Points Values Vary And Redemption Is Inflexible
Redemption of MyCruise points starts at 1,000 points for a $10 donation to the World Wildlife Fund’s ocean conservation project. Beyond that, points can be redeemed for a variety of cruise-related options, including room upgrades, discounts and onboard credit used for purchases made at the ship’s spa, gift shop, bar and so forth. You can also redeem for merchandise on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean’s other sister brand, Azamara.
Points are generally worth a penny each, but can be worth up to 2 cents each, depending on the redemption option. For example, redemption toward onboard credit will yield a redemption value of 1%. However, redeeming points for a five- to seven-night Royal Caribbean cruise will give you a redemption value of 2%. Because points have different values depending on what you chose to redeem them for, it can be confusing to determine the value of your points.
There are other limitations, too: cardholders can only earn up to 540,000 points per year and points expire after five years.
Royal Caribbean Credit Card
Royal Caribbean offers one co-branded credit card called the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Credit Card. This no-annual fee card earns MyCruise Points and gives you access to the MyCruise Rewards program.
With the Royal Caribbean Credit Card, you’ll earn double MyCruise Points on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises purchases. MyCruise Points are worth between 1 and 2 cent in value depending on how you redeem them which means you can earn as high as a 4% return on your spend with these three lines.
You must own either the Royal Caribbean Credit Card or Celebrity Cruises Visa Signature Credit Card to participate in the MyCruise Rewards program.
It Offers Meager Welcome Offers
The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card comes with the following offers for new cardholders :
Earn 10,000 bonus points when you make your first purchase with the card within 90 days of account opening. At the rate of a penny per point, this bonus is worth $100 in onboard credit, but as stated above, it can get you up to $200 depending on your redemption choice.
For a limited time, you can earn a $100 statement credit after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within 90 days of holding the card. This statement credit will be automatically applied toward your credit card bill.
The card also offers a $50 airfare discount through Royal Caribbeans Air2Sea program, after making at least $3,500 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. Note that students are not eligible for this offer and that the credit will expire 18 months after its issued.
You wont be able to get much out of these offers, especially considering the steep spending requirements and the cards mediocre earn rate. However, these bonuses are on par with, if not slightly more lucrative than, what other comparable cruise line cards offer.
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Full Review Of Royal Caribbean Visa Signature
Easy to earn bonus worth up to $100
$50 airfare discount on Royal Caribbeans Air2Sea program with qualifying purchases
Higher points earning rate available for two cruise lines
No annual fee
MyCruise points mostly good for cruising redemption options
Point earning rates arent outstanding
Points expire after five years
Limit of 540,000 MyCruise points per year
Is The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card Worth It
Its difficult to recommend the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card when other cards such as the Citi® Double Cash Card provide a better value over time. At best, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card provides a 2% rewards rate but only on Royal Caribbean purchases. Other purchases garner a lackluster rewards rate of 1%.
Whats worse about the card is that the benefits are fairly limited, as they’re only redeemable for cruise-related purchases. By contrast, a cashback cards rewards can be used toward cruise purchases, as well as any other type of purchase.
Frequent travelers who take cruises and other vacations may also do better with a general travel rewards card that offers more flexible points and better travel benefits. Many travel cards provide rewards rates of 2% or higher in a broader array of categories than the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases.
Bottom line: Even for a $0-annual-fee card, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card isnt worth writing home about. Most individuals will be better off with a 2% cashback credit card or a travel card that offers flexible rewards.
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American Express Cruise Privileges Program
If you have The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can also enjoy special benefits when booking through the American Express Cruise Privileges Program. Youll receive an onboard credit of up to $300 per room booked, 1 extra Membership Rewards point per dollar spent and additional amenities depending on the cruise line.
Amex cardholders should also watch for Amex Offers that can save additional money on select cruise bookings, though they often require you to book through a specific channel.
How Do I Setup A Royal Caribbean Seapass Or Onboard Expense Account
An Onboard Expense Account, also known as your Seapass® onboard account, is the cashless system used for all onboard purchases and services. Depending on your ship, SeaPass cards are handed out at the pier or will be in your stateroom waiting for you.
