While there are a few credit cards out there that gives you complimentary airport Priority Pass Lounge access, they have restrictions on how many times you can visit a lounge per year or how many guests you can take into the lounge with you each time. 

One credit card that actually stands out is the Chase Ritz-Carlton credit card. Although this credit card has been discontinued for new applicants, it’s still available for an upgrade but only if you have an eligible Chase Marriott Bonvoy personal credit card. The card also has a high annual fee of $450, but don’t let that scare you yet because if this card is not worth that fee, I wouldn’t personally keep it in my wallet each year. 

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    Maximizing The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card $450 Annual Fee

    The annual fee of the Ritz-Carlton credit card is $450. However, you receive the following key travel benefits: 
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit. Although according to the term, you can only use this credit for qualifying airline purchases such as baggage fees, seat upgrades and preferred lounge memberships or passes. But in practice, you can use this credit for other airline fees including airfare. See what triggers this $300 annual travel credit here. If you can use this credit every year, that’ll bring down the annual fee to $150.
    • You also receive one Marriott Free Night every year for redemption level up to 50k points category 6 properties. There are quite a handful of expensive Marriott hotels and resorts in the world in that category. So you can maximize that free night certificate easily that’s worth much more than $150. Moreover, when Marriott implemented off-peak award pricing, you can use this free night certificate for a Category 7 property on an off-peak date, which opens more opportunities for the redemption of that free night certificate. 
    • In addition, you also receive $100 Global Entry statement credit. 
    • You get complimentary Unlimited Priority Pass Lounge access as an account holder, and you can bring unlimited guests with you into the lounge as well. 

    Complimentary Unlimited Priority Pass Lounge Access and Unlimited Guests

    The Chase Ritz-Carlton credit card is currently the only credit card that offers unlimited guests access so you and your travel companions can all enjoy the lounge at the same time. This is huge for a group of travelers such as family travelers. But that’s not all, you can add an authorized user to the Ritz card for free and that AU can also receive his or her own Priority Pass Membership card with the same unlimited guests policy as you in case s/he is not traveling with you. 

    Free Authorized User Has The Same Priority Pass Privileges

    The Ritz-Carlton credit card allows adding an authorized user without any additional fees. Other premium cards such as Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserved all charge  additional fee to add an authorized user. The best thing about adding an AU to the Ritz card is that you can request additional Priority Pass Membership card for the AU, they can use that membership card to enter the lounge without your presence and best of all, they can bring as many guests as they want into the lounge with them. The primary member's access and unlimited guests policy are pretty much the same as you, the account holder. 

    If you want to split the card’s $450 annual fee cost with a friend, this is a great benefit to convince him/her. 

    However, please be mindful about adding an Authorized User to a credit card because it does count towards Chase 5/24. An explanation is needed for the Chase credit analyst about this if your AU is denied for a Chase credit card because of that AU card. 

    Chase Priority Pass Also Allows Participating Airport Restaurants Access

    There are airport restaurants that participate in the Priority Pass program. So instead of entering a lounge for free, you receive instant credits that can be applied to the bills at an airport restaurant at the time of payment. However, not all credit cards that offer Priority Pass Membership allow restaurants access. Any Priority Pass that is issued by American Express cannot be used at participating airport restaurants. The Chase Ritz-Carlton's Priority Pass, on the other hand, can access every airport restaurants that are part of the Priority Pass program.

    Should You Upgrade to Ritz-Carlton Credit Card?

    Having access to global airport Priority Pass Lounge and restaurants is a great perk to elevate your airport layover experiences. it is more fun when you can take all your traveling parties with you into the lounge to enjoy the lounge’s amenities, food and drinks together. 

    With the card having such a high annual fee of $450, if you are not going to travel often to take advantage of all the travel benefits that this card offers to justify that annual fee every year, then this credit card is not something you should upgrade to. Everyone’s priorities are different when it comes to traveling. I enjoy lounge access to relax and get some food and drinks. I also love inviting my friends and travel companions to enter the lounge with me. Every year I also travel a few times to use up the $300 travel credit and can use the Marriott free night certificate at a nice resort such as the ones in Hawaii, so overall I can maximize the Ritz-Carlton credit card’s benefits enough that it’s worthwhile for me to keep holding on to this credit card. I sure hated to pick and choose who I want to take into an airport lounge with me when my Priority Pass had limited guests policy, but with the Ritz-Carlton credit card's Priority Pass Membership I do not have to worry about that. 

    How To Upgrade To Ritz-Carlton Credit Card?

    First of all, you must have an eligible personal Marriott Bonvoy credit card in order to upgrade to the Ritz-Carlton credit card because this credit card is no longer available for new applications. You have to call Chase using the phone number on the back of your current Marriott’s credit card and request the upgrade. It’s worth mentioning that it is also possible to downgrade back to your previous low annual fee Marriott card should you decide that the Ritz-Carlton credit card is not the right card for you down the road. 

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