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What’s the Difference Between Marriott Rewards vs Ritz Carlton Rewards?

by on Thu August 25, 2016 • 11 Comments


Some hotel loyalty programs have upper layers of top properties that have somewhat different rules. For example, Hilton HHonors has Waldorf Astoria, Priority Club has Intercontinental, and Marriott Rewards has Ritz Carlton.

The difference is, however, that Ritz Carlton is not just a brand collection of top quality hotels that operates within the confines of the same program, even though governed by somewhat different rules – it actually has its own loyalty program, Ritz Carlton Rewards.

Ritz Carlton even has a separate cobranded credit card that’s also, like Marriott Rewards, is issued by Chase.

Still, despite being marketed as separate programs, Marriott Rewards and Ritz Carlton Rewards are tightly intertwined with one another and in fact the programs are almost identical.

  • The point and status earning requirements are the same.
  • The redemption prices and hotels available are the same, too.
  • Status recognition is reciprocal – for example, Ritz Carlton Platinum members recieve Platinum recognition at Marriott and vice versa. You’ll be treated the same at a Ritz Carlton regardless of whether you’re a Marriott Platinum or Ritz Carlton Platinum. Note, however, that Platinum status gets you a better bang at Marriott as Platinums don’t even get access to the lounge at Ritz Carlton hotels.

Which Program Should You Choose?

The good news is that you can change your program affiliation any time, and keep all of your points and status progress intact.

The terms of both programs say:

“Members may transfer from the Marriott Rewards Program to The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Program or from The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Program to the Marriott Rewards Program at any time by contacting the relevant Rewards Program Guest Services office.

A Member’s Membership Number will remain the same when transferring between Rewards Programs and all accumulated Points and Elite night credits will transfer to the new Rewards Program selected.”

As for which is better, Ritz Carlton Rewards might be a better idea, simply because Ritz Carlton members can use both Ritz Carlton and Marriott free night-earning promotions like Megabonus, while Marriott Rewards members can generally only use promotions from Marriott Rewards.

If you have a Ritz Carlton account you might not get Marriott Rewards promotions directly mailed to you, but if you keep an eye on them you can register on your own.

Ritz Carlton also sometimes offers bonuses for elite qualifying nights to Ritz Carlton members for stays at Ritz hotels, and you can only enroll if your account is labeled as a Ritz Carlton account.

And the Ritz Carlton membership card looks more luxurious.

The downside is, some people say Ritz Carlton Rewards customer service is less consistent than Marriott Rewards customer service.

Marriott and Ritz Carlton Awards FAQ

Can you merge two Marriott and Ritz accounts?

No, you must be either a Marriott Rewards or Ritz Carlton Rewards member – you can’t have both tied to an account, and while it might be technically possible to have two separate accounts, the rules of the programs are that you can only have one account per person at a time.

Can you switch from one account to another online?

No, you have to contact Guest Services by phone or email.

Are there limits to how many times you can switch?

There are no official limits.

If you have a Marriott account and want a Ritz credit card – do you need to convert your account first?

No. You can sign up for the Ritz Carlton card with your Marriott Rewards number if you want to keep your primary relationship with Marriott.

If you have a Ritz account and want a Marriott credit card – do you need to convert?

No. You can sign up for a Marriott credit card with your Ritz Carlton Rewards number if you want to keep your primary relationship with Ritz Carlton.


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11 thoughts on What’s the Difference Between Marriott Rewards vs Ritz Carlton Rewards?

  1. Jaz

    If I opened a Ritz-Carlton card and link to my Marriott Reward account, do I earn Marriott points for all my purchases?

  2. Drew

    If I have a Marriott account and get a Ritz card do I get Marriot points when I buy things? If I use my ritz card at Marriott properties do I get 5 Marriott points?


      @Jay: According to the card terms and conditions: “Free Night Stay E-Certificates are valid for hotels in Tiers 1-4.” Because the certificates are only valid for hotels in tiers 1-4 and no categories (as defined by Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards), it can only be used at participating Ritz-Carlton rewards. This information is subject to change.

  3. Iain

    My apologies for digging this up. RC is currently having a 4 free night sign up bonus for there credit card. Is there any way to use those nights at Marriott properties?


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