The account can be set-up with either a credit card, debit card or as a cash account during check-in or at the pier. You can also add guests from your stateroom or another stateroom as authorized purchasers on your account. For each purchase made onboard the ship you will receive a receipt. A preliminary statement will be delivered to your stateroom on the day prior to the final morning of your cruise vacation for your review. A final statement will be e-mailed to you shortly after departing the ship on the last day of your cruise.
If you set up your account with a card, shortly after departing the ship on the last day of your cruise, Royal Caribbean International® will automatically post the final charge to your card on file. Guests on a cash account will need to settle their statement onboard prior to disembarking.
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Royal Caribbean Credit Card Bonus Categories
The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card features the following bonus categories and earning rates:
- 2X Royal Caribbean
- 2X Azamara Club Cruises
- 1X Everything Else
There is no cap specific to the earning rates of the card, but there is an overall cap on how many points you can earn with the card. The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card can earn up to 540,000 MyCruise Points per calendar year. This is a hard cap to hit as you would need to spend $270,000 to $540,000 across the card.
How To Find The Best Deal On Cruises
Considering how expensive cruises can be, you might also consider forgoing the bonus miles from airline portals and looking for the largest cash discount or onboard credit possible when booking. Warehouse clubs such as Sams Club and Costco frequently offer package deals and even large cash-back or onboard credit incentives for members.
Another great trick is to book your next cruise even as youre taking one, as many cruise lines offer reduced rates and enhanced offers to current passengers to entice you to return. In many cases, you dont even need to know exactly what sailing you want you can simply put down a placeholder thats valid for a set period of time.
And dont worry if you usually work with a travel agent. Any cruise booking made onboard can be transferred to your preferred agent, so you wont miss out on any added perks the agency usually offers in exchange for your business.
Cruise Compete can be an easy resource for getting competitive quotes from a variety of travel companies all in one location. You can then make an informed decision about the best course of action for booking, factoring in points, price and perks.
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Should You Choose A Cruise Card
If you’re a frequent cruiser on any of these six lines, you might be tempted to apply for a card. But does it make sense to get a cruise credit card versus a different type of rewards card?
Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on your goals.
If you want to get the best return on investment from a credit card, cruise credit cards aren’t the way to go. With most charges yielding just a 1 percent effective rebate on a limited catalog of awards, cruise credit cards aren’t top-of-the-class in terms of value or rewards flexibility.
For comparison, look at airline credit cards. While the average value of a frequent flyer mile is around 1.2 cents — which amounts to getting a 1.2 percent rebate when earning one mile per dollar charged — that per-mile value can be increased considerably by cashing in miles for higher-priced award flights. Some cash-back credit cards rebate 1 to 2 percent or more for select categories. And your reward is cash, which can be used to pay for anything, from a cruise to other travel expenses or even a new wardrobe for your upcoming sailing.
In other words, if your choice of credit cards is based strictly on bottom-line considerations, the value of a cruise card is readily trumped by that of other types of cards.
If you think a cruise card is right for you, here’s a more detailed summary of the cards’ features and benefits.
Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card Vs Celebrity Cruises Visa Signature Credit Card
While you may think that the Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card is better suited for Celebrity Cruises loyalists, its almost identical to the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card. Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card has the same sign-up bonus: 10,000 bonus points after making a qualifying transaction in the first 90 days of account opening, and a $100 statement credit after you spend at least $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
Since both cards earn points through the MyCruise program, you can use either card to earn rewards on both cruise lines. However, the Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card does not come with the $50 airline credit, so between these two youre better off applying for the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card.
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Ongoing Rewards Are Lackluster
The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card earns rewards known as MyCruise® points at the following rates:
2 points for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises.
1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
If youre not sailing frequently with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises, itll take you some time to rack up valuable rewards. Other no-annual-fee travel credit cards offer higher point-earning potential as well as rewards in everyday spending categories like dining and groceries which makes it easier to accrue points.
Royal Caribbean Vs Carnival: Which Big
The Points GuyMSN has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. MSN and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.
If youre considering a cruise with Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruise Line, youre looking at an affordable big-ship experience with lots of activities.
These two companies are the largest in the cruise industry, each with two dozen ships carrying millions of passengers a year. They are popular for a reason: Their ships offer something for everyone, from kids to seniors.
Lets go head-to-head, Carnival versus Royal Caribbean, to highlight their similarities and differences and help you choose the line thats right for you.
