Everything you need to know about MSC Cruises’ loyalty program

Oct 7, 2020

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European-based MSC Cruises has made significant efforts to enter the U.S. cruise market with megaships and a new private island in the Bahamas. I took my first MSC cruise back in February with my family of four and we thoroughly enjoyed it. There are plenty of new ships on order for the line, including the World Class ships that will be the second-largest ever built.

With many of these ships sure to visit the United States in the coming years, now is a great time to learn about MSC Cruises’ loyalty program, which is called MSC Voyagers Club.

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MSC Voyagers Club basics

Like most cruise loyalty programs, MSC Voyagers Club rewards you the more you cruise. The rewards come not in the form of free cruises, but in status levels with more valuable benefits the more you cruise. The points you earn toward Voyagers Club status cannot be redeemed for anything; they exist just to keep track of which status you attain.

There are four status levels in the MSC Voyagers Club: Classic, Silver, Gold and Diamond. You can enroll in the program without taking a cruise at which point you will technically be a “Welcome” member of the program.

Points required for the different levels are as follows:

  • Classic: 1 — 2,199 points
  • Silver: 2,200 — 4,299 points
  • Gold: 4,300 — 9,999 points
  • Diamond: 10,000+ points

You earn points based on the length of cruise and which “experience” you book for your MSC cruise. You can think of different experiences by what’s included in your cruise fare. A Bella experience is the most basic MSC booking and the MSC Yacht Club is the top experience where you have a private area of the ship with a bar, pool and butler service. Everything, including alcohol, is included on your MSC Yacht Club-level cruise and you’ll earn maximum Voyagers Club points.

Here is a chart depicting how many points you’ll earn.

Every person in your stateroom will earn the points for the cruise based on the chart above. You can also earn points with onboard spending and any prebookings you did before embarkation. You’ll earn 100 points for every $150 in prepaid expenses and onboard expenses. Only the Voyagers Club member who makes the final payment for the onboard expenses will receive those points.

For expenses for onboard services prepaid before the cruise, which applies to all cabin occupants (and not single occupants), points will be equally distributed among the cabin occupants. For example, say the total amount of prepaid onboard services that apply to all cabin occupants before the cruise is $600. If there are four cabin occupants, the spending for the points calculation of each member will be $150, which is equal to 100 points.

Earn the most points on a cruise by booking the Yacht Club experience. Photo courtesy author.

The final way to earn points is by updating your contact details up to 72 hours before departure on your next cruise. This will earn you 100 points. All points, including for the cruise, onboard spend and updating your profile, are awarded approximately 10 days after cruise completion.

As would be expected, the benefits from each level become more and more attractive as you move your way up status levels.

I would categorize Classic, Silver and Gold membership perks as things nice to have but nothing, in particular, stands out. I’m sure customer service is a bit better the higher you move up, but the real perks begin at Diamond status. A free specialty dinner, some treats in your cabin, late disembarkation and priority access for everything from dinner to tenders to embarkation makes life easy. Read about all the different status benefits and limitations in the MSC Voyagers Club program terms and conditions.

Once achieved, your status is good as long as you take a cruise at least once every 36 months. If you don’t, not only are your points gone but your entire account is erased and you have to re-enroll and start all over again.

Status match to Diamond from hotel/Cruise/Casino Status

This is the aspect of the MSC Voyagers Club that caught my eye. You can status match all the way to top-tier Diamond status from several different loyalty programs — most of them not even competing cruise line loyalty programs. There is a dedicated enrollment page for new MSC Voyagers Club members that want to status match. There is a drop-down box on the website showing all of the different programs you can status match from.

I used my Hyatt status and filled out the form on the website, uploading a screenshot of my Hyatt account page showing my Globalist status. About a week later, I received an email welcoming to the Voyagers Club and giving me my membership number along with confirmation that I was now a Diamond member. On my first MSC cruise, I received all Diamond benefits. It’s really quite astounding they do this and there is no reason not to try and status match.

Bottom line

On my very first MSC cruise, I had the luxury of enjoying top-tier Diamond benefits. My status would typically be good for 36 months, but MSC  announced that because of COVD-19, all status will be extended for an additional 12 months. That means I have at least 3.5 years to once again enjoy an MSC Cruises voyage with Diamond status.

Onboard the MSC Divina. Photo courtesy author.
Onboard the MSC Divina. (Photo by Richard Kerr/The Points Guy)

When it comes to cruise loyalty programs, MSC Voyagers Club may be the most generous given its open status match straight to its top-tier level. If you’re unfamiliar with the line, now is a great time to research and plan for your first MSC cruise when the industry returns.

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Featured photo courtesy of MSC Cruises.

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