Chase Ritz-Carlton Annual Fee Waiver Trick

When miles and travel community talks about the “best” premium card the two on top are always CSR and Platinum. In some rare cases Citi Prestige gets thrown on the same list but almost nobody ever mentions the Ritz-Carlton Visa Infinite card which typically comes with an annual fee of $450. But what if the annual fee on Ritz card could be waived all together?

The trick I’m about to mention is essentially the more popular and much older version of another trick I had shared earlier this year – Prestige Loophole: get paid $100 annually to hold this card! In order to get your first year annual fee waived, all you have to do is reduce the card’s credit limit to $1500. Why does this work you ask? The answer is most likely the CARD Act:

The CARD Act and implementing regulations provide that an issuer may not require consumers to pay fees (other than penalty fees) during the first year in which an account is opened which exceed 25% of the total initial credit line.

But if you do the numbers $450 is 25% of $1800 not $1500, so why am I asking you to reduce it to $1500? Well this is because some old Ritz-Carlton holders (like myself) are still locked into $395 fee. While 25% of $1580 is $395 I think remembering “1500” is far easier than remembering $1580. Also I have not seen a DP on $1800 CL and I suppose nobody wants to bother testing it.

What about the Following Years?

There is no known method or pattern to why some people continue to get annual fee waived in the years that follow while others get annual fee charged as soon as year two.  If you get annual fee waived then this card potentially pays you an annual sum of $300 to renew.

On the other hand, if you don’t get your annual fee waived, please do not make a fuss about it and move on. You could either try for a retention offer (often 1 free night at category 1-4 property) or simply Product Change Chase Ritz-Carlton Card to Marriott Card.

Possible Negative Consequences?

The question “can you get in trouble for making use of this trick?” is a rather interesting one. Remember that while the 1st year AF waiver is likely due to CARD Act, Chase may still choose to terminate their relationship with you because they don’t like you making use of it (obviously they won’t state so). Also, the subsequent waiver (if any) in following years is due to a loophole in their system and again Chase may not take it kindly to you abusing their system.

So the whole thing ultimately boils down to three questions:

  1. how much do you value your Chase relationship? If you’re one of those Chase banned guys who can only get Ritz card then you probably don’t care as much.
  2. how little attention do you think you can bring to your account? For example, if I’m getting annual fee waived and thus getting free annual $300, I would not draw attention to my account by attempting to get a retention offer…but to each their own.
  3. Has anyone been shutdown for this reason? This tick has existed for many years and has extensively discussed in like Flyertalk. As far as I know nobody has been banned yet for abusing this loophole but it isn’t like Chase will tell banned costumers “we banned you because you abused Ritz loophole”.



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