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Pay Down The Cost Of The Cruise
Unfortunately redeeming reward points for a cruise is not as simple as booking a flight, but you can definitely still leverage all of those points you earned.
The easiest thing you can do is use a credit card that gives you points that can be applied directly towards purchases you make on travel and/or any purchase.
Many credit cards will let you apply your points towards your credit card balance for the month, thereby offsetting the cost of the cruise. This has an additional benefit of allowing you to partially pay off the cruise if you do not have a lot of points. Other credit cards may offer cash back instead, which can also reduce the cost.
Moreover, you can use this strategy effectively by using points to pay off the deposit, and then apply more points later at regular intervals with payments or waiting for the final payment.
- $500 initial deposit to secure the fare
- $1000 payment a few months later
- $500 payment next month
- $1200 final payment 90 days before the cruise
Each of those payments could potentially be on different credit card billing cycles, and you could apply rewards points to each one.
What Are The Royal Caribbean Seapass Card Colors
Royal Caribbean keycards are light blue for most passengers, but other colors are given to the highest-level loyalty club members and cruisers booked in suites, providing access to exclusive events, preferred seating during shows and other perks.
Here’s a breakdown.
- Royal Caribbean light blue SeaPass card: most passengers
- Royal Caribbean silver SeaPass card : passengers booked in suites on Freedom, Voyager, Radiance and Vision class ships, as well as Majesty and Empress of the Seas
- Royal Caribbean gold SeaPass card: Pinnacle-level members of the line’s Crown & Anchor Society
- Royal Caribbean sky blue SeaPass card: passengers booked in Sky Class Royal Suite Class
- Royal Caribbean burgundy SeaPass card: passengers booked in Star Class Royal Suite Class
- Royal Caribbean seafoam green SeaPass card: passengers booked in Sea Class Royal Suite Class
- Royal Caribbean orange SeaPass card: passengers who interport
- Royal Caribbean beige SeaPass Card: passengers who book the Royal Premier VIP program
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Earning Points And Miles On Cruises
As mentioned above, cobranded cruise line credit cards are generally not a good option. For example, the Royal Caribbean® Visa Signature® Card offers a sign-up bonus of 10,000 bonus points after you make a qualifying transaction within 90 days of account opening.
The information for the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
If youre a regular TPG reader, you know that you can do much, much better than that.
Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card Benefits And Features
On the plus side, while other credit cards require you to spend hundreds of dollars to earn a sign-up bonus, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card makes it incredibly easy. The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card offers 10,000 bonus points after your first qualifying transaction within 90 days of account opening, and a $100 statement credit after making $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening. You can use those 10,000 points for a $100 onboard credit through the MyCruise Rewards Program. And while this isnt the highest bonus weve ever seen, its a decent offering for a $0-annual-fee card and theres no minimum spending requirement.
In addition to bonus points, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card advertises a $50 airfare discount through Royal Caribbeans Air2Sea program after making at least $3,500 in card purchases within the first 90 days of account opening . Overall, though, this $50 discount is a measly offer and isnt necessarily compelling.
In terms of the earnings rate, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card rewards users Earn 2x MyCruise® Points on qualifying Royal Caribbean purchases – plus 1 point per $1 spent on purchases everywhere else. MyCruise Points are worth about $0.01, putting this cards rewards rate at anywhere between 1% and 2%.
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Celebrity Cruises Visa Signature Credit Card
The Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card allows you to earn MyCruise points you can redeem with Celebrity Cruises and its sister companies. You can use your points to purchase discounts, upgrades, onboard credits, and several other perks.
- Earn 2X MyCruise points for every $1 spent with certain cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean®
- Earn 1X MyCruise points on all other purchases
- Pay no annual or foreign transaction fees
This card also offers a small signup bonus that pays out $100 in onboard credits after you make your first qualifying transaction on the card within 90 days after opening your account.
How This Card Works
This card is a Platinum Plus Visa card issued by Bank of America that can be used for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances in the form of access checks. Additionally, if you have a Bank of America checking account, you can link your credit card to your checking account for overdraft protection.
You can use the convenience checks included when you receive your card to make direct deposits into your checking count at the introductory balance transfer APR of 1.99 %.
Youll earn rewards points every time you use the card for purchases. You can then redeem your points for Royal Caribbean perks such as onboard credits, stateroom upgrades, discounts, free cruises and more.
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