the main reason for having the Plat.  I've noticed that most of my non business hotel spending tends to be at the Ritz.  If I make the switch (no way I can justify having both of these cards), the FHR program is what I may miss when staying at a non-Ritz hotel.  

 

9.  Neither do I.  Matter of fact (until the CSP), I used the Zync for personal dining.  Mainly, the only people I've come across who were impressed by the status of the Plat are some of our clients in SE Asia--namely in Singapore and South Korea.  Aside from the business dining in SE Asia and hotel spending through FHR, I never use this card given the low dollar per point spending.  

 

You're right, it is a tough choice to make.  Objectively, I'll reap more benefits with the Ritz card since stay there more than any other hotel during my personal travel. Subjectively, I may miss using Amex abroad and the FHR program.  My home airport is UA's main hub, which has an even greater presence after the merger with Continental.  The lounge access is nice, but it's certainly lost some of its appeal now that it's only relegated to AA, Delta, and US Air.

 

Maybe, I'll just flip a coin!

Valued Contributor
CreditScholar
Posts: 2,300
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
0

Re: Amex Plat vs. Chase Ritz...

The main reason for people in SE Asia being impressed with the Amex plat is due to the differences in qualifying criteria. In many of those countries, you need a minimum net worth of 5M USD to get approved. This would obviously be unattainable by most people, so "it says something about you".

 

Regarding Marriott gold: the benefits that stick out are guaranteed lounge access, upgrades on rooms (including suites as of recently) upon availability, included breakfast, free internet, priority late checkout (subject to availability but I've never had any issues as of yet with this). There are also some minor fringe benefits such as Hertz, free local calls, etc.

 

Marriott gold is the only mid-tier status that guarantees you lounge access and offers possible suite upgrades. You don't get this with Starwood gold, Hyatt Platinum or Hilton Gold (which offers lounge access only if you're upgraded).

FICOs: EX: 826, EQ: 817, TU: 810
Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards Visa Signature - $23,200 CL
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature - $12,700 CL
Chase United MileagePlus Club World Elite MasterCard - $26,500 CL
Citibank American Airlines Executive World Elite MasterCard - $22,500 CL
J.P. Morgan Ritz Carlton Visa Signature - $23,500 CL
Valued Contributor
Crashem
Posts: 3,096
Registered: ‎01-26-2012
0

Re: Amex Plat vs. Chase Ritz...

Credit Utilization non effect for AMEX charge cards can not be underestimated.  While you can plan for a lot of credit events, there are some that are too much of a pain.  Restricting use of credit cards during mortgage process comes to mind.

 

I haven't compared Priority Pass vs Lounge Club yet, but I thought Ritz only gave Lounge Club.  Also, AMEX gets you into more airline clubs with just the Plat Card that are outside of Lounge/Priority Pass.

 

I personally like MR points.  Not sure aside from limited MR bonuses in Zync Add On Packs and PRG card bonus categories how to get more than 1 pt per dollar.  Personally marriot/Ritz points are too limiting in comparison.  I value MR points at least at 5 cents per MR point as I basically use MR points for free business/first international flights.  Given at least a 5 cent to pt value, I rather get MR points than almost all rewards.  The only comparison I can think that exists are the Chase UR points which have similar value to me, but with a little more versitility in US flights and less in international flights.  Chase UR is starting to give AMEX a run for their money in terms of versitility.  However Ritz points are really limiting to me given you either get Ritz points for stays or miles with particular airline.  Or am I wrong and you can take your spend in Chase UR points?  In any case, unlike some of the previous posters, I find spending on the Plat to be worthwhile.

 

Also, I thought Marriot Gold status was only for first year?  After that, you had to do some kind of spend to keep it the next year.

 

 

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Valued Contributor
CreditScholar
Posts: 2,300
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Amex Plat vs. Chase Ritz...


Crashem wrote:

Credit Utilization non effect for AMEX charge cards can not be underestimated.  While you can plan for a lot of credit events, there are some that are too much of a pain.  Restricting use of credit cards during mortgage process comes to mind.

