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GenghisQuan

Best loyalty program?

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1. And what is the cost of the air credit? Value of any credit must only be counted against the actual cost of not having the credit. An air credit of $800 does not count as having saved me $800 if it only costs $400 to fly there.

 

2. As for the OLife benefits, it is quite clear that they are not the automatic deductions that you were portraying them as. There are a host of limitations to them. If you were to take an O Alaska cruise, you cannot use these credits for most of the more desirable excursions, so what good are they, exactly? Unlimited alcohol? So, a glass of wine at lunch and dinner plus a cocktail and an evening drink. 80 drinks over the course of the cruise is about 8-900, sure. Subtract 400 for the cost of the 20 per person per night and we're back at a 400 savings, might as well take the OBC which is more flexible.

 

3. Fair enough. Is there a schedule? Or shall we simply say -125 per person?

 

4. Relevancy? A benefit available from others at various lines simply means that this benefit isn't really a factor that raises one above the other.

 

5. So, you take the 14-day cruise for free, and you still must take another 19 cruises!? Each of which will cost you another 2000 (per person) to take another cruise? How on Earth is that a good deal?
 

6. I know my food, thanks, and food critics were never meant to be an authoritative source on anything, merely a consultative one to determine whether you personally might enjoy a particular food item. Your spiny lobster in a pasta with a garlic and tomato based sauce with oregano and red chili pepper flakes is, well, just that, spiny lobster in a pasta with a garlic and tomato based sauce with oregano and red chili pepper flakes. How is their 松鼠桂鱼? Or failing that, a chirashi spread that used to be alive just that morning? 닭강정 just out of the fryer? Let's get more down to earth: do they have a smoked brisket similar to that which can be found at the Salt Lick, Dripping Springs, TX? How about chicken and waffles? Shrimp and grits? Maryland-style crab cakes? If you made their food for a local of the place where that food comes from, what would their reaction be?

 

Moreover, if you didn't want us to consider the Internet package as a factor, maybe don't talk it up so much as one of many obvious reasons why O is the obvious choice for anyone and everyone? I am also curious that you would raise the Disneyland Anaheim as your example, rather than the much bigger one in Orlando. And also ignore the existence of Six Flags, or Cedar Point, for that matter.


And the math isn't fuzzy at all. It's actually quite simple. Do you have a for-fee credit card? Because I do. It costs 450/year. I have it because we generally visit Napa at least once or twice per year, and this card gives me a $300 credit with Marriott and also a free night certificate, which put together, means I get the other benefits of the card (Priority Pass, Marriott status, Global Entry credit) for the same amount of spend that I would have incurred anyway. But the $300 credit and the free night does not mean I got to live in a hotel for free.

Similarly, you paid 100K for the ability to take a free cruise and another one every 20 nights. In no way does the free cruise offset the amount you already spent moving up to that level, any more than winning $100 at slots offsets the $500 you put into the machine prior to that point.

As for the comparison...it does not become useless merely because you say it does. "Worlds apart"? Again, by what objective criteria? Because the objective criteria you have stated do not sound nearly enough to offset the costs, and the subjective ones are...well, highly subjective, to say the least.

Not sure how much utils you put in fine sheets and stewards who remember your name, but I doubt most consider this worth an extra $500 per person.

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29 minutes ago, GenghisQuan said:

..............

Maryland for crab cakes? Time for you to switch  to Dungeness here in NorCal. Speaking of which....   Napa for wine? Next trip, head west and north to Sonoma and Mendocino (nothing quite like a Deep End Mendo Pinot Noir).

 

Given your comments, it sounds like you'll be happier sticking with the mass market lines. Please remind me which one(s) give you repetitive complimentary cruises at regular intervals?

 

Don't worry about Oceania and the other premium/luxury lines. Most of their itineraries will continue to fill soon after they're announced.  And their regular customers will continue to cruise multiple trips per year solely because they enjoy them. The loyalty perks are just "icing on the cake."

