Enjoy shipboard credit, cruise perks with Amex Platinum and Amex’s Cruise Privileges Program

Jul 23, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current information. It was originally published on April 18, 2019.

The Platinum Card® from American Express has many benefits that can justify its $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). You already know about the yearly benefits that effectively lower your annual fee: Up to $200 in Uber Cash ($15 every month plus a bonus $20 in December); an airline fee statement credit of up to $200; up to $240 in digital entertainment credits (up to $20 each month); up to $200 in hotel credits when booking through Amex Travel; a statement credit for a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee every four years (up to $100) — the list goes on (enrollment required for select benefits)

Oh, and it’s got a massive 100,000-point welcome offer after spending $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of account opening (worth $2,000 in travel, per TPG valuations).

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You’re probably also aware of the card’s many VIP-esque perks, including a Priority Pass Select membership, access to Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta and the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, etc. (enrollment required for select benefits here, too).

But let’s consider another Platinum Card benefit that doesn’t get as much air time: Access to the American Express Cruise Privileges Program. This program offers U.S. Platinum and U.S. Centurion cardmembers exclusive benefits and complimentary amenities on sailings of five nights or more. Here are the details.

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)

Related reading: The 9 most anticipated new cruise ships of 2021

In This Post

Program basics

The Cruise Privileges Program is valid for cruises of five 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 cardmember must travel on the itinerary booked, although up to two other staterooms on the same sailing can be booked by the cardmember 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 everyone could enjoy the perks.

(Photo courtesy of American Express)

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. Per the programs terms, onboard amenities will vary by participating cruise line — and select cruises won’t offer any amenities at all:

  • Silver Explorer
  • Silver Galapagos
  • Silver Discoverer
  • Celebrity Cruises Galapagos sailings (no onboard amenities or credits)
(Photo courtesy of American Express)

Shipboard credit

Accessible Ocean View Balcony Stateroom Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas
A balcony stateroom with an ocean view aboard Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)

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 ocean view staterooms category EF or higher, and Queen Victoria/Queen Elizabeth ocean-view staterooms category FA or higher on Cunard Line
  • $300 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 amenities

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 a 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 complimentary bottle of wine from the wine-tasting event
  • Princess Cruises: Plate of canapés
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Exclusive private galley tour
  • Royal Caribbean International: Bottle of champagne per stateroom
  • Seabourn: Bottle of premium wine per stateroom and exclusive “Suite Dreams” turndown service once per cruise
  • Silversea: Bottle of premium champagne and tour of the vessel’s galley (except Silversea Expeditions)
  • Uniworld: One bottle of wine and fresh flowers per stateroom
  • Windstar: “Romance Under Sail” amenity package, canapés, a bottle of premium champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries

How to book

Once you’re ready to book, American Express recommends going to americanexpress.com/cruises or calling 866-669-4423. 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.

(Photo courtesy of American Express)

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 two Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on the cruise. But, the American Express® Green Card will continue to earn 3x points as long as the purchase is classified as travel.

The information for the Amex Green 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 pare down your results by destination, month and cruise line.

(Photo courtesy of American Express)

Then decide which room you’d like. Remember, the statement credits you receive from your Amex Platinum are tied directly to the type of room you get. The prices shown are per person, so double occupancy means you’re paying twice the listed price.

(Photo courtesy of American Express)

After you enter your traveler information, you’ll be taken to the checkout page. You can also use 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 rate unless you have more Membership Rewards points than you can use.

(Photo courtesy of American Express)

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 though, so please comment below if you have recent experience with this.

What to know about booking cruises through Amex Travel

Although only Amex Platinum and Amex Centurion cardholders can book through the Amex Cruise Privileges Program and get the statement credits and additional amenities described in this guide, any American Express cardholder can book cruises through Amex Travel.

To book, you can go to the Amex Travel homepage and click on Cruises.

(Photo courtesy of American Express)

Although bookings through Amex Travel that aren’t part of the Amex Cruise Privileges Program won’t necessarily get statement credits and other perks, some itineraries do feature special statement credits or experiences when you book through Amex Travel.

(Photo courtesy of American Express)

Earning points on Amex Travel bookings

Most American Express Membership Rewards cards will earn 2x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on cruises purchased through the Amex Travel portal. However, the American Express Green Card earns 3x on travel, so it will earn 3x points per dollar spent on cruises purchased through the Amex Travel portal.

Cancellation fees on Amex Travel bookings

There are no service fees charged by Amex Travel for changing or canceling your cruise reservation online. But, individual cruise line penalties may apply depending upon the sale date, the length of sale and the destination. You should check the cancellation fees and policy of your cruise line. In general, cruise cancellation fees increase as you get closer to your departure date.

Bottom line

Bookings made through the Amex Cruise Privileges Program come with a shipboard credit and additional amenity. This means you may come out ahead when compared with simply booking directly with the cruise line. You may find better offers through websites such as CruiseComplete.com, other credit card programs and discount booking venues including Costco. So check all your booking options to get the best deal.

Official application link: The Platinum Card from American Express

For rates & fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.
For rates & fees of the Amex Green, click here.

Featured photo courtesy of Cavan Images/Getty Images

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $2,000

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber Cash annually (only for use in the U.S.)  (Enrollment required for select benefits)

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
  • $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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