Carnival World Mastercard Review: Does It Sink or Swim?

Carnival World Mastercard Review: Does It Sink or Swim?

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There's nothing quite like taking to the seas in a ship packed with amenities from ziplines to ice rinks. Even better, what if you could set sail for free?

That's the selling point for the Carnival World™ MasterCard®: Earn FunPoints that you can redeem for statement credits to offset cruise purchases. That's a tempting proposal. However, the card's earnings and travel protections come up a bit short when compared to other travel cards.

Still, the Carnival World™ MasterCard® offers perks for dedicated Carnival cruisers. Among these is a 10% rebate on all shore excursions and an intro APR of 0% for six months on Carnival cruise purchases (then get an APR of either 14.99, 19.99, or 23.99, depending on your creditworthiness). Add in a $0 annual fee and $0 foreign transaction fees and the Carnival World™ MasterCard® starts to look enticing — but only as a secondary credit card in your credit card portfolio.

Pros

  • 10% rebate on Carnival shore excursions
  • Bonus FunPoints on eligible cruise purchases
  • Intro APR of 0% for six months on Carnival cruise purchases (then a either 14.99, 19.99, or 23.99, depending on your creditworthiness APR applies)
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee

Cons

  • Poor return on everyday spending
  • No purchase or travel protections
  • Limited valuable redemption options

Sign-up bonus

The Carnival World™ MasterCard® is currently offering a modest sign-up bonus:

Current offer: 20,000 FunPoints® after your first purchase or balance transfer

What it's worth: Around $200 in statement credits toward purchases on Carnival and its partner cruise lines. Or, boost the value of this bonus to $300 by redeeming toward a Carnival cruise purchase over $1,500.

Who's eligible to earn this bonus?: Anyone who hasn't previously had a Carnival World™ MasterCard® account is eligible to get this bonus. However, Barclays may prevent you from getting this card if it suspects you plan to abuse or game the system.

It’s not a bad bonus for a no-annual-fee credit card — especially as you only need to make one purchase or a balance transfer to earn this bonus.

Earning points

The Carnival World™ MasterCard® earns 2 FunPoints per dollar spent on purchases from Carnival Cruise Line and eligible partner cruise lines and 1 FunPoint per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Eligible partners, also known as the World's Leading Cruise Lines™, currently include Costa, P&O Australia, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Aida, Cunard, Seabourn and Fathom.

What are Carnival FunPoints worth?

FunPoints can be redeemed for 1 cent per FunPoint for Carnival and World's Leading Cruise Lines partners. Or, get 1.5 cents per FunPoint for Carnival cruise purchases costing between $1,500 and $5,000.

Value: Average
Ease of redeeming: Easy. Just make the cruise purchase with your Carnival World™ MasterCard®. Then, redeem FunPoints for a statement credit within 180 days of that purchase.

Redeeming points

The Carnival World™ MasterCard® earns Carnival FunPoints. As with any point currency, the value of the points earned is a critical factor when deciding whether or not a card is worth using for purchases. Some cards offer a fixed redemption rate for points. But, in the case of FunPoints, there's a wide range of redemption options.

Redemption option
Point value
Carnival purchases between $1,500 and $5,0001.5 cents per point
Carnival purchases between $50 and $1,499.991 cent per point
Other World's Leading Cruise Lines purchases1 cent per point
Airline and hotel purchases0.9 cents per point
Gift cards/eGift cards/certificates0.76 cents per point
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By far, the most valuable use of FunPoints is for a statement credit for Carnival purchases between $1,500 and $5,000. You'll get a redemption rate of 1.5% when you redeem points toward these purchases. That means you can redeem 100,000 FunPoints to cover a $1,500 Carnival cruise purchase.

The next-most valuable use of FunPoints is for Carnival purchases between $50 and $1,499.99. You'll get 1 cent per FunPoint when redeeming points for these purchases.

If you have a lot of FunPoints, think twice before making a Carnival purchase between $1,000 and $1,499.99. That's because it takes more FunPoints to fully redeem for this purchase amount than a $1,500-plus purchase. For example, a $1,200 Carnival cruise purchase would require 120,000 FunPoints to fully offset. As we saw above, a $1,500 Carnival cruise only requires 100,000 FunPoints due to the higher redemption rate. So, in some cases, it might be worth splurging for the better room type in order to save points.

You can also redeem FunPoints at 1 cent per point for purchases on the self-described "World’s Leading Cruise Lines": AIDA, Costa, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, P&O Cruises UK, Seabourn and Fathom.

Statement credits for eligible cruise purchases are going to provide the highest value. But, you also have the option to redeem FunPoints for 0.9 cents per point for airline and hotel purchases. Or you can redeem as few as 3,300 FunPoints for a $25 gift card, but that's only a redemption rate of 0.76 cents per FunPoint.

Other Carnival World™ MasterCard® benefits

Earning FunPoints is the main perk of the Carnival World™ MasterCard®. However, the card has a few other interesting benefits.

10% back on shore excursions

In addition to using FunPoints to save on your next cruise, you can use the Carnival World™ MasterCard® to save on shore excursions. Just use your card to buy a Carnival shore excursion package through Carnival's website, and you'll get a statement credit equal to 10% of the purchase.

