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Middle Age Miles

When Does the Annual Free Night Certificate on the Ritz-Carlton Visa Card Post, and When Does It Expire?

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View from the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar at the Ritz-Carlton Vienna, which has a Standard award rate of 50,000 points per night [featured image courtesy Ritz-Carlton Vienna]

Introduction

The Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa (RC Visa) is one of our very favorite credit cards. We’ve extolled the value we get out of this card previously, most notably in our “Keep or Cancel” article from last year (Keep or Cancel – Chase Ritz Carlton Visa Card – Plus Retention Call Results (October 19, 2018)), and we’ll soon be writing and publishing an updated “Keep or Cancel” article on the card for this year. Unfortunately, the RC Visa card is no longer available for new applications, but you can still get it by product-changing from a Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card.

One of the valuable benefits of the RC Visa card is an annual “anniversary” free night certificate, good for a free night up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. In this article, we’ll take a look at when the anniversary free night certificate posts, and when it expires. The answers may be surprising, because they’re different than what you’d find on some other cards and/or what they’ve been in the past for this card.

Quick Review of the RC Visa 50k Annual Free Night Certificate

As we mentioned, the RC Visa comes with an annual free night certificate. You should be able to use the certificate for a free night as long as Marriott is showing award availability for a one-night stay for 50,000 points or less.

As a reminder, the following types of stays cost 50,000 points per night at Marriott Bonvoy properties:

  • A *Peak* night stay at a Category 5 hotel
  • A *Standard* night stay at a Category 6 hotel
  • An *Off-Peak* night stay at a Category 7 hotel

When Does the RC Visa 50k Annual Free Night Certificate Post?

On many cards these days, including other Marriott co-branded cards such as the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card and the line-up of Amex Marriott co-branded cards, the free night award does not post until several weeks after the annual fee comes due. This ensures that you have to pay the annual fee at renewal before receiving your free night certificate.

The RC Visa card, though, is different. The 50k annual free night certificate on the RC Visa card still posts very soon after your actual anniversary date. The certificate will be in your Marriott Bonvoy account long before you have to pay your annual fee, and probably even before your annual fee posts. That means that if you want to close your account (yikes!) or product change to the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card (also yikes!), you’ll still have the certificate and be able to use it.

In our situation, our anniversary date is September 21. Our 50k annual free night certificate posted 2 days later, on September 23. (It may be worth noting that Sept 21 fell on a Saturday this year. The posting date of Monday, Sept 23 was the first business day falling on or after our card anniversary date.)

Here’s a screenshot of the activity in our Marriott Bonvoy account:

We certainly appreciate Chase & Marriott providing this annual benefit immediately on our actual anniversary date instead of requiring us to pay the annual fee first.

When Does the RC Visa 50k Annual Free Night Certificate Expire?

Our new RC Visa 50k annual free night certificate expires on 9/23/2020, exactly 1 year after it was issued.

This is consistent with how expiration dates work on free night certificates from other Marriott co-branded cards from Chase & Amex. However, it represents a change from when these certificates have expired in the past. Last year, our annual free night certificate didn’t expire until 1/29/2020 – a little more than 16 months after it was issued.

Given the change in expiration policy for the RC Visa 50k annual free night certificate, we wanted to be sure to give you a heads-up.

One other point worth noting here is that we’ve seen numerous data points recently where Marriott Bonvoy was willing to extend a free night certificate by a year when the member called in to ask. We have a confirming personal data point on this as well. Just last week, a Bonvoy agent extended a free night certificate for us by 1 year when we asked if they could do so. This was a nice customer service gesture, which we appreciated, particularly in light of the times we and others have been “Bonvoyed” with bad experiences in the past few months. We do hold Titanium status with Bonvoy and called in on the Titanium line, but we don’t get the impression that our elite status was necessary in order for our free night certificate to be extended by a year. So, if you can’t use a Marriott free night certificate before it expires, be sure to call and ask nicely if it can be extended.

Conclusion

50k annual free night certificates can be used at some very nice Marriott Bonvoy hotels across the world. We’re really looking forward to planning out where we’ll be using ours in the year to come!


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