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

Mar 5, 2020

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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 $550 annual fee (see rates and fees). You probably already know about the yearly credits that effectively lower your annual fee: an Uber credit of up to $200; an airline fee credit of up to $200; a Saks Fifth Avenue credit of up to $100, and a statement credit for a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee every four years (up to $100).

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And, you’re probably aware of the card’s many perks, 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, whether or not you paid for your trip with your Platinum Card.

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

Let’s consider another Platinum Card benefit: 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:

Related reading: The 8 most exciting new cruise ships of 2020

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.

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. These benefits aren’t available on Celebrity Cruises Galapagos Sailings, and additional amenities aren’t available on the Silversea Expedition Fleet.

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, veranda 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
  • 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.

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 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.

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.

How to book

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

If your cruise departs more than 90 days in the future, you may be able to book with only a deposit. In this case, you’ll receive a confirmation email with your final payment due date and online payment instructions after booking.

Benefits of booking cruises through Amex Travel

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.

Two sample offers available through Amex Travel.

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. So, 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. So, 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.

Related guides

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

Featured photo courtesy of Princess Cruises.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 75,000 Points Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,500

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually

*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 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • 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 is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy complimentary 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 through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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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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