Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa airline fee credits: What works? (original version)

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Original post follows…

The Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa Infinite card offers $300 per year in airline fee reimbursements.  These reimbursements can certainly help to mitigate the $450 annual fee if you can put them to good use.

Chase Ritz airline fee credits are offered by calendar year.  For example, Ritz cardholders can get up to $300 in fee credits for charges made up until December of this year, and $300 more for charges made next calendar year.

What purchases count… officially?

Eligible incidental fees include:

  • Airline lounge day pass
  • Yearly lounge membership of your choice
  • Airline seat upgrades
  • Airline baggage fees
  • In-flight internet/entertainment
  • In-flight meals and drinks
  • Global Entry fees

And, officially, the following purchases are not deemed to be incidental fees:

  • Airline tickets
  • Mileage points purchases
  • Mileage points transfer fees
  • Gift cards
  • Duty free purchases
  • Award tickets

What purchases count… unofficially?

Sometimes purchases of gift cards, award fees, or even low-cost airfare are reimbursed even though they shouldn’t be.

The key that makes the Chase Ritz-Carlton card different from some other premium cards is that the fee reimbursement is not automatic on this card. You will need to either call in to speak with an agent or send a secure message in order to request reimbursement. This means you will be relying on a human to manually credit the reimbursement….and therefore relying on that human’s interpretation of what works and scrutiny (or lack thereof) regarding your charge.

If you are looking to get reimbursed for gift cards, you may want to consider denominations that line up with fees that would ordinarily qualify for the credit.  Gift cards purchased in a denomination that correlates with the associated fee for a checked or overweight bag, for instance, might be more likely to be reimbursed. On the other hand, if the charge shows up on your statement as “AIRLINE ABC – GIFT CARDS”, an agent may deny reimbursement even if you had purchased in an appropriate denomination.  Secure message may be an easier method than phone, though some report the opposite is true. The things that work or don’t work vary by airline and by agent and may change over time.  Something that worked in the past won’t necessarily work today — but since the best way to predict future behavior is by looking at past behavior, we will collect datapoints here to try to determine the trends.

Remember that a successful data point is more powerful than a negative datapoint in that a successful data point shows something is possible. Recognize that in some cases, you may need to HUCA (Hang up, Call again) or send a message again in order to be successful.

This resource page will be maintained and updated as we receive reader data. If you have recently attempted to receive reimbursement via your Ritz travel credit, please comment to add your data points including:

  1. Type of charge
  2. Date of charge
  3. Requested via phone or secure message
  4. Success or failure

The following table shows the unofficial stuff that works or doesn’t work with each airline that we have collected so far (note that I am including some things that officially count as well, like a seat upgrade in economy class on Lufthsana as readers sometimes ask about charges from foreign carriers and for small upgrades like extra legroom, etc):


What works? Recent reports
Award fees (Linh)

Air France

What works? Recent reports
Award fees 7/2018 (JustSayin)


Recent reports
What works?  
Upgrade to first class during booking process (booking a coach ticket, click “upgrade” to book it as first class – save screen shots in case)($260) 12/2016 (Flyertalk)
Seat assignment / upgrade 8/2018 (Angie)
$100 gift cards* (Note that reports indicate the charge may now appear as “American Airlines – Gift Cards” and no longer work. Secure Message is more likely to be successful than via phone.)

1/2017 (Flyertalk)

7/2018 (Just a Note)

3/2018 (Chris)

$75 gift cards (See note about $100 gift cards above) Dec 2018 (A G)
Award taxes ($170) 1/2017 (Doctor of Credit)
Award booking fee ($75) 7/2018 (NI)
Partial ticket purchase (part gift card, ~$120 on Ritz card) 7/2018 (Clay)
Award redeposit fees ($175) 1/2019 (Kimbra)


What works? Recent reports
Ticket purchase 7/2018 (Josh)

Alaska Airlines

What works? Recent reports
Award fees Early 2017 (Denise)


What works?  
Comfort+ seat upgrades ($109) 5/2017 (Flyertalk)
Gift cards ($50 / $200)* (See below) 7/2018 (Phillip)
Award fees 7/2018 (Clay)
In-flight food 7/2018 (Clay)
Upfare 7/2018 (Mike)
What doesn’t work? Recent reports 
Gift Card ($50) 10/2018 (Cherry)


Recent reports
What works?  
Award taxes & fees 2/2017 (Doctor of Credit)


Recent reports
What works?
Round trip flight. Asked for bag fees to be reimbursed, but all of it was 12/2018 (Billy Bob)


What works? Recent reports
 Cheap Flights (4x ~$34) 7/2018 (Austin)


What works?
Upgrade to extra legroom seating in economy class ($102) 5/2017 (Nick)


What works? Recent Reports
A1-A15 Boarding at gate ($40) 2/2018 (Nick)
Southwest in-flight Wi-Fi ($8) 2/2018 (Nick)
Gift cards ($75, $150)  (may no longer work. see below) 4/2017 (Flyertalk)
Early Bird Check In ($15) 5/2017 (Flyertalk)
Business Select upgrade 7/2018 (Abby)
What doesn’t work? Recent reports 
Southwest gift card ($75). Was told that purchase displayed as gift card
12/2018 (BML)


Recent reports
What works?
Award taxes ($130) 1/2017 (Doctor of Credit)


What works? Recent Reports
The Thrills Combo (checked bag, seat selection, etc) $212 (2 pax) 5/2018 (Nick)


What works? Recent reports
Mileage transfer fee 1/2018 (Eason)

WOW Airlines

What works?
Upgrade to XXL seating for 2 and checked baggage fees ($300 – paid bundled with ticket and extra charges represented the majority of the charge) 5/2015 (Nick)


What works? Recent reports
CLEAR membership

6/2018 (Berkeley Girl)


What doesn’t work? Recent reports 
CLEAR renewal
12/2019 (Ron)


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Rather than pay for a premium seat upgrade, I modified my Delta flight from coach to first class. Either way it was $169 to be upfront, but by modifying the flight I then will be able to retain the credit if I change the itinerary somehow. My request with Chase is pending. I did submit the original receipt with the original flights in coach and then the 2nd receipt for the $169 with the first class seats. This was done via secure messaging. Hopefully it will go through but I will post my results when known.


did it work?

