Full Review of Royal Caribbean Visa Signature
Easy to earn bonus worth up to $100
$50 airfare discount on Royal Caribbean’s Air2Sea program with qualifying purchases
Higher points earning rate available for three cruise lines
No annual fee
MyCruise points only good for cruising redemption options
Point earning rates aren’t outstanding
Points expire after five years
Limit of 540,000 MyCruise points per year
- Easy to Earn Bonus Worth Up to $200: You can earn the 10,000 MyCruise points bonus simply by making a single transaction within the first 90 days of account opening. That transaction can be a purchase, a balance transfer, or a cash advance. Many other cards require you to spend anywhere from $500 to $5,000 or more to earn their bonuses.
- $50 Airfare Discount on Royal Caribbean’s Air2Sea Program with Qualifying Purchases: As a new Visa cardholder, you can receive $50 off an airline ticket purchased using Royal Caribbean’s Air2 Sea program if you make at least $3,500 in purchases on your card in the first 90 days of account opening. This discount, which expires 18 months after it is issued, will be credited to your reservation after the final payment on your cruise reservation. You must also book your airline ticket in connection with a Royal Caribbean cruise reservation. Additionally, there is a non-refundable reservation fee of $15 for North American destinations and $25 for international destinations. Overall, this benefit could be useful if you would have earned the $50 discount anyway through spending you had already intended to put on this card, and you also planned to use the Air2Sea program. Otherwise, you're putting thousands of dollars of spending on a credit card for a relatively small benefit compared with the bonuses offered by other cards with similar spending requirements.
- Higher Points Earning Rate Available for Three Cruise Lines: You aren’t limited to earning 2 MyCruise points per dollar on only Royal Caribbean purchases. This higher earning rate extends to Celebrity Cruises and Azamara, as well.
- No Annual Fee: This card does not charge an annual fee. That means you can keep your card without having to evaluate whether the rewards and other benefits potentially justify the cost of the annual fee.
- MyCruise Points Only Good for Cruising Redemption Options: You can redeem your MyCruise points for a variety of rewards, but they all involve cruising, cruise-related merchandise, or charitable donations. For people who may not always want to redeem their rewards for cruises, this can be a significant drawback compared with cash back cards that allow you to use your rewards for virtually anything.
- Point Earning Rates Aren't Outstanding: You earn 2 MyCruise points per dollar spent only on eligible Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara purchases. Many other rewards credit cards offer a wider variety of earning categories and some have higher rewards rates. The 1 MyCruise point per dollar spent is lacking compared to simple 1.5% or 2% cash back credit cards.
- Points Expire After Five Years: MyCruise points expire five years after the month they were earned. If you’re saving up to redeem your points for a free cruise, this may not be sufficient time to accumulate enough of them. Some other credit card rewards programs have points that never expire.
- Limit of 540,000 MyCruise Points per Year: The rewards program limits the number of MyCruise points you can earn each calendar year to 540,000. While this limit is lofty, many other rewards programs set no cap on how many points you can earn.
This Card is Best For
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature card may be worthwhile for frequent Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, or Azamara cruisers—if they spend enough money with these cruise lines and carefully redeem their points for the maximum value. However, the low points rate on all other purchases and the less than optimal rewards redemption options mean that another credit card would likely provide more value.
Royal Caribbean Visa Signature's Bonus
You can earn 10,000 MyCruise points for making a single transaction on your card within the first 90 days of account opening. For the purposes of this bonus, a transaction is considered to be a purchase, balance transfer, or cash advance. When redeemed for their maximum value, these 10,000 MyCruise points could be worth up to $200 for certain premium cruise options, although their average value of $0.01 per point (according to Investopedia's valuation) would make the bonus only worth $100. The bonus is only for new accounts and will not apply to account conversion requests. The bonus points take about six to eight weeks to be posted to your account after you qualify.
Rewards Earning Details
The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature card allows you to earn 2 MyCruise points per dollar on eligible purchases made through Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, or Azamara. You'll also earn 1 MyCruise point per dollar on all other purchases. These reward earning rates are low when you consider other credit cards offer as much as 2% cash back on all purchases and sometimes higher reward earning rates in specific spending categories.
The points you earn expire five years after the month they were earned. Additionally, you’re limited to earning 540,000 MyCruise points in any given calendar year. If your account is closed for any reason, points that have not yet been redeemed will be forfeited.
Rewards Redemption Details
You can redeem your MyCruise rewards points for several options starting at 1,000 points. Unfortunately, all of the redemption options deal with cruising, cruise merchandise, or charitable donations. The rewards options result in per point values of roughly 1 to 2 cents.
You have to be careful when redeeming your rewards to make sure you get the maximum value. For example, you can redeem 50,000 MyCruise points for a three- or four-night Royal Caribbean cruise. The cruise can have a value of up to $1,000, but the reward is only good for the minimum available oceanview stateroom. If this stateroom is worth less than $1,000 for the cruise you book, you won’t receive the full value of 2 cents per MyCruise point.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Maximizing your rewards with the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature card is a two-part process. First, you need to earn all of the MyCruise Points and benefits possible. This includes making a transaction in the first 90 days to collect the 10,000 points bonus as well as spending $3,500 in the first 90 days to earn the $50 discount on Royal Caribbean’s Air2Sea program.
You'd also want to put all of your qualifying Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara purchases on the card to earn the 2 MyCruise points per dollar spent. Bear in mind that you can likely earn a higher value on all other purchases by putting them on a different credit card that earns higher than 1% cash back.
Then, once you've earned enough MyCruise points, redeem them for an option that allows up to 2 cents in value per point and consider any cash back earned on another card as a partial offset to any additional cruise-related costs.
- $50 Air2Sea discount with $3,500 in spending in first 90 days
- No foreign transaction fees
In J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Bank of America, which issues the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature card, received a score of 798 out of 1,000. The national issuer average score was 806.
This card gives you free access to your FICO score, updated on a monthly basis, through the mobile banking app or bank website. If you have questions and need to reach customer service, it’s available 24/7 at 800-421-2110.
The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature card has chip-and-PIN technology. That allows you to make purchases at unattended terminals overseas that only accept chip-and-PIN transactions. Otherwise, the security features for this card are in line with industry standards.
Fees to Watch Out For
The fees on this card are relatively standard for the industry. On the plus side, it has no annual fee and doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, which can be a money saver when visiting overseas ports. However, If you make a late payment, you’ll be subject to a variable penalty APR of up to 29.99%. And once you trigger the penalty APR, it will apply to new purchases indefinitely.
The Royal Caribbean Visa Signature card may be useful for people who frequently cruise with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, or Azamara. It doesn't charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fees, and the 10,000 MyCruise points bonus for making a transaction in the first 90 days could help pay for part of your cruise. But for non-qualifying, non-cruise purchases you would likely get more value by using a separate card, like the Citi Double Cash, which offers 1% cash back on purchases and an additional 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases.