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The Royal Caribbean credit card does not offer enough value to justify using it over a flat-rate cash back credit card, such as the Citi® Double Cash Card. Unlike most airline and hotel credit cards, this cruise-line credit card does not offer much in the way of loyalty benefits, or anything to distinguish it. We recommend that consumers consider other options, over the Royal Caribbean card - you'll get higher and more flexible reward from other competitors.
Review: Is the Royal Caribbean® Credit Card Worth It?
It is difficult to recommend the Royal Caribbean® credit card, especially when other cards – such as the Citi® Double Cash Card – will always provide a better value over more circumstances. At best, the Royal Caribbean card provides a 2% rewards rate – but only on purchases with the affiliated cruise company. Most of the time, using this card will result in just a rewards rate of just 1%. What’s worse is the fact that the rewards are fairly limited – they're only redeemable for more cruises, room upgrades, or onboard purchases. By contrast, a flat-rate cash back credit card can let you earn 2% rewards rate across all types of purchases, and your rewards are pure cash – to be used as you wish on the cruise ship and off.
Frequent travelers, who enjoy vacationing on the open ocean, may do better with a general travel credit card. These can provide rewards rates higher than 2%, on a far wider array of categories than the Royal Caribbean card. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a 2.5% rewards rate on all dining and travel shopping (2 points per dollar multiplied by the 1.25 bonus when redeeming for travel on the Chase portal).
The 10,000 point welcome bonus with opening a new Royal Caribbean credit card is one of the best parts of the card. To qualify for the bonus, all you need to do is make any purchase on the card within 65 days of opening your account – this is easier to get than most signing offers. The 10,000 points can be used as a $100 onboard credit, or as a $100 discount towards your next cruise. While this is far from the highest bonus we’ve seen, it is decent considering the fact that it has no minimum spending requirement, and the card does not have an annual fee.
Bottom Line: Outside of its welcome bonus, the Royal Caribbean credit card has no outstanding features or rewards. Most individuals will be better off with a 2% cash back credit card or a travel rewards card.
Royal Caribbean® Credit Card Rewards & Features
The Royal Caribbean® Credit Card awards users 2 MyCruise Points per $1 spent while onboard one of the affiliated cruises, as well as purchases of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara cruises. All other purchases get users 1 point per $1. MyCruise Points are worth about $0.01, putting this card’s rewards rate at anywhere between 1% and 2%.
- No annual fee
- No annual fee
If you buy something using your Royal Caribbean credit card within the first 65 days of account opening, you will also receive 10,000 bonus MyCruise points, worth approximately $100. Balance transfers and cash advances do not constitute a purchase. You must use your card to carry out a transaction with a retailer, vendor, or merchant, in order to qualify.
How Much Are MyCruise Points Worth?
The estimated value of a single MyCruise point is $0.01. This is obtained from Bank of America’s own language – where they state that the value of the 10,000 point bonus is enough for $100 in onboard credit. To obtain the “per point value” we divide $100 / 10,000 = $0.01.
Outside of onboard credit, points can be redeemed for stateroom upgrades, and cruises with any of the three cruise lines associated with the company – Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Azamara. The point value remains consistent across all these redemption options - requiring 1 point to offset $0.01 of charges.
How Does The Royal Caribbean® Credit Card Compare to Other Cards?
The only way to guage the value of the Royal Caribbean credit card is to see what other offers are available. Below you’ll find how this card compares against some other top choices.
Royal Caribbean® Credit Card vs Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card
The Celebrity credit card is a premium version of the Royal Caribbean® Credit Card – offering every feature of the latter, plus some additional benefits. Firstly, Celebrity Cruises credit cardholders who spend at least $5,000 in transactions within the first 60 days of account opening will receive a $300 discount off their next cruise, of 7 nights or more in Concierge Class. This is a spending requirement that is significantly higher than most credit cards out there – and would only be attainable by the biggest spenders. The other major selling point of the Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card is the litany of discounts provided for various cruise packages – including 10% off a premium beverage package. However, unless you go on Celebrity cruises annually, this discount will not be enough to justify the long-term cost to maintain this credit card. The Celebrity cruises credit card comes with a $69 annual fee. Therefore, if you're dead set on getting a cruise-affiliated credit card, and your spending doesn't justify a $69 annual fee, we recommend going with the Royal Caribbean® Credit Card.
Royal Caribbean® Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Individuals who are big spenders on dining and travel (averaging at least $10,000 annually) will find the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to be one of the best options available to them. The card is part of the Ultimate Rewards program – one of the best credit card rewards programs. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is not affiliated with any one particular airline, hotel, or cruise line. Instead, it offers users the ability to transfer their rewards points to a number of different partner programs – including Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, Marriott Rewards®, and United MileagePlus® to name a few. While you can't transfer UR points to any cruise line, they can be used as travel statement credit to pay down cruise expenses. Unlike the Royal Caribbean credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does come with an annual fee – which is something to consider. If, through your spending, you do not earn enough rewards to justify the annual fee, we recommend looking at other options.
Royal Caribbean® Credit Card vs Citi® Double Cash Card
Throughout this review, we have compared the Royal Caribbean® Credit Card to the Citi® Double Cash Card several times. The Citi card earns 1% cash back at the time of purchase, and another 1% when you pay that purchase off. The only downside of the Citi® Double Cash Card is the fact that it does not have any welcome bonus. However, after just $10,000 of non-cruise related spending, the difference between the Royal Caribbean card and the Citi® Double Cash Card disappears. As a result, in the long-term, we recommend consumers to get the Citi® Double Cash Card over the Royal Caribbean® Credit Card
If you wish to find a credit card specifically tailored to your spending profile, you can use our tool below to help in the process. Enter your estimated monthly spending, and our tool will calculate for you the estimated net rewards for the cards - resulting from spending rewards and bonuses.