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Faster path to status and new perks: Norwegian Cruise Line revamps its loyalty program

Jan. 11, 2022
6 min read
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Getting status with Norwegian Cruise Line is getting easier.

The world's fourth-biggest cruise brand late Monday unveiled an overhaul of its six-tier loyalty program, Latitudes Rewards, that brings lower point thresholds to reach most tier levels.

Effective immediately, members wll only need 20 and 45 points, respectively, to reach the second and third tiers of the program, known as Silver and Gold. That's down from 30 and 55 points, respectively.

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Members only will need 75 points to get to the fourth tier of the program, Platinum. That's down from 80 points.

As part of the revamp, the fifth tier of the program, Platinum Plus, is being renamed Sapphire and now will take 150 points to reach, down from 175 points. The requirement to reach the top tier of the program, Ambassador, remains the same at 700 points.

But, in another major change to the program, the line has added a new tier level just below the Ambassador level, called Diamond. It takes 350 points to reach the new Diamond level.

As a result of the addition, the program now has seven tier levels.

Related: The ultimate guide to Norwegian Cruise Line

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Changes to Latitudes Rewards perks

The good news for Norwegian fans is that even as the line is reducing the number of points it takes to reach many of the program's tier levels, it's not changing most of the key perks previously associated with each of the levels.

Members still will get discounts at onboard duty free shops starting at the entry-level Bronze tier and discounts on shore excursions, photo packages and spa treatments starting at the Silver level.

Upon reaching the top Ambassador tier, members still will get a one-time complimentary seven-night cruise for two -- one of the best cruise perks you can find in any cruise line loyalty program.

Related: A beginner's guide to cruise line loyalty programs

The new tiers of Latitudes Rewards. (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

Still, a couple notable perks that many Norwegian fans had come to love have disappeared from the program.

Most notably, members no longer will get priority check-in at the pier, no matter what their status level. This is a perk that used to be available to all Latitudes Rewards members, even those with lowly first-tier Bronze status.

Norwegian didn't say why it had removed priority check-in as a perk of the program. But as part of new COVID-19 safety protocols, Norwegian and some other lines over the past two years have switched to a timed-arrival system for check-in that spreads out the arrival of cruisers on embarkation days. As a result, priority check-in has become less meaningful.

Related: A beginner's guide to picking a cruise line

Also gone from the program is the free bottle of sparkling wine that passengers at all tiers of the program starting with the Bronze level would receive in their cabins.

In addition, Norwegian no longer is giving Bronze level members 15 to 30 minutes of free internet time when they buy an internet package. Instead, the line is giving members at the Platinum level and above a 15% to 25% discount on internet packages. This is a downgrade for lower-tier members but a big upgrade for higher-tier members (at least for those who don't get free internet as a perk as part of a booking promotion).

The various changes have made the initial Bronze level (which is earned after just one cruise) notably less enticing. But, for the most part, the value of the perks in the levels above are basically the same as they were before.

One notable upgrade to the program's perks: Platinum level members now get a new complimentary wine tasting when sailing, called Wines Around the World.

The new Diamond level brings two perks, both new to the program: Access to a complimentary Sail & Sustain Mixology experience and a one-time free cabin upgrade.

Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship

Earning Latitudes rewards points

The process for earning points in the overhauled Latitudes Rewards program will remain the same. Under the terms of the revamped program, you still will get:

  • 1 point for every night you spend on a ship.
  • An additional 1 point per night when staying in a Concierge-level cabin, full-fare suite (not mini-suites or club balcony suites) or The Haven rooms.
  • An additional 1 point per night when on a cruise booked via a Latitudes Rewards Insider Offer. These are special offers for Latitudes Rewards members.

Note that the extra point per night for suites only applies to stays in suites booked when a reservation is originally made. It doesn't apply to stays in suites that result from an upgrade.

Bottom line

Norwegian has long offered one of the best loyalty programs in the cruise business, with such notable perks as free meals in extra-charge restaurants, priority seating at shows and even a free cruise for members at top tiers.

For the most part, the overhaul of the program announced late Monday just makes the program better. It gives Norwegian fans a faster path to higher status and some new perks, to boot. Only a handful of the program's previous perks have disappeared -- none of them of great consequence.

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Featured image by Michel Verdure
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more