 

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Never mind NorCal Dungeness, British Columbia is where it's at. As for wines…not much for reds, but Australia, NZ, and the Pacific Northwest blows Napa out of the water. Am more of a bourbon and baijiu man myself.

 

As far as which mass market lines give free cruises at regular intervals…Royal, Norwegian, and Celebrity (insofar as that's a "mass market line") all do. But that's neither here nor there, as the free cruise simply isn't the offset that it was claimed to be.

 

No one said O or any other luxury line wasn't good, mind. The quibble is merely in just how much extra value and utils they bring to the table for the extra cost.

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Posted (edited)

A spacious cabin is important to us.  Our usual cabin on Princess is a mini-suite - 320 square feet - or a full suite - 450 square feet and up.  We get most of the premium line brochures and just a cursory glance shows that the price on the premium lines for a cabin of equivalent size is so much more expensive that I can't justify it great food or not.  I would prefer to be able to take 2 ocean cruises on a mass market line than only one on a premium.

Edited by capriccio

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1 hour ago, GenghisQuan said:

Never mind NorCal Dungeness, British Columbia is where it's at. As for wines…not much for reds, but Australia, NZ, and the Pacific Northwest blows Napa out of the water. Am more of a bourbon and baijiu man myself.

 

As far as which mass market lines give free cruises at regular intervals…Royal, Norwegian, and Celebrity (insofar as that's a "mass market line") all do. But that's neither here nor there, as the free cruise simply isn't the offset that it was claimed to be.

 

No one said O or any other luxury line wasn't good, mind. The quibble is merely in just how much extra value and utils they bring to the table for the extra cost.

Aussie wine fan? Since their best stuff seldom leaves the country, where do you shop for wine when you sail out of Sydney?

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13 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Aussie wine fan? Since their best stuff seldom leaves the country, where do you shop for wine when you sail out of Sydney?

I don't? Like I said, I'm more of a distilled spirits person, either bourbon, scotch, or baijiu neat for an evening drink. If I'm feeling festive, I'll get me the fanciest fruitiest frilliest cocktail the bartender can devise. Wine is more to pair with meals.

 

To be fair to O, it does appear that O has more benefits earned at a flatter rate compared to other luxury lines like Crystal and Regent (not to mention Regent costs twice as much per person and it seems like they're only suites).

 

It does bear mentioning that due to status reciprocity, Celebrity matches one to one with Azamara, while Royal Diamond (80 days) allows you to match to Discover, which will still get you a free bag of laundry, priority check-in, and 90 mins of Internet (in case you have emails that just have to be replied to). Thus a decent strategy in terms of efficiency for people just starting out might simply be to accrue 80 nights on Royal for Diamond status back when they're still young-ish and the kids haven't moved out yet (thus deriving utils from the "amusement park" aspect), so as to match to Azamara Discover and Celebrity Elite and enjoy those perks once the kids move out and it's time to start sampling the mid-higher end of the market.

(I tend to place a premium on the laundry package as that has an effect on packing. Whether or not I get an extra cocktail is somewhat inconsequential compared to not having to spend as much time and effort deciding which clothes to bring)

 

I also notice that while Azamara does not give free cruises, instead it gives "complimentary nights" which I'm given to understand equates to knocking X% off the cost of a future cruise rather than giving you a free one outright. It does also state that you must have sailed with them in the past 3 years, and also with them for at least 50% of past voyages, although I have on idea how they know which cruises you've been on in the past. Perhaps they have sails reps trawling these forums for users with their past cruises in their signature line? Anyone sail with them and can shed further light on just how this works?

 

Also bears mentioning that Azamara appears to have gratuities included as well as certain types of alcohol at mealtime.

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Just found out from my thread on MSC status match that they will also give you the points in addition to the status, thus unlike the status match from a lot of other sources (cruise, hotels, flights, etc), getting matched on MSC also bringing you closer to the highest tier Black status.

Gives you a bunch more stuff, but still no laundry package, so YMMV regarding how desirable this is.

