Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card: Is It Rewarding?

Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card: Is It Rewarding?

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If you’re a frequent cruise goer and prefer Norwegian Cruise Line above all other ships, you may have considered applying for the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card. However, unlike airline cards, most cruise cards offer below-average value — and the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card is no exception.

This card has a $0 annual fee, so it wouldn’t necessarily hurt to open an account. Still, most applicants will gain better value when applying for a general travel rewards card or a cashback card instead.

Pros

  • Norwegian Cruise Line purchases
  • $0 foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Everyday spending
  • Norwegian Cruise line loyalty benefits
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Review: Is the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card a good value?

If you’re looking for Norwegian-exclusive benefits with this card, such as priority check-in and special concierge services, steer clear of this card.

The Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card earns rewards in the form of WorldPoints, redeemable for statement upgrades, travel discounts, onboard credits and more. However, the points offered by this card differ from those of Norwegian’s free loyalty program, Latitudes Rewards. Norwegian’s program allows you to earn Latitude Rewards points, which are good for onboard discounts, elite status and other loyalty benefits. You can earn additional benefits through Norwegian’s program as you move up the status tiers. WorldPoints, on the other hand, can only be earned with the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card, while redemption of WorldPoints requires a direct call to Norwegian Cruise Line.

Since the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card’s points cannot be combined with Latitude Rewards points, nor can they help members earn status, there isn’t much incentive for loyal members to apply for the card — you’re probably better off applying for a cashback card for greater rewards flexibility.

Bottom line: The lack of loyalty benefits — accompanied by a mediocre rewards rate — make the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card unremarkable.

Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card benefits and features

Bank of America issues the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card, offering the following sign-up bonus: 20,000 bonus points after you make $1,000 or more in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. This sign-up bonus is one of the best features of this card, as it’s equivalent to $200 of onboard credit or $200 off any cruise.

In terms of long-term earning, you’ll earn 3 WorldPoints® points for every $1 spent on Norwegian purchases, 2 WorldPoints points per $1 spent on eligible air and hotel purchases 1 WorldPoint point per $1 spent on all other purchases So, at best, the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card provides a 3% value on Norwegian purchases. But unless you’re booking Norwegian cruises frequently, you’ll get a better return with another credit card instead — and on many more purchase categories.

Lastly, you won’t pay any foreign transaction fees with this card, so it could be a decent option for international travelers. But if you’re at all concerned about maximizing value, this card fails to impress.

How much are WorldPoints worth?

For onboard credits and cruise discounts, your WorldPoints are worth 1 cent each. The minimum points required for redemption is 5,000, good for a $50 onboard credit. You’ll also be able to upgrade your stateroom with a set rate of WorldPoints:

Stateroom upgrade
WorldPoints needed
Up to two-category upgrade on a cruise at least five days long10,000
Up to a four-category upgrade on a cruise at least five days long20,000
Inside to oceanview, or ocean view to balcony stateroom upgrade on a cruise at least five days long30,000
Inside to balcony stateroom upgrade on cruises five days or longer60,000

As you can see, your cruise must be five days or longer to qualify for upgrades. Therefore, this option may not be available if you’re taking a shorter cruise. To determine if a stateroom upgrade is a worthwhile redemption option, you should compare the upgrade’s cash value to its points value. If the value is more than 1 cent each, an upgrade would be an excellent use of WorldPoints.

If you save enough points, you could even redeem your WorldPoints for a free cruise, a potentially great value as you won’t have to pay any additional taxes, expenses or fees.

While the redemption value will depend on the cash value of the cruise, this option could get you a value greater than 1 cent per point:

Rewards
WorldPoints needed
Price (for two)
Point value (in cents)
Three or four-day Bahamas cruise for two — inside stateroom80,000$1,016.641.27
Three or four-day Bahamas cruise for two — oceanview stateroom90,000$1,116.641.24
Three or four-day Bahamas cruise for two — balcony stateroom110,000$1,516.641.38
Add 3rd to 8th additional guests to a three or four-day Bahamas cruise35,500N/AN/A
Seven-day Caribbean or Mexican Riviera cruise for two — inside stateroom137,900$1,726.121.25
Seven-day Caribbean or Mexican Riviera cruise for two — oceanview stateroom157,900$1,906.121.21
Seven-day Caribbean or Mexican Riviera cruise for two — balcony stateroom227,900$2,566.121.13
Add 3rd to 8th additional guests to a seven-day Caribbean or Mexican Riviera cruise40,000N/AN/A
Average1.25

However, while redeeming your rewards for a free cruise sounds enticing, you’d need a minimum of 80,000 WorldPoints to qualify. This could take quite a bit of time — and with a low sign-up bonus, you’d have to prioritize a lot of spending with this card.

Bank of America Preferred Rewards

For those who are already existing customers with Bank of America, you could potentially earn bonus rewards with the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card. This card is part of Bank of America’s exclusive Preferred Rewards program, meaning that you could receive 25% to 75% bonus points on every purchase.

There are three tiers to the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program: Gold, Platinum and Platinum Honors. Each tier is determined by a three-month combined average daily balance in your Bank of America deposit and Merrill investment accounts:

Tier
Combined account balance
Rewards bonus
Bonus points
Gold$20,000 to $49,999.99Earn 25% more points on every purchase
  • 3.75 WorldPoints for every $1 spent on Norwegian purchases
  • 2.5 WorldPoints for every $1 spent on eligible air and hotel purchases
  • 1.25 World Points for every $1 spent on all other purchases
Platinum$50,000 to $99,999.99Earn 50% more points on every purchase
  • 4.5 WorldPoints for every $1 spent on Norwegian purchases
  • 3 WorldPoints for every $1 spent on eligible air and hotel purchases
  • 1.5 World Points for every $1 spent on all other purchases
Platinum Honors$100,000 or moreEarn 75% more points on every purchase
  • 5.25 WorldPoints for every $1 spent on Norwegian purchases
  • 3.5 WorldPoints for every $1 spent on eligible air and hotel purchases
  • 1.75 WorldPoints for every $1 spent on all other purchases

The Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card is the only cruise-affiliated card that’s part of the Preferred Rewards program. Over 10 credit cards are part of this program, including the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card and the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card. If you qualify for this rewards bonus, the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card could become a solid offering worth considering.

Other benefits

There are a couple security features worth noting, such as a $0 liability protection for any suspected fraud and contactless chip technology. But besides the ability to earn WorldPoints, however, the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card doesn’t offer any other cruise-focused benefits — overall, this card’s offerings aren’t persuasive enough for the majority of people to apply.

How does the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card compare to other cards?

The true value of a credit card can only be determined in light of other options. To give consumers a better idea of how the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card compares against other available options, we took a look at some other top choices.

Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

On Capital One's Secure Website

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the best travel rewards cards out there. Although it comes with a $95 annual fee, you’ll earn a superior sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel.

This card earns miles at a valuable but straightforward rewards rate: Earn unlimited 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. These miles are incredibly flexible and can be used to reimburse any travel purchases, from flights to hotels — or cruises. You can redeem your Capital One miles at a rate of 1 cent each, making the sign-up bonus worth up to $1,000.

For ongoing savings on all travel purchases — not just on cruises — you’ll want to apply for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card instead.

Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card vs. Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

On Citibank's Secure Website

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is one of our favorite cashback credit cards. The card lets users Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Unless you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer offers a more consistent and profitable rewards rate.

Unfortunately, though, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer lacks a sign-up bonus, and since there are no incentives for signing up for the card, this card is much better for long-term value. In return, however, you’ll earn valuable cash back instead of cruise rewards.

Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card vs. Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card

The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card is another cruise-affiliated card offered by Bank of America. It also with $0 annual fee, and it’s easy to earn its sign-up bonus: 10,000 bonus points after your first qualifying transaction within 90 days of account opening, and a $100 statement credit after making $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening. This card earns points through the MyCruise Rewards program, redeemable for Royal Caribbean, Azamara or Celebrity Cruises.

At the same time, this card does have a considerably worse rewards rate than the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card: Earn 2x MyCruise® Points on qualifying Royal Caribbean purchases - plus 1 point per $1 spent on purchases everywhere else. Redemptions start at 1,000 MyCruise points, redeemable for onboard credits and stateroom upgrades.

If, however, you’re still set on applying for a cruise-specific card, the Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card is the better option. The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card is also not part of the Preferred Rewards program, leaving a lot to be desired.

ValuePenguin’s verdict

The Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card is one of the better cruise cards out there, offering a sign-up bonus, decent redemption options and the opportunity to earn bonus rewards. However, any travel rewards or cashback card can easily outdo any of these benefits. You won’t enjoy any loyalty benefits with this card, so at best, you’ll enjoy discounts on Norwegian cruises. For a $0-annual-fee card, it’s certainly not the worst offer in the world — but it’s also far from the best.

The information related to Norwegian Cruise Line® World MasterCard® Credit Card and Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® 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.

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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).