Smart travelers are learning that by using the right credit card, they can earn free travel including airfare and cruises. With banks offering huge sign up bonuses and some credit cards up to 2% back on all purchases, here are the best credit cards to earn rewards for your cruises.
Cruise Branded Credit Cards
Several of the major cruise lines have partnered to have their own branded credit card. They include:
- Royal Caribbean Visa Card
- Carnival Cruise Mastercard
- Princess Cruises Rewards Visa
- Norwegian Cruise Line Visa
All of these cards offer moderate to small sign up bonuses (5-10,000 points), one point per $1 on all purchases, and two points (except Norwegian offering three points) per $1 on purchases through that cruise line. All of these cards have no annual fee and lack many of the perks that come with other travel cards offered by banks.
Travel Credit Cards
The perks and sign up bonuses now offered by many travel cards are leaps and bounds better than the cruise line branded credit cards. While some come with an annual fee, perks you receive will make the annual fee a bargain (if there is one). Our favorite perk that many travel credit cards offer is free travel insurance when you book your trip on that card. Here are some of the best credit cards for cruise rewards.
Delta Branded American Express – For the majority of cruisers, airfare is big part of their cruise budget. The Delta Gold American Express will give you and everyone on your ticket a free bag to check ($50 savings per person roundtrip). This is the biggest perk of having this card since it’s nearly impossible to pack for a cruise in just a carry-on. Other perks include priority boarding, some travel insurance, 20% discount on all in-flight purchases, and double points on all Delta purchases.
The sign-up bonus is always at least 30,000 miles when you spend $3,000 on the card in the first 90 days. With reward tickets starting at 25,000 miles roundtrip, that good for a free roundtrip ticket for your next cruise, just for signing up for the card. This makes the $99 annual fee (waived for the first year) well worth it. There are also no foreign transaction fees.
Delta also offers a Platinum version of the card (annual fee $249) that not only includes all of the perks of the Gold, but you also receive a free companion airfare ticket each year on your card anniversary. Free bags, free airline ticket, and priority boarding, that makes the $249 annual fee a no-brainer.
I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the past few years by having this card when I fly for my cruises.
Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card– Bank of America’s Premium Rewards Credit Card is currently offering 50,000 bonus points for signing up for the card if you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first three months. This is a $500 value towards travel just for signing up.
This card offers double points on travel and dining and 1.5 points on all other purchases, making this a great rewards card for travelers. The points never expire and you can get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits and valuable travel insurance protections.
There are no foreign transaction fees (another great perk for travelers) and a low $95 annual fee. There is no limit to the amount of points you can earn and your points never expire.
Capital One Venture Rewards Card – Capital One’s Venture Rewards Card is a great credit card for people who love to travel. They are currently offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points once you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months. That is good for $500 towards travel just for signing up for the card. You also earn double points on ALL purchases and 10 times points on hotel stays.
There are no blackout dates so you can travel with your points anytime. The miles never expire and you can use them on any airline or hotel at anytime. The $95 annual fee is currently being waved for the first year.