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The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card is aimed at people who enjoy taking cruises frequently with Royal Caribbean International or its sister brand, Celebrity Cruises.
The $0-annual-fee card, issued by Bank of America®, earns decent rewards on Royal Caribbean purchases and features bonuses for new cardholders. However, limited redemption options and lack of lucrative benefits make the card of little value for even the most loyal Caribbean customers.
Here are five things to know about the card.
1. Ongoing rewards are lackluster
The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card earns rewards known as MyCruise® points at the following rates:
2 points for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises.
1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
If you’re not sailing frequently with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises, it’ll take you some time to rack up valuable rewards. Other no-annual-fee travel credit cards offer higher point-earning potential as well as rewards in everyday spending categories — like dining and groceries — which makes it easier to accrue points.
2. Points values vary and redemption is inflexible
Redemption of MyCruise points starts at 1,000 points for a $10 donation to the World Wildlife Fund's ocean conservation project. Beyond that, points can be redeemed for a variety of cruise-related options, including room upgrades, discounts and onboard credit used for purchases made at the ship's spa, gift shop, bar and so forth. You can also redeem for merchandise on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean's other sister brand, Azamara.
Points are generally worth a penny each, but can be worth up to 2 cents each, depending on the redemption option. For example, redemption toward onboard credit (you’ll need a minimum of 10,000 points to start) will yield a redemption value of 1%. However, redeeming points for a five- to seven-night Royal Caribbean cruise will give you a redemption value of 2%. Because points have different values depending on what you chose to redeem them for, it can be confusing to determine the value of your points.
There are other limitations, too: cardholders can only earn up to 540,000 points per year and points expire after five years.
Although varying points values and restrictive redemption options are common among other co-branded cruise line credit cards, this is not the case with most general travel credit cards. The $0-annual-fee Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, for example, is not tied to any specific brand and offers more flexible rewards. The card earns a flat 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, and those points can be redeemed for travel, restaurant purchases and cash back.
Bank of America® issues another co-branded cruise line credit card, the Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard®. It earns 3 points for every $1 spent on Norwegian purchases, 2 points per $1 for eligible air and hotel purchases, and 1 point per $1 for all other spending. Points are worth a penny each and can be redeemed for Norwegian cruise-related options as well as for airline tickets and cash back to your account.
3. It offers meager welcome offers
The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card comes with the following offers for new cardholders (as of May 2021):
Earn 10,000 bonus points when you make your first purchase with the card within 90 days of account opening. At the rate of a penny per point, this bonus is worth $100 in onboard credit, but as stated above, it can get you up to $200 depending on your redemption choice.
For a limited time, you can earn a $100 statement credit after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within 90 days of holding the card. This statement credit will be automatically applied toward your credit card bill.
The card also offers a $50 airfare discount through Royal Caribbean’s Air2Sea program, after making at least $3,500 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. Note that students are not eligible for this offer and that the credit will expire 18 months after it’s issued.
You won’t be able to get much out of these offers, especially considering the steep spending requirements and the card’s mediocre earn rate. However, these bonuses are on par with, if not slightly more lucrative than, what other comparable cruise line cards offer.
4. It’s light on fees
The card doesn’t charge an annual fee, which is typically the case for similar cruise line cards.
There are also no foreign transaction fees, meaning you won't pay additional costs when you make purchases overseas. This could prove especially useful when your cruise ship docks at its destination.
5. Carrying a balance can be expensive
There’s no introductory interest-free offer for the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card. The ongoing APR is 13.99% - 23.99% Variable (as of May 2021), which is higher than the average rates charged for credit card accounts that incur interest.
To avoid interest-rate charges, pay the balance on time and in full every month if you are able.
Information related to the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature® card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.