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Explanation of Lounge Club and Other Perks: Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card

Picture of Item Reviewed

Editor's Rating:
Intro Purchase APR Regular APR Intro Balance Transfer Annual Fee Credit Needed
N.A. $395 Excellent
Executive Summary - This section of our review looks at the airport lounge access feature of this card. In particular, we will investigate who is the Lounge Club and the types of lounges in which it has access to. We'll also look at the $200 incidental airline expense feature here.

One of the most frequently asked question about this card is with regards to the airport lounge features. The most common question is :

Who is Lounge Club - Club Lounge is actually part of Priority Pass. It was launched in 2011. Priority Pass is great if you travel a lot and want access to various lounges and not just lounges from a particular airlines. However, the value of Priority Pass started to diminished a little because airline credit cards started to offer airport lounge access features. The bank issuers insisted that this be a feature of their cards with the airlines and so this became a more common perk. For specific airline cards, you may access their lounges a couple of times a year. A classic example would be the United Explorer Card, which allows card members to access their lounges twice a year.

If you are always flying business class on international trips, then you will automatically get lounge access because you paid for the ticket. But if you fly business or first class domestically, not all airlines allow access to lounges.

Some rewards credit cards then started to also offer lounge access through Priority Club. Examples would be the Amex Platinum and Visa Black Card. However, as more and more cards started to offer these same perks, something had to be cut back because otherwise lounges will simply be filled with credit card holders rather than folks who have bought business class tickets. Hence, Priority Pass introduced the Priority Pass Select, which was supposed to be the program that credit card issuers had access to. The difference between Priority Pass and the Select version was that the Select version had no access to United Lounges.

The Lounge Club also had to access to United's Lounges. They also have less selection than Priority Pass. The full Priority Pass program has access to over 600 airport lounges worldwide while the Lounge Club has access to over 300 lounges.

So while this may be a scaled down version of the Priority Pass, it comes quite close to the Selects version.

$200 Airline Incidental Charges - This feature is very similar to the Amex Platinum program. You will be credited for up to $200 a year on incidental expenses with airlines. That includes baggage fees, food purchased on the planes etc. But the slight catch to this is that you would have to call the JP Morgan Concierge service within 4 weeks of you charging those expenses to the card and claim your credit. This is in contrast to Amex where it is taken care of automatically. However, it appears that for this card, you do not have to select an airline to use this feature whereas you have to for the Amex Plat.

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