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Royal Caribbean makes it easier to use future cruise credits

Aug. 25, 2022
4 min read
Royal Caribbean makes it easier to use future cruise credits
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Got a future cruise credit from a canceled cruise with Royal Caribbean that you're having trouble spending? The cruise line just made it easier to recoup the entire credit amount by letting travelers use any leftover credit to pay for onboard expenses on their cruise.

The cruise line announced its updated policy to travel agents on Wednesday, as first reported on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog.

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Many travelers still hold future cruise credit, which they received when their booked cruises were canceled during the pandemic when the cruise industry shut down for more than a year.

They soon discovered that it was not always a simple matter to find a replacement cruise priced the same, down to the penny, as the original booking and credit amount. Some cruisers had to pay the balance in cash; others booked a cruise for less than the amount of the credit, ending up with a small remainder.

Prior to this week, Royal Caribbean would reissue the leftover amount as new future cruise credit. Travelers would have to book a second cruise (and pay the majority out of pocket) or forfeit some of the money they paid. Neither option was ideal for Royal Caribbean's customers.

Now with the change in policy, when cruisers use their future cruise credits to book sailings, any remaining credit will be transferred into onboard credit.

"Starting today, for qualifying bookings and certificates, Royal Caribbean will convert any remaining balance from Future Cruise Credit into Onboard Credits instantly," the company said in a statement emailed to TPG. "This means that any value left at the time of redemption is automatically added as a refundable onboard credit for FCCs redeemed in full."

This new credit can be used to pay for onboard purchases, such as drinks, spa treatments, shore excursions and meals in extra-fee restaurants. (Future cruise credits historically could only be used to pay cruise fares and nothing else.)

This is a much better option for cruisers. It gives them the flexibility to cover a variety of purchases with the unused credit, so it's easier to use up the total amount. Plus, the onboard credit is refundable, according to Royal Caribbean, so should travelers manage not to spend it all, they'll get the remainder back.

The line notes that this policy change applies only to bookings originally made in U.S. dollars and for Cruise with Confidence or Global Suspension certificates of credit.

Related: Cruise onboard credit: What it is, where to get it and how to spend it

Earlier in the industry's post-pandemic recovery, future cruise credits caused much grumbling among cruise fans. They felt forced to use the credit before they felt comfortable traveling again (or before they could cruise again, if they were not vaccinated) — or lose it. Also, if they rebooked a cruise using the credit and the second cruise was canceled, they were no longer able to request a refund in cash.

Earlier this year, according to the RoyalCaribbeanBlog, the cruise line made another passenger-friendly change. It got rid of expiration dates on all future credits offered under its Cruise With Confidence program. This now-defunct program allowed passengers to cancel cruises at the last minute without penalty when the line first returned to cruising after the pandemic-induced shutdown.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by MICHAEL VERDURE/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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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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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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    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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • $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