I Got a Free Carnival Cruise Offer through Status Matching!

Carnival Cruise Line thinks I’m a gambling high roller, and they invited me on a free cruise. Let me explain.

I currently have Hyatt Explorist status. I keep it every year by matching to MGM Rewards (formerly mLife) and then back again (see this post). 

Last year, after reading a post on Frequent Miler, I decided to match my MGM Gold status to Carnival Cruise Line through Carnival’s Fun Match program. After that, I received some offers for discounted Carnival cruises, but nothing substantial and definitely no “free cruise” offers.

Until now.

Free Carnival Cruise Offers

Last week, I received an email for a free inside room on Carnival. The offer was valid on many ships and dates through September 2023. It was even valid for a 14-night transatlantic cruise on a newer ship! Wow, what a deal!

I was tempted. REALLY tempted. However, my husband is running low on PTO time. Plus, I can’t be away from home that long while my kids are in school. And admittedly, I don’t love inside cabins. I’m slightly claustrophobic, and I need at least a window.

My family actually had a Carnival cruise booked for next January. Unfortunately, after learning my husband would not be able to get off work for it, I decided to cancel it. This offer almost tempted me to re-book that same cruise just for me and a kid (or two). I decided to wait a few days and think about it.

The very next day, I got another email, but this time for a free BALCONY room! Now we’re talking! And no, I couldn’t resist this deal.

While the deal says it’s for a “free” balcony room, it’s technically a $100 deposit per person with a $100 onboard credit for up to two people. Plus, you have to pay port taxes (which are $128 per person on the cruise we were looking at). There is no requirement to spend money in the casino.

With the offer, I could choose any balcony room. So of course I picked a cabin with an extended balcony. Why not?

The cruise visits two ports we’ve never been to, Amber Cove and Grand Turk. The ship has a roller coaster on the top deck.

For me and my son, the total cost of our cruise on the brand new Carnival Celebration including taxes and fees is $457.72. Plus, we get $200 of onboard credit to spend on excursions, drinks, etc. And of course, we will need to pay tips on board. So, it’s not free, but it’s a heck of a deal for sure.

I hope to use miles and points for flights and a hotel the night before the cruise.

Do I Have a Gambling Problem?

No, I’m not a gambler. I just happen to have MGM Gold status due to status matches. Carnival wants to attract gamblers to their cruises to spend money in their onboard casinos.

But, I AM a sucker for good deals. And yes, my family travels too much. But soon enough, my kids will be flown and grown. So, YOLO.

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