As you know, Royal Caribbean recently rolled out some changes to its affinity credit card lineup. I covered the changes here and here. I believe I made a reasonable case that while there is nothing inherently wrong with MyCruise Rewards, there are better options for your credit card spend for many people. In my last post on the topic I suggested that the new “premium” version of the Celebrity Cruises Visa Signature card was worthy of your consideration if you cruise Celebrity, so let’s take a look at that.
The card includes a $69 annual fee, but for the right kind of Celebrity cruiser, the card will pay for itself before you ever use a MyCruise Rewards point. The basic earning scenario is the same, you earn 2 points per dollar spent with Celebrity Cruises as well as Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises, and 1 point per dollar on all other charges. You’ll also receive a 10,000 point first purchase bonus which is worth a $100 onboard credit. The real beauty of this card is the extra benefits it comes with.
I can’t speak to how useful the annual two for one airfare will turn out to be since this is a new product. The $300 discount on a 7 night or longer cruise in a Concierge Class or above stateroom is real money, but is a one-time benefit. The terms and conditions of this benefit are as follows.
Additional “real money” can be found in the 10 percent discount on Premium Beverage Packages. I’ll use my own experience as an example. MrsMJ and I purchased the Premium Alcohol package for our 14 night Celebrity cruise last fall. The price is $54 per person per day (plus gratuity). 54 x 14 = $756 per person before gratuity. If I had carried this card at that time, I could have gotten $75.60 back per person which more than pays the annual fee. The specialty restaurant discounts can add a few bucks to the total value of the card as well.
Like any new product, there may be some interesting wrinkles as more people actually experience the process of getting the benefits offered. I will be watching and will certainly share details as I receive them. As I said, I think there are better options in credit card spend for most people, but if you are a Celebrity Cruises aficionado, I think this new card product is worthy of your consideration. I expect I will be adding this card to my portfolio in the near future. You can review the full list of benefits as well as the terms and conditions here.
-MJ, September 3, 2013