You can earn and redeem Marriott points on Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection cruises

Nov 9, 2021

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After multiple delays, the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection is set to begin sailing in May 2022. Ahead of the launch, Marriott has announced some exciting news for loyalty members: The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will participate in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program.

Specifically, Marriott Bonvoy members will be able to earn and redeem points on Ritz-Carlton cruises, as well as enjoy elite-status perks on voyages. This is welcome news considering the handful of exclusive Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties don’t participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program and Ritz-Carlton properties do not offer the same range of benefits for elite members that other high-end Marriott-associated labels do.

That said, the earning and redemption rates and elite perks are significantly different than they are for hotel stays so let’s take a further look at all of the details.

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Earning Marriott points and elite status on the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

Marriott Bonvoy members will earn five points per dollar spent on cruise fares, as well as on the hotel package rate for participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels booked through the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Members will not earn points for incidentals and elite members will not earn their usual point bonuses on spending, so everyone earns just a flat rate of five points per dollar.

While certainly better than nothing, we’d like to see earning rates be a little higher. By comparison, the majority of Marriott hotels — including Ritz-Carlton properties — earn 10 points per dollar spent on stays, including on-property charges such as restaurant tabs or spa bills. The usual exception is for Marriott’s long-term stay brands, including Residence Inn and Homes and Villas by Marriott, where members typically earn 5 points per dollar.

However, Marriott cobranded credit cardholders should earn the same points bonuses they do on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

On top of that base earning rate, here’s how many points you should accrue on RItz-Carlton Yacht cruise fares depending on the Marriott credit card you have:

Given how high the cruise fares are, this could really boost your earning dramatically.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

In another bit of good news, in addition to award points, members will receive one elite night credit per night on board. Additionally, the cruise fare and hotel package rate will apply toward the annual qualifying spend requirement for top-tier Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite status.

Related: 17 ways to earn lots of Marriott Bonvoy points

Redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points on the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

The redemption structure will also work quite differently from traditional hotel stays. Points will have a fixed value, so there are no “sweet spots” to speak of. You also don’t need sufficient points to cover your entire trip. Here’s how it’s going to work.

You can redeem a minimum of 180,000 points toward a flat $1,000 savings on the cruise fare. After that, you can redeem increments of 90,000 points toward a $500 savings, up to the entire cruise fare. As with paid bookings, you must call to book.

Just to give you an idea, the lowest cruise fare published right now by Ritz-Carlton is $3,900, so you’d need a whopping 720,000 points to cover that entire five-night sailing. However, some sailings cost upwards of $10,000 so you could sometimes be redeeming 1.8 million or more points.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

This redemption rate equates to about 0.55 cents per Marriott point, which is well below our TPG’s 0.8 cents per point valuation, but the same you’d get when redeeming for vacation homes through Homes and Villas by Marriott. While pure speculation at this point, this could give us a better idea of how much Marriott points might be worth once it drops award charts next year and moves to fully dynamic pricing. Let’s hope not!

Marriott also lets you redeem points toward cruise bookings through its Cruise With Points program. In that case, redemptions start at 63,000 points for a $250 credit, yielding an even lower 0.4 cents in value, so at least luxury cruisers will be doing better than that.

Related: How to book a cruise using points and miles

Elite recognition

Although Bonvoy elite members might not earn bonus points on their voyages, their status will still get them special perks onboard. The benefits are different from those offered by hotels since the cruises are already all-inclusive.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Here’s an overview of the benefits, broken down by status level. The benefits will apply to the elite member, plus any companions staying in the same suite.

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite
Private invitation to Marriott Bonvoy elite reception
Choice of in-suite welcome gift (varies by status level)
Complimentary first evening laundry pressing
Priority boarding and departure
Early access to S.E.A. specialty restaurant reservations
Complimentary laundry throughout the cruise

It’s good to see that Marriott has thought through how to reward its elite members on Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection cruises with perks like early restaurant reservations and complimentary laundry. But it would have been more impressive if suite upgrades or some sort of bespoke service had been included for top-tier Ambassador Elites, and it remains to be seen exactly what those in-suite welcome gifts will be.

Bottom line

While the earning and redemption rates may seem a bit lackluster compared to hotel stays, overall, it’s very good news that the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will participate in Marriott Bonvoy so that members can at least earn some points on voyages and have the option to redeem points for savings — albeit at a low-value rate. Further, there are some tangible benefits for elite members.

The first Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection sailing will be aboard the ship Evrima and is scheduled to sail from May 6 to May 17, 2022, from Lisbon, Portugal. You’ll need to call for specific pricing but you can expect to pay a pretty penny, regardless of whether you’re paying with cash or points.

If you already have an existing booking, you should be able to add your Marriott Bonvoy number by calling in.

Featured photo courtesy of Marriott.

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