5 Things to Know About the Carnival World Mastercard

The card comes with meager sign-up incentives and ongoing rewards. A general travel card will be more flexible and less complex.
Aug 9, 2022

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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 take to the seas with this cruise line, the $0-annual-fee Carnival World Mastercard can definitely defray some of your costs. Issued by Barclays, it offers modest introductory offers, and Carnival super cruisers in particular may enjoy the card's discounts on shore excursions.

Still, most customers may be better off with a general travel card since 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.

1. Its introductory offers are average

New cardholders will qualify for the following offers:

A small sign-up bonus

As of August 2022, the Carnival World Mastercard offers 20,000 FunPoints after your first purchase or balance transfer, which could get you a $200 statement credit toward purchases with Carnival. This is a pretty stellar bonus for no spending threshold. But there are plenty of other travel credit cards with more lucrative bonuses that can help cover some of your vacation costs.

A lengthy 0% intro APR on 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 balance transfer fee of $ 5 or 5%, whichever is greater.)

While this introductory offer is a good deal for a travel card, if getting out of debt is the goal — other balance transfer credit cards can offer a longer interest-free window. Plus, it's generally not advisable to charge large purchases, like travel, on a balance transfer card if your main objective is to get out of debt.

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The Carnival World Mastercard also offers an APR promotion on purchases, but as of August 2022 it was on only "qualifying Carnival cruise booking purchases," and for only six billing cycles. Otherwise, the ongoing APR varies depending on your credit but can range well above 20%.

2. ... But ongoing rewards fall short

Beyond the introductory offers, the Carnival World Mastercard offers mediocre rewards. You'll earn:

  • 2 FunPoints for every $1 spent on purchases made with Carnival Cruise Line and other eligible brands under the World’s Leading Cruise Lines umbrella (including AIDA, Costa, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, P&O Cruises UK, Seabourn and Fathom. These brands are accurate as of February 2022.) Terms apply.

  • 1 FunPoint per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Unless you’re frequently setting sail with qualifying cruise lines, it will take you a while to rack up points. Other no-annual-fee travel credit cards 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.

3. Point values vary and redemption is needlessly complex

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 a statement credit:

  • Spend $50 to $1,499.99: Statement credit redemption value of 1%.

  • Spend $1,500 to $5,000: Statement credit redemption value of 1.5%.

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:

  • Spending on other World’s Leading Cruise Lines brands: Statement credit redemption value of 1%.

  • Spending on merchandise or onboard amenities: Statement credit redemption value will vary. (For these options, the minimum amount of points required to redeem may vary.)

  • Spending on eligible airline or hotel purchases: Statement credit redemption value of 0.9%.

  • Spending on gift cards: Statement credit redemption generally has a value of about 0.75%. (For these options, you'll need a minimum of 3,300 points, redeemable for $25.)

A general travel credit — one that's not tied to any specific brand — will be much more straightforward and flexible. One example is the $0-annual-fee Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. 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.

4. It offers a 10% discount on shore excursions

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 before 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.

5. It's relatively fee-friendly

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% for each international transaction.)

As a Mastercard, the card is also well equipped for travel abroad, as it will be widely accepted by merchants everywhere.

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