BofA Royal Caribbean Visa Signature card: A Closer Look

One of the questions I see often in Royal Caribbean online fan groups is: Should I get the Royal Caribbean credit card? Let’s take a closer look at this card to see if it’s a must-have for Royal Caribbean cruisers.

Bank of America Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Card

I don’t see the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature card discussed much with miles and points hobbyists, but it’s sure popular with cruisers. The current offer is:

  • 25,000 bonus points after spending $1000 in the first 90 days (offer on Royal Caribbean website)
  • 2X points on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise purchases
  • 1X points on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Includes Visa Signature travel benefits
  • Yearly maximum points earning is 540,000 and points expire five years after the month you earn them

The points are worth 1 cent a piece for cruise-related benefits like on-board credit, upgrades, etc. For example, the 25,000 points bonus is worth $250 in on-board credit. Check out possible redemptions here.

Photo by Stephanie Klepacki on Unsplash

Why This Card Doesn’t Excite Me

I’ve been on 3 Royal Caribbean cruises, and I’ve got 2 more planned. I’m a fan. But, this card doesn’t excite me for a few reasons:

  • $250 bonus is just not that much
  • Most purchases only earn 1 point per dollar
  • Points expire after five years
  • You can only use the rewards on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises. The points have a very narrow redemption scope.
  • Redemptions have blackout dates and limited quantities

The Cards I Suggest Instead

To get more rewards for a cruise, I suggest the Capital One Venture Rewards card. Currently, the card offers:

  • 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
  • $95 annual fee
  • Cards earn 2X miles on everything
  • Use miles to erase travel expenses (including flights, hotels, other cruise lines, etc.)

This bonus is worth $750 in travel, compared to the $250 bonus of the Royal Caribbean card. Even with the $95 annual fee, you still come out ahead with this card.

You will also accumulate rewards twice as fast (2X vs. 1X on spending). And, with Capital One miles, you’re not limited to only using rewards on Royal Caribbean/Celebrity Cruises.

If you really don’t want a card with an annual fee, I suggest the Citi Double Cash card. The current offer is:

  • $200 cash back after spending $1500 in the first six months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you purchase, 1% when you pay it off. Pay off your card in full every month!)
  • No annual fee

While the bonus on this card is $50 less than the bonus on the Royal Caribbean card, over the long run you will earn rewards twice as fast. Plus, you can use your cash back rewards on anything, not just on Royal Caribbean.

I actually recommend getting both the Capital One Venture Rewards card (for the bonus) and the Citi Double Cash card (for the ongoing 2% cash back without an annual fee).

Final Thoughts

Cruise line credit cards usually don’t have the best offers compared to other travel reward credit cards. With all the other great travel bonuses out there, there’s no reason so settle for one just because it partners with your favorite cruise line.

How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.

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