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Carnival World Mastercard Review: Does It Sink or Swim?

Carnival World Mastercard Review: Does It Sink or Swim?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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Quick facts

More details

Rates & fees

  • Credit needed: N/A
  • Sign-up bonus: 20,000 FunPoints® after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earning rate: 2X FunPoints® for every dollar spent on any purchases with Carnival Cruise Line and with the brands of the World’s Leading Cruise Lines℠
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fees: $0

Quick facts

  • Credit needed: N/A
  • Sign-up bonus: 20,000 FunPoints® after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earning rate: 2X FunPoints® for every dollar spent on any purchases with Carnival Cruise Line and with the brands of the World’s Leading Cruise Lines℠
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fees: $0

More details

  • Get a 10% statement credit on a Carnival shore excursion
  • Barclays will double the FunPoints you earn in year one of card membership
  • Redeem FunPoints for statement credits, gifts and amenities

Rates & fees

  • Intro Purchase APR: 0% APR for 6 billing cycles from the transaction date on all "Qualifying Carnival Cruise Booking Purchases"
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable
  • Intro BT APR: 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.
  • Regular BT APR: 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% Variable
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

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% APR for 6 billing cycles from the transaction date on all "Qualifying Carnival Cruise Booking Purchases" (then get an APR of 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable). 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% APR for 6 billing cycles from the transaction date on all "Qualifying Carnival Cruise Booking Purchases" (then a 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable APR applies)
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • $0 annual fee

Cons

  • Poor return on everyday spending
  • No purchase or travel protections
  • Limited valuable redemption options
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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 2X FunPoints® for every dollar spent on any purchases with Carnival Cruise Line and with the brands of the World’s Leading Cruise Lines℠.

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

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% APR for 6 billing cycles from the transaction date on all "Qualifying Carnival Cruise Booking 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 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable.

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.

0
Carnival® World Mastercard®
Carnival® World Mastercard®
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Editor's Rating?
N/A
Annual Fee
$0
$95
$95
$0
More card details
Not available on ValuePenguin
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On Capital One's Secure Website
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On Chase's Secure Website
Not available on ValuePenguin

Carnival® World Mastercard® vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

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; 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023. In comparison, the Carnival® World Mastercard® only earns 2X FunPoints® for every dollar spent on any purchases with Carnival Cruise Line and with the brands of the World’s Leading Cruise Lines℠.

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

Another great general travel card to consider is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You'll earn Ultimate Rewards® points 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases.

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% APR for 6 billing cycles from the transaction date on all "Qualifying Carnival Cruise Booking Purchases" (then an APR of 15.74%, 21.74% or 25.74% variable). 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.

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).