 

I haven't compared Priority Pass vs Lounge Club yet, but I thought Ritz only gave Lounge Club.  Also, AMEX gets you into more airline clubs with just the Plat Card that are outside of Lounge/Priority Pass.

 

I personally like MR points.  Not sure aside from limited MR bonuses in Zync Add On Packs and PRG card bonus categories how to get more than 1 pt per dollar.  Personally marriot/Ritz points are too limiting in comparison.  I value MR points at least at 5 cents per MR point as I basically use MR points for free business/first international flights.  Given at least a 5 cent to pt value, I rather get MR points than almost all rewards.  The only comparison I can think that exists are the Chase UR points which have similar value to me, but with a little more versitility in US flights and less in international flights.  Chase UR is starting to give AMEX a run for their money in terms of versitility.  However Ritz points are really limiting to me given you either get Ritz points for stays or miles with particular airline.  Or am I wrong and you can take your spend in Chase UR points?  In any case, unlike some of the previous posters, I find spending on the Plat to be worthwhile.

 

Also, I thought Marriot Gold status was only for first year?  After that, you had to do some kind of spend to keep it the next year.

 

 


You're right in that the ritz card has now changed to lounge club. While it offers fewer lounges, both open and I are UA fliers based in united hubs with full RCC memberships. These allow access into all UA, US and *A lounges. For us, I don't think we'll be missing much between the two.

 

I can understand the unexpected credit events that you spoke of, and it can be quite a pain if you're mortgage shopping. I paid for my house with cash, so it doesn't really affect me. I'm not sure about Open's situation.

 

Ritz/Marriott points can be quite valuable, but you need to redeem them in high numbers and at specific times. For example: I've previously transferred 300k Marriott/Ritz points for a travel package. That got me 7 nights at a category 6 hotel, which I used to stay at the JW Marriott in Seoul.

 

The travel package also included 120,000 miles into an airline of my choice. I transferred into US Airways during the 50% transfer bonus, so I ended up with 180,000 US miles. For 300k Marriott/Ritz points, I ended up getting 2 round-trip business class tickets to Asia plus 7 nights at a hotel that runs $340 per night. That's an incredible value of ~4 cpp ($9,000-10,000 for the airfare plus $2400 for the hotel). Given that I'm earning 17.5 points per dollar spent at the Marriott/Ritz, that's essentially a 70% rebate on my hotel spending. Obviously it's not easy to amass 300k points, but if you can and time it properly it can be better than MR.

 

You do need to spend 10k annually to maintain gold status, but that's quite easy to do. If someone can't do this, this card isn't for them.

FICOs: EX: 826, EQ: 817, TU: 810
Bank of America Privileges with Travel Rewards Visa Signature - $23,200 CL
Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature - $12,700 CL
Chase United MileagePlus Club World Elite MasterCard - $26,500 CL
Citibank American Airlines Executive World Elite MasterCard - $22,500 CL
J.P. Morgan Ritz Carlton Visa Signature - $23,500 CL
Valued Contributor
Crashem
Posts: 3,096
Registered: ‎01-26-2012
0

Re: Amex Plat vs. Chase Ritz...

Interesting creditscholar. It seems most of the value you received was via the miles and airfare. I haven't really ever used hotel packages. So the packages don't just give you airline tickets but miles instead? Mind sending me a link so I can check it out. For my personal travel, I guess we have tended to stay at the more boutique hotels or ones without extensive loyalty programs. For example, recent trip to Asia looked like, four seasons sydney, four seasons Ubud Bali, alila villas uluwatu, aman Bali, Ayana, and mandarin oriental Bangkok. So for me airline miles are what matters as I rarely find ability to use hotel points. Wish friggging four seasons had some kind of points program.
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Senior Contributor
Open123
Posts: 4,220
Registered: ‎02-23-2011
0

Re: Amex Plat vs. Chase Ritz...

