The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card: A Poor Offering for Cruise Fans

The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card: A Poor Offering for Cruise Fans

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Good for

  • Getting an easy sign-up bonus
  • $0 annual fee
  • Foreign transaction fees: None

Bad for

  • Overall rewards rate on all purchases
  • Royal Caribbean loyalty benefits
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Whether you want airline, hotel or general travel rewards, there’s no shortage of travel credit cards out there. These cards attract applicants with exclusive perks to enhance your travel experience — and if you’re a frequent cruise goer, you may have considered applying for a cruise line credit card.

Royal Caribbean offers the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card for its most loyal customers. With a $0 annual fee, this card helps you earn points through the MyCruise rewards program that you can redeem toward your next cruise or for onboard credit.

Unlike most airline and hotel credit cards, however, this cruise-line card lacks any real loyalty benefits — instead, we recommend that consumers consider other cards that offer more flexible rewards. The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card does not offer enough value to justify it over another travel card or a cashback credit card.

Is the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card worth it?

It’s difficult to recommend the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card when other cards — such as the Citi® Double Cash Card — provide a better value over time. At best, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card provides a 2% rewards rate — but only on Royal Caribbean purchases. Other purchases garner a lackluster rewards rate of 1%.

What’s worse about the card is that the benefits are fairly limited, as they're only redeemable for cruise-related purchases. By contrast, a cashback card’s rewards can be used toward cruise purchases, as well as any other type of purchase.

Frequent travelers who take cruises and other vacations may also do better with a general travel rewards card that offers more flexible points and better travel benefits. Many travel cards provide rewards rates of 2% or higher in a broader array of categories than the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases.

Bottom line: Even for a $0-annual-fee card, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card isn’t worth writing home about. Most individuals will be better off with a 2% cashback credit card or a travel card that offers flexible rewards.

Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card benefits and features

On the plus side, while other credit cards require you to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars to earn a sign-up bonus, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card makes it incredibly easy. The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card offers 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. You can use those 10,000 points for a $100 onboard credit through the MyCruise Rewards Program. And while this isn’t the highest bonus we’ve ever seen, it’s a decent offering for a $0-annual-fee card and there’s no minimum spending requirement.

In addition to bonus points, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card advertises a $50 airfare discount through Royal Caribbean’s Air2Sea program after making at least $3,500 in card purchases within the first 90 days of account opening (students, however, are ineligible for this offer). Overall, though, this $50 discount is a measly offer and isn’t necessarily compelling.

In terms of the earnings rate, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card rewards users Earn 2x MyCruise® Points on qualifying Royal Caribbean purchases - plus 1 point per $1 spent on purchases everywhere else. MyCruise Points are worth about $0.01, putting this card’s rewards rate at anywhere between 1% and 2%.

Besides the sign-up bonus, the only real benefit of the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card is None foreign transaction fees, allowing you to use your card in international destinations with no problems. Meanwhile, other travel rewards cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, come with much more valuable travel benefits, such as complimentary trip and car rental insurance. As such, the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card leaves a lot to be desired with lackluster cruise line and travel benefits.

How Much Are MyCruise Points Worth?

With the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card, you’ll earn rewards in the form of points through the MyCruise Rewards Program. You can redeem these points on Royal Caribbean or its sister brands Azamara or Celebrity Cruises.

The estimated value of a single MyCruise point is $0.01, as the value of the bonus equates to a $100 onboard credit ($100 / 10,000 = $0.01).

You’ll need a minimum of 1,000 points to make a redemption with your MyCruise points. Outside of onboard credits, points can be redeemed at a value of $0.01 per point for stateroom upgrades and cruises with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

You’ll be able to view your MyCruise points balance through your Bank of America online banking account. Keep in mind that you’ll need to call the cruise line directly to book your cruise at least seven days before sailing, and mention that you want to use points.

How does the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card compare to other cards?

The only way to gauge the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card’s value is to compare it with other available offers. Here’s how the card stacks up against some other top choices.

Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card vs. Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card

While you may think that the Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card is better suited for Celebrity Cruises loyalists, it’s almost identical to the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card. Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card has the same sign-up bonus: 10,000 bonus points after making a qualifying transaction in the first 90 days of account opening, and a $100 statement credit after you spend at least $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Since both cards earn points through the MyCruise program, you can use either card to earn rewards on both cruise lines. However, the Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit Card does not come with the $50 airline credit, so between these two you’re better off applying for the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card.

Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's Secure Website

$95

15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Excellent

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.

Individuals who spend big on dining and travel (averaging at least $10,000 annually) may find the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to be one of the best options for them.

The card is part of the Ultimate Rewards program, which is not affiliated with any airline, hotel or cruise line. Instead, users can transfer their rewards points to a number of loyalty programs — including Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards and United MileagePlus, to name a few. And while you can’t transfer Ultimate Rewards points to any cruise lines, you can use your points as a travel statement credit to pay yourself back for any cruise expenses.

Unlike the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does come with an annual fee of $95 — although that fee could be well worth the rewards. Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a better earnings rate and a high-value sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card vs. Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

On Citibank's Secure Website

$0

13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

The Citi® Double Cash Card allows users to Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. The same rate applies to all types of purchases, while the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card limits you to a bonus on cruise purchases only.

The only downside of the Citi® Double Cash Card is that it does not have any welcome bonus. However, after just $10,000 of non-cruise related spending, the Citi® Double Cash Card can surpass the earnings on the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card. For the long term, the Citi® Double Cash Card is the better value, not to mention its cashback rewards are much more flexible.

ValuePenguin’s verdict

If you’re looking to apply to the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card in hopes of earning loyalty benefits or perks, this card unfortunately disappoints. Besides the sign-up bonus and airline credit, you won’t receive much value from this card as a Royal Caribbean cruiser. The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card falls short of many features and benefits that other credit cards offer. Still, since it has a $0 annual fee, there may not be much harm to applying for this card.

The information related to Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card and Celebrity Cruises® Visa Signature® Credit 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).