Feedback Friday: How Valuable are Cruise Line Credit Cards?

March 7, 2014 | By | 2 Comments

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Every other Friday we will bring you a piece of reader feedback and our response. Have a question about cruising? Notice an error on our site? Want to just drop a comment for our consideration? Submit your own feedback by e-mailing, and maybe we’ll select your submission for our next Feedback Blog.
This Week’s Feedback: Does having a Carnival credit card give you credits that can be used on a cruise?

Our Response: In short, no. Points accumulated from a cruise line credit card may be used toward future cruises, not onboard as credit. Most cruise line credit cards offer a points system (typically two for every dollar spent onboard and one for every other dollar spent) that equate to future cruise credit. The official lingo on the Carnival Barclay card site is “Cardmembers may redeem points for a statement credit toward a Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises or The Yachts of Seabourn or an airline or hotel that posts to their account that is equal to or greater than $50 and made within the last 180 days.”
So is having a credit card loyal to your favorite cruise line a good way to earn free cruises? We ponder that question here, but mainly, you have to be determined to charge your heart out in order to reap any rewards.
On the plus side, these cards tend not to have annual fees (Disney is the exception). But points do expire and, well, it’s a credit card, so you have to be willing to balance your current finances versus the possibility of a free cruise in the future.
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    2 Responses to “Feedback Friday: How Valuable are Cruise Line Credit Cards?”

    1. penny
      March 7th, 2014 @ 4:05 pm

      We have the Royal Caribbean Card, we use it for most of our monthly expenses and pay it off every single month. We put a new fence around our property and put that on there, we cruised when we got it in 2012. We had 150 OBC. We used it again 10 months late, 250 OBC. This year we are cruising on a different line, paid for by our RCI Card we will use all those points toward a cruise on Royal Caribbean. We think it is worth it. The first rule of really getting a benefit is to pay that balance every single month. The next time we use it we may have enough to pay for one cruise fare, if not enough to pay all our on board expenses. We love it.

    2. DrKoob
      March 7th, 2014 @ 11:17 pm

      I have always wondered if it was worth it to have one of these. Thanks to your excellent original article, I now know it isn’t. What a poor choice of rewards. I carry airline cards that allow me to trade 100,000 miles for a first class ticket on Cathay Pacific Air from SEA to Auckland to take a cruise to Sydney on Celebrity’s Infinity. With that same 100,000 cruise points I could have saved a whole $1000 on our $3500 cruise fare. The first class tickets we flew on could be purchased for $20,000…each. I think it’s a better value.

      Annually I pick up 250K in miles or points and the best value for me always seems to be airfare, rental cars or hotels. When the value for cruise line cards goes up, I might get one. But thanks for the great article.

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    The Lido Deck is written by Cruise Critic's editorial staff, reporting from ships and ports around the world. The daily blog covers cruise news, reviews, advice, and hot topics from the Cruise Critic message boards. Please note: When commenting, Cruise Critic's community guidelines apply.

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