With a $395 annual fee (no annual fee is required for additional card members and authorized users), this card lends itself to comparison with other elite credit cards. So how does this card fare?
To answer that question, we have to look at what typical elite credit cards offer. Firstly, they typically do not charge any foreign transaction fees. They offer lounge access and many higher end affinity cards give you a bump in elite status for their program. Most elite cards also offer a concierge service. On these fronts, Ritz-Carlton has met all of these criteria.
Is It Worth It? Many folks will ask if this card is worth it? I would say that if you are a frequent flyer that stays at Ritz-Carlton hotels, then the perks alone will more than cover the annual fee. Here's how:
You can firstly recover $200 from their airline incidental allowance. It is their most unique (almost anyway) feature - a $200 allowance for card members to use it for incidental airline charges.This feature is very similar to the one that the Amex Platinum offers. But there are some subtle differences as mentioned before. Firstly, you have to call JPMorgan's concierge to claim that statement credit within 4 weeks from the day the expense is charged to the card. In contrast, you do not need to do that for Amex. But unlike Amex, you do not have to designate an airline where you want to apply those incidental charges. That means you can use the $200 allowance on different airlines (unlike the Amex Platinum where you have to designate one).
If you stay for two nights or more, you are entitled to a $100 hotel credit. Furthermore, you can be upgraded to rooms at their Club Level. Do this a couple of times a year and we could be talking about a few hundred dollars in benefits alone.
Finally, there is the CLub Lounge (or rather airport lounge access). How do we place a value on this? For a one year Priority Pass membership (not the "select" version without access to United's Lounge that is offered in other credit cards), the cost will be $399. Since there is only about half the amount of lounges in the Club Lounge program compared to the full blown Priority Pass program, I would say that it would be fair to assign a value of about $200 to the Club Lounge perk.
Verdict - As you can see from the value of the perks above, they more than cover the annual fee. If you fly often, stay a few times at "The Ritz", then this is a card that you should consider adding to your arsenal of credit cards.