P .

12/2018: CLEAR approved, luggage cart denied -> HUCA -> approved, Alaska bag fees approved

[…] Dec 2018 (A G) […]


In Dec 2018: Failure- CLEAR renewal. Applied via SM. Was sent a document that explains only Global Entry will get reimbursed. Success- AA $70 gift card. Success- my daughter got an offer to keep AA Gold elite status for about $300 (she wasn’t going to make it by flying, but was close). Used RC card, asked for reimbursement (had about $115 left to use before end of year), no problem.

P .

I called before I charged CLEAR and was told it is allowed and had no problem having it reimbursed after

[…] $300 in airline incidental fee credits (see: Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa airline fee credits: What works?) […]


Failure: $75 Southwest Gift Card purchased on 12/20. Called in on 1/12 to get reimbursement just like last 2 times ($100 each) a couple months ago, always successful with no questions asked. The agent said that it indicates a Gift Card purchase and says it doesn’t qualify. I sounded confused and at the end one time exception given and will credit me. So something has changed or info always there the previous agent didn’t check? But I am afraid even if I HUCA the next agent would see a note and deny too. Lucky she gave me the exception! Really need to find a way to use that $300 now!

Bro Bo

I purchased SW gift cards a couple months ago W/ the Ritz and sent a SM to Chase, they provided a credit right away. I wonder if sending a SM would work still or if something has changed.


Just curious: did you look at the statement after the gift card fees hit? Did it mention anything about “gift cards”?


I had similar experience. Earlier in 2018 I did 2x$75 Southwest GC and called in to get reimbursed and had no problems. I did 2x$75 in Q4 2018 and called in and they said they saw that it was GC and wasn’t reimbursable. After that, I tried SM and they reimbursed no questions asked.

Edit: I could not see any indication on the statement transaction that indicated it was a GC purchase.


1/3/19 : Secure message no documentation needed. $175 American Airlines redeposit fee. Showed AA then record locator and charge.


$75 AA Gift card on 12/28 – secure message for baggage fees with refund on 12/31

Billy Bob

They reimbursed Frontier round trip flight, bag, and seat – the whole shebang. Sent SM.


Did you actually tell them what the charge was for?

Billy Bob

There were bag fees in the total amount. I just asked them to reimburse those but they covered the entire cost. I probably could have been more specific but thought they’d pick them out.
And I just got my last $100 under the wire today: simple AA GC (didn’t show up as GC though) but had to use HUCA strategy via SM a few times. It’s hit and miss and depends on who you get I am certain. I’ll try to be better in 2019.


Pet fees are not applicable for any airline apparently.


12/4/18-purchased $120 e-gift card from American Airlines, requested credit through secure message, and approved! I know there were prior reports of gift cards showing up as gift card purchases recently, but that is not the case, nothing on my end showing it was a gift card purchase.


I purchased AA gift card and called to have reimbursed, first call was unable to process. Hung up and called again and second agent processed the refund. When I got the Ritz Carlton credit card statement it showed the AA purchase as a gift card. I think the second agent did not look at the charge very closely. May have to be more careful in the future.

[…] To help cut through the noise, we’ve created a page that lists the things that work with Amex: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?  This page is specific to Amex fee reimbursements, but many of the things that work with Amex are likely to work with other banks.  If something looks like an airline fee to Amex it often looks like an airline fee to the others too. We have a similar page for the Ritz-Carlton credit card: Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa airline fee credits: What works? […]


Type of charge: Fare-Hold
Date of charge: 7/16/2018
Requested via phone or secure message: Both
Success or failure: Failure


My current charges have two Delta “gift card” purchases on June 30. I decided to call and ask that my Delta charges on June 30 be credited. I winked and she winked back. That’s good because if I can’t get gift cards reimbursed then I’m canceling at renewal time.


You have in-flight meals but drinks also are included


Successfully got reimbursed for 4 $75 AA Gift Cards – contacted Chase via secure portal


Was able to use on Iberia flights during the 9,000 bonus points promo 🙂 I SM’d Chase and had no issues getting the credit. Posted on 6/29 for 4x ~$34 transactions. Received credits for them by 7/2 after secure message.


Are you saying chase reimbursed your $34 tickets purchased on IB? Did you claim they were some other fee to get this done?

Anonymous for this one

Gosh, these foreign airlines, you don’t have status with them, it’s so confusing, it feels like you just have to pay for the baggage and seat assignments in advance so that you don’t get hit with who-knows-what charges at the airport…


$75 AA award booking fee was credited within 24hrs of asking.

Ted E

(4x) $75 SW gift cards. I just tell them is for an oversized bag and they always refund it

Pat S

How long ago did you last do this?