[ Edited ]

1.  I readily agree that non-utilization of elastic spending power conferred by an Amex charge card is one the most appealing aspects of having and using a charge card, especially during certain moments of credit usage.  For instance, early on in a firm's or person's credit usage, the NPSL of an Amex charge is invaluable in springboarding high usage to levels that would take a static limit far too long to build to be of any practical use.  While I appreciate the non-Utility factor, aside from a credit score's vanity factor, my personal spending utility isn't a concern.  At this point, I have no personal loans of any kind, nor do I plan to apply for any personal loans in the immediate or even distant future.  The only potential downside on utility is the slight risk that Chase may adverse react to my high utility.  From my understanding, if one pays his bills and maintains an otherwise uneventful credit history, Chase would not be prone to any adverse action.  Though I'm a relatively new Chase customer, I'd imagine they'd factor in high utility of the PIF variety before making the coveting of Amex customers as a cornerstone of their marketing strategy.

 

2.  While I appreciate the airline clubs, it has less value to me after the UA Continental merger.  Now that UA has merged with Continental, they literally comprise of just about half the terminal of my home airport.  For me to access the Amex lounges, I'd have to make a trek all the way to other side of the terminal which is considerable walk. In my home airport especially with the Cont merger, UA access is much more convenient and practical.  Aside from Sing or Cathy, most of our flights are UA by necessity since with so many of their flights originate from here, one can be assured that at any moment to virtuall any destination, UA/Cont will have it available.  If I were flying out of MN or TX, I can see the value of the Amex lounges more so than here. 

 

3.  I find the MR program extremely valuable and have amassed enough points where even if I switched, I'd have to at least maintain an Amex green to keep the full MR status; or, just opt to use the MR status from our business charge.  I have enough MR points accrued that Chase's UR points are becomming more and more appealing.  I think the CSP/Ink with no forex and generous category spending bonuses it more appealing than spending a dollar per point on the Platinum.  On Amex, I'd opt for the SPG on point for point spending, but because of the high forex, that card is limited mostly to domestic spending.  Aside from the benefits, I never use the Plat to acquire MR points and only use the card mainly staying at certain hotels abroad and the Ritz through the FHR program. 

 

4.  Of course, spending on the Plat especially with all it's benefits is certainly worthwhile, but other MR cards offer some of the bonus spending that the Platinum never well, unless when one does it through the MR mall (which is down for the moment).  Even then, in my view, the best strategy is to maintain a Plat for the benefits and MR First status while using the new Blue Open (no fee) which will in year three confer a 30% bonus to every dollar spent.  This will allow for all the benefits of the Plat with a higher points earn ratio. 

 

5.  After this year, I'll should have lifetime SPG Gold.  I really only care about the complimentary net access and occasional upgrades.  While I'm not familiar with JWM Gold, spending $10k at the Ritz isn't an issue, which is why I'm starting to find the 5X, potential upgrades, and club level access to be extremely valuable.  More often than not, a lower rate can be had through the FHR program, but the savings there certainly doesn't offset the benefits of the Ritz card especially when considering this card's benefits can potentially replace all the benefits of the Platinum, not to mention the wider acceptance abroad.

 

It's very unusual for a hotel such as the Ritz to offer a rewards program since many hotels of this calibre simply eschew the notion of having to offer "perks" to entice guests to stay.  They believe their top drawer service should be reason enough.  If the Ritz weren't owned and controlled by the mighty Marriott empire, I doubt they'd ever offer perks, points, and benefits where they believe will "water" down the top-drawer experience for their other guests.  In light of that, I think for the next few years, these perks from the Ritz will be of tremendous value until they become widespread and abused enough to lessen it's value, which invariably happens when awards structures are wide open for abuse.  Even now, there are some Ritz's who refuse to be a part of this program for that very reason.  But, until then, I think this JPM Ritz card offers tremendous value for the fee.

 

I would certainly miss using the Plat abroad (the only Amex with no forex) and the FHR program, but at $450 per year, I think the JPM Ritz is a better value (in my case, anyway) at $395 per and bonus spending.


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