Our luxury travel concierge clients often ask about the best way to get a free upgrade to the club-level lounge At Ritz-Carlton hotels. They want to know if there’s a sneaky backdoor trick that means they can book the standard room at a Ritz-Carlton and then enjoy all the trappings of the club level lounge.
It is no surprise that the Ritz-Carlton club level is highly sought after. We have reviewed the best Ritz-Carlton club lounges and they are easily some of the best club lounges in the world. They include drinks throughout the day and five food presentations in a hugely luxurious lounge, often with incredible views.
Below, we outline how you can get the best deal and reduce the cost of an upgrade to a club level lounge at Ritz-Carlton hotels.
1. Book with a Stars travel Agency
Book your stay at any Ritz-Carlton via our luxury travel concierge, a Stars travel Agency, to get resort credit, free breakfast, free room upgrades (subject to availability), free welcome gift, and your usual Marriott Bonvoy points. It costs nothing to ask us for a quote, and we can usually help you squeeze some extra value from your stay.
No agencies, not even Official Ritz-Carlton Stars agencies like our concierge, can gift you a free upgrade to club level. Our free room upgrades are to the next level of room at the hotel. If you book with our agents, you can enjoy all our valuable free Stars benefits and can almost always get a better deal than booking directly at any Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Even though our agents prioritise room upgrades for our clients, we cannot offer free club lounge upgrades at Ritz-Carlton hotels. We do offer a free upgrade to club lounge at some InterContinental hotels.
Our benefits may negate the need for the club lounge as a filling breakfast is included along with $100 USD hotel credit that can be used on one evening to cover your food needs. The prioritized room upgrade also means that you’ll get a very nice room at the hotel, so you may be less inclined to require an alternative place to hang out to work and relax.
If you still want to upgrade to a Ritz-Carlton lounge, the only way to do this is to book a club level room and pay for it. There is no travel agency or loyalty program that will upgrade your standard room to a club level room for free.
2. Become A High Tier Loyalty Member
While high tier Marriott Bonvoy members do enjoy extra free benefits, there’s no free Ritz-Carlton club lounge access for any loyalty member, whatever tier you are.
Platinum, Titanium, and Ambassador Elite Marriott Bonvoy members have access to Concierge/Executive/Club/Signature Club/M Club lounges at Marriott properties, including JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance, or Sheraton hotels, and they can also bring one guest to the lounge as long as the guest is staying in the same room. At the time of writing, you get Platinum Elite status after staying 50 nights a year at a Marriott property. To get Titanium Elite, you need to stay 75 nights each year.
But whether you are Platinum or Titanium Elite, you will not get free access to Ritz-Carlton club level lounges. To get access to a Ritz-Carlton club lounge you must book a club level room. It’s as simple as that. Marriott Bonvoy elite members don’t receive complimentary breakfast at Ritz-Carltons, nor do they receive lounge access.
It’s worth mentioning that JW Marriott lounges are worth considering and can be very, very good. You can read our review of the club lounge at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House in London to see what we have experienced in a JW Marriott club lounge and the photograph above is from the Sheraton Grand club lounge in London. These lounges can be accessed for free by Platinum or Titanium Elite Marriott Bonvoy members.
3. How About Credit Cards?
There is a Ritz-Carlton credit card that is no longer open to new applicants and has an annual fee of $450 USD. One of the perks of this card is that you can upgrade three stays (of up to seven nights each) per year to the Ritz-Carlton club level.
Although this sounds good, you have to book a specific rate directly through Marriott by phone, and these rates are higher than those on the website. As they say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. In this case, the savings may be negligible, and booking a club room directly may still offer more value.
4. How Much More Is Club Level Going To Cost Me?
At the cheapest Ritz-Carlton hotels which are usually in Asia, upgrading to club level can cost less than $100 USD. To upgrade your room to club level at the best Ritz-Carlton hotels in America and Europe, the cost to upgrade to club level can be closer to $500 USD.
5. Do All Ritz-Carlton Hotels Have Club Lounges?
Not all Ritz-Carlton hotels have club lounges. Most do. Good examples of excellent Ritz-Carlton club lounges include the club lounge at Ritz-Carlton Maui, Hawaii which is one of the best club lounges on Hawaii, and the lounge at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park which is one of the best club lounges in New York. Other luxury Ritz-Carlton hotels, like the Ritz-Carlton Vienna, don’t have a club level or lounge.
6. Are Ritz-Carlton Club Lounges Worth It?
Ah, the age-old question of whether it’s worth paying for this upgrade. In our opinion, this mainly depends on whether you intend to spend a lot of time in this club lounge and whether you intend to use all the meal offerings.
For example, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando has a fabulous club lounge with a balcony where you can watch the Disney fireworks display. If you intend to spend your days within the resort and your evenings on the balcony enjoying the fireworks, then yes, this lounge is definitely worth paying for.
However, if you are spending all day at the parks and just intend to use the lounge at breakfast and in the evening, it’s harder to justify the cost. Particularly as you could book the standard room via our luxury travel concierge and get a fabulous breakfast included for free.
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