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The Platinum Card® from American Express has many benefits that can justify its $550 annual fee (see rates & fees). You probably already know about the credits that can effectively lower your annual fee: the up to $200 in annual Uber credit, up to $200 airline fee credit, and up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit and a statement credit for a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee every four years (up to $100).
And, you’re probably aware of the card’s many benefits including a Priority Pass Select membership, access to Centurion lounges, access to Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta, access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status, Hilton Honors Gold status and excellent evacuation insurance when traveling regardless of whether you paid for your trip with your Platinum Card. In short, there’s a reason I refer to The Platinum Card as a membership card instead of an integral part of my points and miles strategy.
Today, let’s consider another one of the Platinum Card’s benefits: access to the American Express Cruise Privileges Program. This program offers US Platinum Charge Card members and US Centurion Card members exclusive benefits and complimentary amenities on sailings of five nights or more, so let’s consider the benefits offered in more detail.
The Cruise Privileges Program is valid for cruises of 5 nights or more on select cruise lines. You’ll need to book through an approved channel, as noted below in the “How to Book” section. The program benefits require double occupancy, and the Platinum or Centurion card member must travel on the itinerary booked — although up to two other staterooms on the same sailing can be booked by the card member and also be eligible for the program’s benefits. So if you have the Amex Platinum, you could book a cruise trip for your family and all of you could enjoy perks.
If you book an eligible cruise, you’ll receive exclusive benefits and complimentary amenities on your cruise. In particular, you’ll get a shipboard credit and additional exclusive amenities unique to each cruise line. Note that these benefits aren’t available on Celebrity Cruises Galapagos Sailings, and that additional amenities aren’t available on the Silversea Expedition Fleet.
Shipboard Credit Details
For eligible cruises, the shipboard credit per stateroom depends on the type of stateroom:
- $100 shipboard credit for inside and outside staterooms
- $200 shipboard credit for balcony, verandah and mini-suite staterooms
- $300 shipboard credit for suites on Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International
There are some exceptions for particular stateroom types with select cruise providers:
- $300 shipboard credit for all Queen Mary oceanview staterooms category EF or higher, and Queen Victoria/ Queen Elizabeth oceanview staterooms category FA or higher on Cunard Line
- $300 USD shipboard credit for all stateroom categories on Ama Waterways, Oceania, Regent, Azamara, Seabourn, Crystal, Silversea, Uniworld and Windstar
- Centurion Members receive an additional $200 ($500 total) shipboard credit on Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn and Silversea
All shipboard credits will be credited to your stateroom folio upon checkout, but they can’t be used for casino charges or gratuities.
Additional Amenity Details
For eligible cruises, you’ll get an additional amenity unique to each cruise line:
- Ama Waterways: $100 spa voucher per cabin
- Azamara: Behind-the-scenes ship tour and one bottle of premium champagne
- Celebrity Cruises: Bottle of champagne or wine per stateroom
- Crystal Cruises: $200 per stateroom shore excursion credit
- Cunard: Bottle of wine
- Holland America Line: Plate of chocolate-covered strawberries
- Norwegian Cruise Line: Complimentary dinner for two at Le Bistro Restaurant
- Oceania: Premium wine tasting event, plus a bottle of wine of your choice from the tasting menu
- Princess Cruises: Plate of canapés
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Exclusive private galley tour
- Royal Caribbean International: Bottle of premium champagne or wine
- Seabourn: Bottle of wine, and exclusive “suite dreams” turndown service, including a glass of wine per person, bowl of strawberries and white chocolate mousse (once per cruise)
- Silversea: Bottle of Dom Perignon (or similarly valued champagne) per suite, and exclusive tour of the ship’s galley
- Uniworld: Bottle of champagne and box of chocolates
- Windstar: Canapés, bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries
How to Book
Once you’re ready to book, American Express recommends going to americanexpress.com/cruises or calling 800-525-3355. You can also book through the Platinum Travel Service, Centurion Travel Service, any American Express Travel office, eligible Travel Associate Platform agencies or the Agency Services Desk if you prefer. If you are using a travel agent, have them visit americanexpress.com/asdonline.
You’ll need to pay with an American Express card in the Platinum or Centurion member’s name. If you book through American Express Travel or an eligible Travel Associate Platform agency with most American Express cards, you’ll usually earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the cruise. This is true even if you use an Amex card that provides an additional bonus on some purchases, such as the Business Platinum® Card from American Express‘ 1.5x on purchases over $5,000 or the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express‘ 50% bonus if you make 30 or more purchases in a billing period. The information for the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
You can also pay with points at a rate of 0.7 cents per point. Considering that TPG’s latest valuations peg American Express Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each, this is a poor redemption unless you have more Membership Rewards points than you know how to use.
Note that there are often Amex Offers for select cruise lines. These Amex Offers require you to book directly with the cruise line or “through your travel professional.” So, presumably you could book through some of the methods listed above and get both the Amex Offer statement credit and the benefits of the Cruise Privileges Program. I haven’t tried this personally though, so please comment below if you have recent data points.
In the test bookings I tried, including multiple Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises in Alaska and the Caribbean, the price quoted on the cruise line’s website was identical to the price quoted by American Express Cruise Privileges Program. The prices were identical even though Royal Caribbean displayed special discounts such as a 50% discount on the second guest — so I expect that the prices will generally be the same whether you book direct or through the Cruise Privileges Program.
The Cruise Privileges Program bookings have a shipboard credit and additional amenity included — so you should come out ahead when compared with simply booking directly with the cruise line. This being said, you may find better offers through websites like CruiseComplete.com, other credit card programs and discount booking venues like Costco. So, check all your booking options to get the best deal.
If you’re planning a cruise, take a look at TPG‘s other cruise content:
- Which Cruise Brand Is Best for You? A Guide to 16 of the Most Popular Lines
- The Best Cruises You Can Take From New York
- 11 of the Best Cruises from Los Angeles
- The Best Credit Cards for Booking Cruises
- 6 Ways to Use Points and Miles on a Cruise Vacation
- An Overview of Cruise Line Loyalty Programs
- The 7 Most Exciting New Cruise Ships of 2019
Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises.
For rates & fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
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WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees