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After nearly 900 cruises, Royal Caribbean's biggest fan just hit a milestone that may never be matched

Aug. 11, 2022
5 min read
Royal Caribbean Super Mario
After nearly 900 cruises, Royal Caribbean's biggest fan just hit a milestone that may never be matched
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Mario Salcedo has finally done it.

The Royal Caribbean super fan, known in cruising circles as "Super Mario," has crossed the 10,000-point level in the line's Crown & Anchor Society — a never-before-achieved milestone that many had thought impossible to reach.

Crown & Anchor Society members earn just a single point for every night they spend on a Royal Caribbean ship, with an additional point per night for staying in a suite or cruising solo in a cabin meant for two. So hitting the 10,000-point mark in the program requires a passenger to spend many thousands of nights on a ship.

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Or, to put it another way, you would have to sail nonstop on Royal Caribbean ships for well over a decade in most cases to hit the 10,000-point level. Maybe two decades, depending on your cabin category. Maybe more.

Salcedo, who is a bit of a legend in the cruise world, has done just that.

The 70-something investment manager has lived (and worked) nearly full time on Royal Caribbean ships for more than 20 years. In a typical year, he spends just a few nights shoreside. The only major break he's had from cruising in the past two decades was when Royal Caribbean stopped operating ships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salcedo hit the 10,000-point milestone over the weekend while aboard Royal Caribbean's 3,286-passenger Explorer of the Seas. The ship departed Miami on Saturday on an eight-night voyage to the Southern Caribbean.

Top Royal Caribbean executives, including leaders of the company's Crown & Anchor loyalty program, joined Mario Salcedo (center, bottom row) in a celebration aboard Explorer of the Seas. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Several of Royal Caribbean's top executives — including senior vice president for hotel operations Sean Treacy and senior vice president for marine operations Greg Purdy — joined Salcedo on board Explorer of the Seas over the weekend for a "10,000 points party" to celebrate the milestone. Also on hand were vice president for food and beverage Linken D’Souza, vice president for hotel operations Raimud Gschaider, and director for entertainment activity programming Ken Rush.

Related: A beginners guide to cruise line loyalty programs

Salcedo rarely talks with the media and could not be reached for comment by TPG. But Royal Caribbean told TPG Salcedo had sailed on 870 cruises with the line. The company said he spent about 50 weeks a year on the line's ships.

No other cruiser has ever come close to the 10,000-point mark in the Crown & Anchor Society, where even accumulating a few hundred points is considered a major milestone for most people.

Royal Caribbean fans reach the highest tier of the Crown & Anchor Society program, the Pinnacle Club, after accumulating 700 points. For most people, that requires taking 100 seven-night cruises. Salcedo has been at that level for many years.

As a Pinnacle Club member, Salcedo is lavished with special perks, including access to a special seating area in shipboard theaters, access to shipboard concierge lounges and suite lounges, daily breakfast at a specialty restaurant that is open for Pinnacle Club members only and a flexible arrival time for boarding.

Related: The ultimate guide to picking a cruise line

Perhaps the biggest perks that Salcedo gets as a Pinnacle Club member are regular free seven-night Caribbean cruises for two. Pinnacle Club members get a free cruise upon reaching the tier and then an additional one every time they accumulate another 350 points.

Like other Royal Caribbean cruisers who reach the Pinnacle Club tier of the Crown & Anchor Society, Salcedo will remain a Pinnacle Club member for life. In a major difference from the way most airline loyalty programs work, most cruise line loyalty programs, including the Crown & Anchor Society program, do not make cruisers requalify for status every year.

In the Royal Caribbean program, your point totals never expire and only grow over time.

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Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)
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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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases