Ritz-Carlton fee credits: What works? (reader data needed)


Due to sweet opportunities, I know that many readers have recently picked up the Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa Infinite card. One of the benefits this card carries is $300 in annual airline fee reimbursements. While things like seat upgrades and lounge access officially count for reimbursement under this credit, many readers want to know what unofficially works in terms of gift cards and fees that might not appear to fall into the list of qualifying charges. We mantain a similar resource page for Amex cards (See: Amex airline fee credits: What still works?), so I have published a new resource for the Chase Ritz-Carlton card. See:

Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa airline fee credits: What works?

However, you’ll see that existing recent data is limited. I combed through the data I could find online from the past year or two and added my own experiences, but we need reader input. If you have the Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa card, please comment with your experiences in getting the annual travel credit reimbursements. Please include:

  1. Type of charge (i.e. AA gift card / Alaska award fees / etc)
  2. Date of charge
  3. Requested via phone or secure message
  4. Success or failure

Unlike some other premium cards, the Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa airline credits are not automatic. You must either call the number on the back of your card or send a secure message to be reimbursed, which adds a human element as someone must manually process the credit. That adds a lot more potential for variance in what works from one agent to the next. However, understanding what has worked for others can be helpful in identifying what is possible, though recognize that it might require an extra phone call or secure message or two to get your desired result.

Feel free to comment here today or on that resource page in the future and we will update it regularly to include recent data points. Reader input is what helps keep resource pages like this current, so thanks in advance for your recent data points.

Again, see the resource page for what works and to help us with your recent data:

Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa airline fee credits: What works?

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10/2022 – Southwest upgrade from Wanna Get Away to Business Select. Upgrade cost was $330. I requested via phone and they asked what the charge was for. I said “an upgrade to business” and the full $300 was reimbursed with no other questions.

I actually ended up having to cancel the ticket, but I took the refund as travel credit since I didn’t wanna risk a clawback from having it refunded to the card.

Billy Bob

AA gift card (two at a few bucks over $150 each to throw them off the scent)
Sent secure mail, said ‘please reimburse recent charges’
BOOM: done — $300 one day later.

Billy Bob

Forgot to mention: these were e-gift cards.
Bada bing!


Thank you so much for your DP, exactly what I still wish to do!


1. Southwest Gift Card $150 bought through their website
2. 6/4/2019
3. Phone, called number on back of card
4. Success, no questions about what the charge was for


Some new DPs from today. Agent said they would apply in the next couple of business cycles (I think it has been faster in the past)
$125 American Airlines gold platinum challenge fee — covered as upgrade
$125 AA gift card — covered as upgrade
$62 Iberia upgrade — covered as upgrade, $50 partial credit because it exceeded my yearly total

[…] 7/2018 (Josh) […]


Southwest GiftCards….easy peasy. I got four $75’s so I could say they were baggage or bike fees but wasn’t even asked.

The # on back of the card is an executive level # where they go the extra mile to please the customer. Always had luck with it.

Also you can phone immediately and even though the charge is pending, they will tag it so it’s taken off when it hits. Sweet.

D. D.

Delta, Singapore and Blu Jet Airlines. For unaccompanied minor and baggage fees. Called and they saw charges, added them up and gave me credit. I did not have to justify other than my word. Easy, I was impressed.


I purchased a $50 Delta gift card with my Ritz Carlton card on 10/9/18. It posted as “Delta Gift Card”. I sent a secure message (on 10/12) asking to apply travel credits to the charge and was denied. I then called the executive line and asked for a one time exception and was denied again.

Abelian Grape

Did you buy it on mobile or desktop?


This was likely purchased on mobile and this is why it coded as such.


I also just purchased a delta gift card on my desktop, and it came up as delta gift card… i didn’t even bother contacting Chase to get it reimbursed.


Seat assignment/upgrades on AA last month. No issue whatsoever, did it by phone.


“did it by phone” — the upgrade or the request for credit?


If you are willing to lie it’s still easy to use. If you are not willing to lie but willing to risk finding a rep who doesn’t ask questions it can still be used occasionally for things outside the terms. The easiest use for the Ritz card is follow the terms. Each time I’ve called they have asked me what the charge was for and I’ve been able to say exactly what it was because it was specifically listed in the terms, no problems.

Am I crazy for seeing lying to someone as different than allowing amex to auto refund my gift card purchase?


Type of Charge: Southwest Ticket Fare
Date of Charge: April 2018
Request: Secure Message – just said “for these charges on Southwest”
Success x2


used it on 3 occasions of lounge access outside the priority lounge program, twice for on flight internet accesses, 1 time for united upgrades, all through secured messages, all were refunded within 12 hours no questions asked.


1. AA Award Fees & Taxes
2. June 2018
3. Phone
4. Success

1. AA Gift Card (purchase from desktop aa site)
2. July 2018
3. Phone
4. Success

1. United baggage
2. March 2018
3. Phone
4. Success


1. Amtrak coach tickets for 2 adults and 2 kids
2. July 11 2018 at Amtrak.com
3. Phone call request to use credit for the $174 charge
4. Success. First was told that the credit wouldn’t work if it was simply for ticket purchase, but WOULD work if it was for an upgrade or something similar. So I told the rep it was an upgrade from coach to business class and she approved it immediately. I have a sneaking suspicion I got lucky with a nice rep.


You are not the only one got lucky! I just got approved within 20 mins without question asked. $133 out of $246 for train.


I wouldn’t call it luck I would say you lied. Maybe if you are saying you were lucky that you found a rep who didn’t care you were lying.


Thanks for your insight karma police.


United mileage transfer fee


Used the whole credit in one transaction for $421 in AS upgrades (via upfare to instant-upgrade fare class), via phone. That’s a legitimate expense, but I wasn’t asked and didn’t volunteer anything but the amount and the date.


OK, today. Via Secure Message. I sent a nice email, asking that my Frontier charges be reimbursed. I said (truthfully) that I had bought a Discount Den. (Look, I hate Gruntier more than you do, but they screwed me and my wife over and gave us a grand in vouchers… So… Whatevs. We’ll hang out at the lounge drinking while they tell us the flight is canceled.) The truth is more complicated… I had vouchers. The vouchers covered the DD purchase. The actual charges were taxes, I think, for booking using vouchers. But, in fact, in that order, I really did buy a DD membership… so I was ready to provide documentation. But they didn’t ask, they just reimbursed me the $$. Here’s the message:

Michael, we credited your Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit
Card account for the transaction you recently inquired
about for $27.95. You can see this on one of your next two
credit card statements.

You have $272.05 remaining of the $300.00 Annual Travel
Credit benefit for the 2018 calendar year.


1. AA mileage redeposit fees ($150 and $25, one transaction)
2. 2017
3. Secured message.
4. Approved

For what it’s worth, I do not lie about these. Sometimes I will look to define it generally and see if they ask for additional information, but I never mislead. Especially in a secure message. I don’t still have the message but my recollection is that I would have been fairly accurate, albeit general, in how I referred to the fee, and I expected denial but it was approved.


I have used them for AA stretch seating (this month) and they also covered the $5.60 award booking fee over the phone; when I tried to use them for the SWA award booking fee with SM, it was denied; worked for SWA internet and American Airlines internet over the phone.

Ivan X

Have submitted multiple times for claimed seat upgrades on DL and AA, always via SM, always for $50-$80, both in 2017 and Jan 2018. Never any problem.


I have 2 cards and have been using them for about 3 years. Always reimbursed AA gift cards or tickets. Sometimes the full amount sometimes a part of it. Only once I had problems.


What do you tell them to get it reimbursed?


Clear ID (clearme.com) Annual fee, Southwest Earlybird and Southwest WiFi
Success on all 🙂


SM Chase for aeroplan surcharges for award redemption


used on onboard wifi & seat upgrade at airport & call-up airline. one rule of thumb given was if this is done on the web site vs with a human operator it is not eligible – not sure if its accurate.


Actually did a post about that (http://pointsmilesandmore.com/index.php/2017/12/15/chase-ritz-carlton-travel-credit/) but basically anything from an airline $50 and under, including gift cards, and Gogo passes. My tips are to bundle all the charges together when sending a SM and label each one – $50 for “baggage fees” even if it’s a gift card. Rep will care less about nitpicking one charge when it’s sandwiched between 10 others.

Also, stock up on Gogo passes if you’re towards the end of the year. They’ll just sit on your account and an easy way to use up your travel credit if needed.

Berkeley Girl

I used mine for our CLEAR membership (airport security). Operator approved both my fee as well as my spouse’s membership fees.
April charges (called in June). No issues approx $200 for both charges (total)


I was wondering about this…


@Berkeley Girl, what kind of fee/charge did you tell the operator?

Berkeley Girl

@anna I told them to use my $300 travel credit and explained it was similar to the TSA Global entry but I didn’t have time to make appointment (so I never get that benefit), so was wanting to use the travel credit for CLEAR. She confirmed it was fine. I called back another day and request a CLEAR charge for my spouse’s membership be used towards the $300 travel credit and that was no problem either.


During the past 18 months, I’ve used it for in-fight wi fi (many times–my preferred use), United baggage fees, a United lounge day pass (end of the year just to kill the remaining credit), and an upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy on JAL. Always called in. Never an issue.


AA gift card in March for $300. SM-ed and was asked the nature of the charge and for proof. Said I had no receipt, but it was to cover bike fees at $150 each way (which is the actual price). They applied the credit with no issue after that.


@Chris – Awesome!! Where did you purchase the AA gift card?


Direct from AA on their desktop site. Posted just as American Air. I just checked, it posted April 15 and the credit was given April 18.


Thank you so much for the good info – I receive my card next week & wanna knock most of that (yet another) $450 fee out quick!


Enjoy the welcome package! It’s fantastic.


What is the welcome package? Could I dump my Prestige for this card?


Just the package the card came in was very nice. Felt premium for once. As far as dumping the Prestige, that would be a very personal decision. These are very different cards with totally different benefits. Do you use 4th night free much? Do you value Thank You Points? I’d look for a Prestige replacement more in the Amex Plat or the CSR.



I do enjoy the Citi Prestige benefits but never use the 4th night free benefit as we enjoy trying different hotels when we travel and my wife works for the Marriott so we get cheap stays. I do value TYPs but I also have a Premier card. I can transfer to airline partners with the Premier, right? Since the 1.8c/point to AA got axed on the Prestige, there isn’t much benefit there anyways. The only good thing is I have the $350 annual fee that was grandfathered in from having a Citigold account before. So you don’t think the Ritz can really replace the Prestige? Why?


oh yes, Chris, super luxe! I’ve never held a card so flippin’ heavy, absorbs as much heat, or comes pre-activated. thx for the heads-up, gonna buy my AA gc’s now!


@Chris – thx, too, for the (2) $150 AA gc idea, worked beautifully for 2 bike fees 😉 & did NOT display as gc for me either on my RC activity

Brandon Sosa

Did you purchase the physical GC’s or the digital ones?


Digital (& just did again for this year’s credit).

Just a Note

Not terribly recent (earlier this year, hoping to try at least double dip, if not triple), but purchased three AA gift cards for $100 each. Did it separately – one one week, then one the next, then one the week after. After each one fully posted – not just pending – called in, played dumb about not remembering how to request credit, rep was always very helpful and all were credited without a problem. Usually a day or two after the call. In my experience, playing dumb and letting them be helpful vs. being confrontational usually helps. 🙂


@ Just a Note – this is exactly what I wiould like to do. Can you please tell me where you purchased the AA gc’s (AA’s website?) & what was said over your conversatiion with the rep? For instance did the rep ask about the nature of the charge (since round nos)? Thank you

Just a Note

Purchased at giftcards.aa.com, following link from aa.com. After the charge posts, call the number on the card and say you would like to apply your travel credit. They will confirm dates and amounts. If you are worried, act like you don’t know what you are doing. It always helps with me. 🙂


I was able to use 100% of it by booking a $49 Wanna Get Away fare on Southwest and then paying to upgrade to a Business Select fare for $352. No questions asked and this was done on my first call. As soon as the annual travel credit posted, I cancelled the flight and got $49 in Travel Funds to use later on Southwest and was fully refunded the rest.


was your upgrade done by phone?


No, I upgraded from Wanna Get Away to Business Select online.


Genius! I might get the card now knowing I can do this. SW will actually refund the upgrade fee and not give you travel credit for it?


Yes, since Business Select fares are fully refundable, I got a refund for the amount I paid over the Wanna Get Away fare. That amount remained a travel fund.



They didn’t claw back the $300 when they saw you cancelled the fare?


Air France reimbursement of award fees paid After I bought Delta gift cards they posted as gift cards so I didn’t bother to call


Last 2 weeks: emirates coach twin seat upgrade, then a delta flight coach seat upgrade. Both amts were uneven like 176.43. Simply sent a message through chase website. The emirated 1 just said emirates on the cc statement, but the delta one actually said “delta seat upgrade”. No problem with either one and credit applied. Would love to know if this works with gift cards


1. Alaska award fees. (Claimed as “ Premium Economy” seat upgrades)
2. Late 2016 & early 2017
3. Secure message
4. All good


Delta upfare. I bought tickets in coach, then called Delta to upfare them to A (significantly cheaper than paying the upgrade fee they offered). Then I secure messaged Chase and got the fee reimbursed.


1. Delta award redemption fees, American award redemption fee, Delta in-flight food, American ticket (I used GCs for most of the purchase, so only the difference, about $120, went on the card)
2. Over the last four weeks
3. Phone
4. All success! I just said that I had seven total airline reimbursement requests, and she added them all up without me having to go through to justify each one. She just found each of the airline charges and reimbursed them, no questions asked!


My wife had Southwest companion pass last year (2017). We took many flights using the pass and used our Ritz airline credit to do Southwest early check in on many of the flights. We called to get the credit and never had an issue.


I used 100% of it for an Icelandair upgrade this year and 100% last year for seat selection. I was denied multiple times both calling and messaging trying to use it for flight change fees and gift cards. This is really hard to use outside the confines of the program, IMHO


I think it depends on the rep 100%. Did message once for a delta 50$ gc, they said no gift cards. Did it again last week same thing they approved it. I only say “I want to use my annual travel credit on this charge here.” My Mom bought a 200$ delta gift card and called but was denied. She then messaged and it was approved.


Forgot to add all of these actions took place in the last 2-3 months so very recently.


I bought a $50 delta gift card on 7/23. It said gift card on statement an so far has been denied.