I'm curious about this as well as I haven't used any of my Ritz upgrade certificates yet either. There are a couple of Ritz properties in Northern Va that offer much lower weekend rates. I may just have to give it a try one weekend to see what all the fuss is about.
The RC card isn't available here in the UK, so I don't have these certificates. I'm not sure I'd bother with the card anyway as it's expensive and I'm already LTGold and Gold membership seems to be the main benefit of the card. I can easily see the value in the $375(?) fee for anyone who enjoys breakfast staying about 20 nights pa in FS Marriott hotels.
The other reason Im not bothered about the card is that I don't stay at RCs. They're far more expensive than Marriotts wherever I go and don't offer free lounge access or breakfast as benefits to Gold/Plat. I wasn't however at all aware of these lounge certs until last week. They certainly can add to the cards value!
Anyhow, I still don't have the card and as a LTGold Brit who doesn't stay at RCs, I'm never likely too but as I'm now reserving my first ever RC stay at the Toronto Ritz on points I'm thinking of jumping for the $100/night club upgrade. Does anyone have any experience of the Toronto Ritz, and is the club worth the extra $100/night? Toronto is my wife's home town and we're both familiar with it so we'll just be hanging around the hotel for the weekend...
i had made my reservation for the ritz carlton SF at the regular rate of 399. i called Marriott rewards and after a couple transferred calls they finally got my room to the upgraded club level. weird thing is, i dont know if they attached the upgrade certificate correctly or if the hotel gets it at check in because all 3 are still showing. And they also lowered my rate to 379 without me even asking for a lower rate or anything(does not say aaa or anything) . I dont know if they have seen ive used the aaa rate before at other Marriott properties or if it was because they took a while trying to get the room upgraded. Its like half a year from now but im so exited.
edit. never mind, they removed the certificate from my account now
I stayed in the club level there, too. I was the first to stay in the newly renovated room. The regular rate was $399, which got reduced to $319 with the club-level certificate. Overall, I found that the club level there was nice, but not worth $100 a night unless you plan to drink a ton. The food offerings were ok, but not a substitute for meals. It is a Host Hotels & Resorts property, so they tend to skimp on things.
I have used the club level lounges at the Ritz in Atlanta, Jamaica and Hawaii. I did not have certificates nor did I stay on that level but I simply paid for the privileges upon check in. I can tell you that it is well worth it. At least 5 different food offerings per day. Any adult beverages all day. Very good service. I was once even asked, "if we don't have what you want, we can call down to the restaurant and get it for you!" It is staffed all day and you can pretty much get what you want or need.
I just wanted to let you all know, I appreciate your replies. I went ahead and used my certificate at the Philadelphia RC. It was awesome. First they up graded us to a suite. We got the best view, we were facing the Courthouse. The concierge lounge was open almost 24/7. They served complementary drinks, afternoon snacks and evening deserts. The next day we had breakfast and then a sandwich at noon before we left. The food was delicious. The staff attentive, and the view amazing. When we stay again, it will be using the certificates and have access to the lounge. I loved it, thanks Forum for your insights.
You can't. Your best bet to find the cheapest (refundable) rate is to book the cheapest rate you find, then call up ritz and try to add a club level upgrade to it. They'll tell you the cheapest rate possible for that. Z34 is usually going to be the one the tell you (as that gets you your $100 hotel credit, and is also elligible for club level upgrades, if your stay is 2-7 nights).
Alternatively you can just call up ritz reservations and then say "Hi, I want a room at <hotel> for <dates> and I want to use a club level upgrade.