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Carnival Cruise Line has no shortage of impressive destinations from the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera, to locales much farther from home like Europe, Australia, New Zealand and more.
And if you're planning to with this cruise line, the $0-annual-fee Carnival World Mastercard can definitely defray some of your costs. Issued by Barclays, it offers uniquely generous introductory offers, and Carnival super-cruisers in particular may enjoy the card's discounts on shore excursions.
Still, the Carnival World Mastercard suffers from some of the same drawbacks that other cruise line credit cards have:
Here are five things to know about the Carnival World Mastercard.
New cardholders will qualify for the following offers:
As of December 2020, the Carnival World Mastercard was offering 20,000 "FunPoints" — worth $200 in statement credit toward your next cruise — after making just one purchase or balance transfer. This is a rare offer that stands out among the competition for two reasons:
And about those balance transfers? New cardholders get a 0% introductory APR on the first 15 billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to the account within 45 days of opening it. You can sometimes find balance transfer terms on other travel credit cards, but their promotional windows are generally shorter. (The Carnival card does charge a of 3%, which is fairly standard.)
But wait, we're still not done talking about balance transfers: The Carnival World Mastercard offers 1 FunPoint per $1 in balance transfers posted to the account within the 30 days after opening it, up to a maximum of 5,000 FunPoints. As noted, it is highly unusual to receive rewards on balance transfers.
Beyond the introductory offers, the Carnival World Mastercard offers mediocre rewards. You'll earn:
Unless you’re frequently setting sail with qualifying cruise lines, it will take you a while to rack up points. Other earn bonus rewards in everyday spending categories — like dining or groceries — or they may simply offer a high flat rate, like 1.5% back on purchases of any kind.
You can redeem FunPoints for statement credits toward a variety of purchases, though you'll potentially get the most value for them when you redeem them as credits to offset eligible Carnival purchases.
But here's the rub: When using your points this way, their value depends on the amount of the purchase. You'll need a minimum of 5,000 points to start, but here's what you can expect them to be worth in statement credit:
(The card's terms note that if you don't have enough points to redeem for the full purchase amount, you'll be able to redeem only in $50 statement credit increments between $50 and $5,000.)
Point values also differ for other redemption options:
A general travel credit — one that's not tied to any specific brand — will be much more straightforward and flexible. One example is the -annual-fee . It earns 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases (and 3 points per $1 spent if you book eligible travel through the Bank of America® Travel Center), and those points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for travel — but not just with cruise lines. You can redeem them for purchases with airlines, travel agencies, trains, buses, taxis, boat rentals, tourist attractions and exhibits, to name a few.
You can qualify for a 10% discount in the form of a statement credit when you use the card to purchase a Carnival shore excursions package prior to your cruise.
Shore excursions are activities or tours that you can participate in as you explore a new destination. Taxes and fees are not included in the discount.
With the Carnival World Mastercard, you don’t have to worry about an annual fee or foreign transaction fees when you make a purchase abroad. (Some cards charge 1% to 3% of each international transaction.)
As a Mastercard, the card is also well equipped for travel abroad, as it will be widely accepted by merchants everywhere.