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The Norwegian Cruise Line operates nearly 20 ships that travel to hundreds of destinations around the world. If you’re thinking about heading to one of these destinations, you might also be considering how the Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard® could help you lower the cost of your voyage.
The Bank of America®-issued card offers decent rewards and is fee-friendly, so it can be a solid option for Norwegian loyalists who cruise often. But if Norwegian is not your cruise line of choice or your open-sea explorations are few and far between, you'll be better off with a general rewards credit card.
Here are five things to know about the Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard®.
1. Ongoing rewards are decent, but limited
The Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard® earns rewards in a currency called WorldPoints. The rates are as follows:
3 WorldPoints for every $1 spent on Norwegian purchases.
2 points per $1 for eligible air and hotel purchases.
1 point per $1 for all other spending.
WorldPoints are worth a penny each and can be redeemed for a variety of options. (More on that below.)
If you cruise exclusively and frequently with Norwegian, you can earn rewards at a reasonable rate. But because you’re limited to earning elevated rewards only on Norwegian purchases and travel-related spending, it can take a while to rack up points. There are cash-back and no-annual-fee travel credit cards that offer higher rewards rates in broader everyday spending categories, which can help you accumulate points more quickly.
For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is a $0-annual-fee card that earns 2% cash back on every purchase: 1% when you buy, 1% when you pay it back.
2. Redemption is flexible and straightforward
Redemption starts at 2,500 points for a $25 onboard credit. But you can also redeem points toward airline tickets and for cash back to your account, starting at 2,500 and at the same penny-per-point redemption value.
The card allows you to redeem points for a number of other Norwegian cruise-related options including upgrades, discounts and onboard experiences, in addition to hotel rooms, rental cars and gift cards.
Other co-branded cruise line credit cards — for, say, Princess Cruises and Holland America — also feature rewards flexibility, but their redemption rules and values are tiered and complex. The Norwegian card is refreshingly straightforward.
3. Among cruise line cards, the sign-up bonus is generous
The Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard® features a substantial welcome offer for new cardholders: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 or more in the first 90 days of account opening. This offer is worth $200 and can be used for onboard credit or toward a Norwegian cruise.
For a cruise line card, this offer for newcomers is significant. By comparison, the $0-annual-fee Princess Cruises Rewards Visa® Card features a smaller offer: Earn 10,000 bonus points after you use your card for the first time - that's enough to redeem for a statement credit of up to $100 toward your next cruise purchase.
And the sign-up bonus on the $0-annual-fee Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card is even skimpier, and phrased this way: "Earn 5,000 points after first purchase ."
4. You’ll skip out on fees …
Cardholders won’t have to pay an annual fee or a foreign transaction fee. This means you won’t be charged extra for using the card overseas.
And because it's a Mastercard, it will be widely accepted by merchants internationally.
5. … But you won’t want to carry a balance
The Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard® doesn't offer an introductory interest-free period. The ongoing APR is 14.99% - 22.99% Variable (as of October 2020), which is higher than the average rates on interest-incurring credit card accounts.
To this end, this card isn’t the best option for financing your entire cruise vacation or for carrying a balance from month to month.