Note that you'll need to book this online prior to the "Pre-Sail cut-off time" of 11:30 p.m. EST/EDT, the night before your cruise's departure.

No foreign transaction fees

When taking international trips — by sea or air — you won't have to worry about paying foreign transaction fees with the Carnival World™ MasterCard®. That's a perk that you only find on a few no-annual-fee cards.

How valuable is this perk? Some cards charge a 3% transaction fee for international purchases. So, if you spend $1,000 overseas, you're dinged with $30 in foreign transaction fees.

0% introductory APR on Carnival cruises

Yet another incentive to book your Carnival cruises through the Carnival World™ MasterCard® is an introductory APR on Carnival purchases. You'll be charged an APR of 0% for six months on Carnival cruise purchases from the date you book your Carnival cruise.

That gives you a chance to pay off your cruise booking over a half-year before paying interest. And you'll want to pay down your cruise bill in those six months. After six billing cycles, the APR jumps to either 14.99, 19.99, or 23.99, depending on your creditworthiness.

How does the Carnival World™ MasterCard® compare to other cards?

While there are perks to holding the Carnival World™ MasterCard®, it's not the most rewarding card available to travelers. To give you a better idea of how the card stacks up, let's compare it with some of the other travel cards available.

Carnival World™ MasterCard® vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website
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If you're looking for a simple-to-use travel rewards card, it's hard to beat the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. You'll earn an unlimited 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. In comparison, the Carnival World™ MasterCard® only earns 2 FunPoints per dollar spent on purchases from Carnival Cruise Line and eligible partner cruise lines and 1 FunPoint per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Capital One miles can be used to "erase" travel purchases at a rate of 1 cent per point. Or, you have the option to transfer Capital One miles to airline and hotel partners when you can get an even higher redemption rate that way.

Between the 2X earning rate and the 1 cent per point based redemption rate, you'll earn at least 2 cents per point on all purchases made through the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. However, you won't get more than 1.5 cents per point of value from everyday purchases charged to the Carnival World™ MasterCard®. The card earns just 1X FunPoints on everything (except for eligible cruise purchases). And the maximum redemption value is just 1.5 cents per FunPoint.

Carnival World™ MasterCard® vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Another great general travel card to consider is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You'll earn Ultimate Rewards® points 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.

That means you'll earn at least as many points by using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card as the Carnival World™ MasterCard®. Plus, Ultimate Reward points are more valuable than FunPoints. You can redeem Ultimate Reward points toward travel through the Chase Travel Portal or through the Pay Yourself Back tool at a rate of 1.25 cents per point.

Or, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to 13 airline and hotel partners for even more value. For example, you can transfer points to Southwest to redeem at an average of 1.5 cents per point or transfer points to World of Hyatt to redeem for an average of 1.7 cents per point.

In addition to a more-valuable earning rate, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provides travel and purchase coverage for using your card to make travel purchases. If your trip gets delayed by more than 12 hours or overnight, Chase will reimburse up to $500 per ticket in expenses. Or, if you have to cancel or cut short a trip due to sickness or severe weather, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card covers up to $10,000 per person in prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses.

Carnival World™ MasterCard® vs. Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

If you're looking for a general travel rewards card with a $0 annual fee, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card should certainly be in the running. You'll Earn 3X points on eating out, ordering in and popular streaming services, 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases.

Cruise purchases are noticeably absent from the long list of bonus categories. However, that's the only category where the Carnival World™ MasterCard® trumps the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card. And, for just this reason, these two cards could be an excellent complement to each other.

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card also offers some valuable perks that the Carnival World™ MasterCard® does not. You'll get an introductory APR of 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases and 0% intro APR for 12 months on qualifying balance transfers (then a 14.49%-24.99% (Variable) APR applies). Plus, you'll get purchase and travel protections including:

  • Cellphone protection — just for paying your cellphone bill with the card
  • Retail protection — covers damage or theft within 90 days of purchase
  • Extended warranty — doubles the manufacturer's warranty
  • Lost luggage reimbursement
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • 24/7 travel and emergency assistance

Is the Carnival World™ MasterCard® worth it?

For dedicated Carnival cruisers, the Carnival World™ MasterCard® can be worth it. You'll score a 10% rebate on shore excursions, earn 2X FunPoints and get an intro APR of 0% for six months on Carnival cruise purchases (then an APR of either 14.99, 19.99, or 23.99, depending on your creditworthiness). Plus, the card has a $0 annual fee, so it won't cost you anything to hold.

With that said, the card doesn't provide a compelling return on spending. So, you won't want to make the Carnival World™ MasterCard® your primary card if you get it. Instead, it should be a niche card that you pull out of your sock drawer when it's time to make a Carnival purchase.

For travelers that aren't dedicated to Carnival, other travel cards — such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card — will provide a better return on spending. Plus, other cards provide travel and shopping protections that you won't find on the Carnival World™ MasterCard®.

The information related to Carnival World™ MasterCard® and Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

JT Genter

JT is a freelance writer who has written about credit cards and points & miles since 2015. He published over 2,000 articles on The Points Guy and can now be found writing for ValuePenguin, NerdWallet, Forbes Advisor, and AwardWallet. Since June 2017, JT and his wife have traveled full-time as digital nomads - using points, miles, and credit card benefits to drastically reduce the cost of living on the road.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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