Ritz-Carlton Tier Changes May 16, 2013 mostly impact USA hotels

15 of the 23 hotels rising one tier level in Ritz-Carlton Rewards hotel category reassignment May 16, 2013 are located in the USA.


There are 78 Ritz-Carlton hotels globally. 39 of these 78 Ritz-Carlton hotels are in the USA.

The good news is Ritz-Carlton Bahrain is dropping by one tier level from RZ2 (40,000 points per night) to RZ1 (30,000 points per night) when new Marriott Rewards hotel award category reassignments take effect May 16, 2013.

The worse news comes with the 10,000 points increase for award nights at 23 Ritz-Carlton hotels rising in hotel award reassignments.

Link to the Marriott Rewards/Ritz-Carlton Rewards announcement of 2013 tier changes.

Link to Marriott Rewards pdf of 1,300+ hotels rising in hotel award category May 16, 2013.

Historical Perspective on Ritz-Carlton Rewards

23 out of 78 hotels (30% globally) rising 10,000 points per reward night is a huge devaluation for members. Seven of nine hotels in the USA currently at RZ1 for 30,000 points per night will rise to 40,000 points per night; 33% increase.

The perspective to keep in mind is Ritz-Carlton Rewards was created and launched during the height of the hotel travel meltdown in the luxury sector. Luxury hotels took the largest hit to room rates in the Great Recession with many luxury hotels dropping average rates from the $300 to $400 per night range down to the $150 to $250 per night range.

Ritz Carlton Rewards Loyalty Program Launching Sep 15 (Sep 14, 2010) and Reward Changes in new Ritz Carlton Reward Tiers (Sep 15, 2010) are my Loyalty Traveler posts showing the launch of Ritz-Carlton Rewards and the Tier changes from the former system of Tier 1 (45,000 points per night) and Tier 2 hotels (75,000 points per night). The old system for award nights had high single night rates, but gave bigger discounts on extended stays.

The current system of five tiers for Ritz-Carlton award nights offers 5th night free.

The luxury hotel market segment has made the greatest gains in rising room rates over the past two years.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Tier Distribution (Sep 15, 2010)

72 hotels:

  • Tier 1 = 20 hotels
  • Tier 2 = 26 hotels
  • Tier 3 = 18 hotels
  • Tier 4 = 7 hotels
  • Tier 5 = 1 hotel

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Tier Distribution (Feb 14, 2013)

78 hotels:

    • Tier 1 = 21 hotels
    • Tier 2 = 28 hotels
    • Tier 3 = 21 hotels
    • Tier 4 = 5 hotels
    • Tier 5 = 3 hotels


Ritz-Carlton Rewards Tier Distribution (May 16, 2013)

78 hotels:

  • Tier 1 = 14 hotels (8 hotels move to RZ2, 1 hotel down RZ2 to RZ1)
  • Tier 2 = 28 hotels (7 hotels move to RZ3, 1 hotel moves to RZ1, 8 hotels enter from RZ1)
  • Tier 3 = 20 hotels (8 hotels move to RZ4, 7 hotels enter from RZ2)
  • Tier 4 = 13 hotels (8 hotels enter from RZ3)
  • Tier 5 = 3 hotels (no changes)

The net result is a general shift upwards in categories with Tier 1 becoming much smaller and Tiers 2-4 growing as one-third of Ritz-Carlton Hotels are reassigned to the next higher tier.

15 of the 23 hotels rising in award tier are located in the USA. My attendance at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit at the JW Marriott Los Angeles last month indicated hotel industry management has high expectations for 2013 and the luxury hotel market segment seemed most optimistic about their ability to push room rates higher. If you follow financial news, then you know the markets appear strong right now, corporations have money, and the rich are accumulating more wealth.

Ritz-Carlton is a luxury hotel brand by all standards and it can be expected that a strategy of rising hotel rates in 2013 is accompanied by rising award rates. And the hotel industry is looking at the USA as the leading indicator of improved travel demand and rising room rates.

Most of the Ritz-Carlton Rewards hotel award changes impact US hotels. That is to be expected and this trend of higher award rates will also be apparent in an analysis of the changes in the Marriott Rewards hotel category reassignment for 2013.

Ritz-Carlton Tier Changes May 16, 2013


The Ritz-Carlton Rewards tier changes disproportionately impact the US hotels with 7 of 9 Tier 1 Ritz Carlton hotels rising from 30,000 points to 40,000 points per night and 5 of 14 Ritz-Carlton Tier 2 hotels rising from 40,000 to 50,000 points as Tier 3 awards.

This is a good time to burn points if Ritz-Carlton award stays are in your plans. Reservations can be booked 350 days in advance and the current award tiers are in place through May 15, 2013 meaning you can book stays through April 2014 using the current award tiers.

May 16, 2013 is the date the new award tiers for Ritz-Carlton take effect.

Related Post: Marriott May 16, 2013 hotel category reassignment: An Overview (Feb 13, 2013)

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. […] Originally Posted by DFWFairy Planning to spend my rewards points at the Berlin RC for the first time. As a Gold member, I wonder if an reward booking can get us an upgraded room/club level access. Unlikely. Can't hurt to ask though. Book quickly – Most Ritz are going up a category (more points) in May… (Not sure if the one you mention is on the list…) Ritz-Carlton Tier Changes May 16, 2013 mostly impact USA hotels http://boardingarea.com/loyalt…ct-usa-hotels/ […]


  1. The Ritz-Carlton in Cayman and St. Thomas are both going up. I know these hotels are expensive, but this makes them nearly impossible to redeem. You need hundreds of thousands of points for a short getaway to the Caribbean at these hotels now.

    Looks like the two Westins are even more solid as my hotels of choice in Grand Cayman and the Virgin Islands, each of which only costs 12,000 Starwood points.

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