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This has been a very interesting thread.  We have cruised on Vantage(river cruises), Hurtigruten, Celebrity, RCI, ACL(American Cruise Lines-US river cruises) and Azamara.  We have status on Celebrity, RCI, Azamara and ACL.  We choose based on itinerary first.  Oceania, Princess and Regents Seven Seas are some alternatives that we consider.  Azamara, Celebrity and ACL are current favorites.

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First free cruise on Royal took almost 9 years, the second one took 18 months. 😉

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Re Azamara - the 50% cruises with them refers to cruises on Azamara and Celebrity as their loyalty programmes are linked.

 

Azamara basic booze package (included in the fare) is all of the time - not just mealtimes - there are some wines included at mealtimes as well.

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On 5/3/2019 at 3:58 PM, MicCanberra said:

Everyone has a different interpretation of what is value for money. Drinks included for me is great value but for someone who doesn't drink it is worthless. Loyalty programs are designed to please the majority of cruise passengers with some benefits without actually breaking the bank. This is why every couple of years they will modify the programs to either lessen the rewards or tighten the criteria to qualify (or both).

 

 Agree, we are elite on Princess and Celebrity, 2 star on HAL...  at this point in our cruising lifestyle... Princess meets our needs more than Celebrity or HAL.   So Princess is our cruise line of choice regardless of perks.   

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2 hours ago, pris993 said:

 Agree, we are elite on Princess and Celebrity, 2 star on HAL...  at this point in our cruising lifestyle... Princess meets our needs more than Celebrity or HAL.   So Princess is our cruise line of choice regardless of perks.   

We are similar to you in regards to status levels, however, we will still cruise for itinerary, timing and price and then if things are even would pick the line where status may come into it.

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Personally none of them would sway me to cruise with one line over another.

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We are Platinum on Carnival and ice you get to that point, it seems forever to get to Diamond so we’re cutting our losses and trying Celebrity for a change

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7 hours ago, Luckiestmanonearth said:

We are Platinum on Carnival and ice you get to that point, it seems forever to get to Diamond so we’re cutting our losses and trying Celebrity for a change

I don't think the perks on any line is worth missing out on cruise itineraries that that particular line doesn't offer. Variety of cruise lines is often the answer.

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1 hour ago, MicCanberra said:

I don't think the perks on any line is worth missing out on cruise itineraries that that particular line doesn't offer. Variety of cruise lines is often the answer.

Plus one

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On 6/1/2019 at 2:00 AM, SteveH2508 said:

Re Azamara - the 50% cruises with them refers to cruises on Azamara and Celebrity as their loyalty programmes are linked.

 

Azamara basic booze package (included in the fare) is all of the time - not just mealtimes - there are some wines included at mealtimes as well.

Sure, but how do they know how many cruises you've been on with other companies? Or does that 50% refer to something else?

 

Like, if I went on like 100 cruises with Carnival before switching over to the Celebrity/Azamara family, how do they know whether the Celeb/Azamara comprise 50% of my cruising?

 

To a point, loyalty programs aren't really worth sticking to a cruise line if it doesn't have the itinerary you want.

 

Still, it does make the experience a little better if you have a choice of several lines in the destination you're going to anyways.

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I am not an expert on this, but I will try.  The Azamara free nights perk is only for moving from 1 loyalty level to another with Celebrity Az cruises only.

In addition, you must have cruised with Az at least once in the last 2 years and 50% of Az/X total cruises must be with Az.  Go to their website for a better explanation.  If you have an Az/X account, your cruises are listed by cruise line.  I have 8 X, and 2 Az.  I need 2 more Az to be eligible.  Also, I must book within 1 year of moving to new level.  Very complicated!!

I suggest you go to Az  website if you think that you are eligible.

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2 hours ago, GenghisQuan said:

Sure, but how do they know how many cruises you've been on with other companies? Or does that 50% refer to something else?

 

Like, if I went on like 100 cruises with Carnival before switching over to the Celebrity/Azamara family, how do they know whether the Celeb/Azamara comprise 50% of my cruising?

 

To a point, loyalty programs aren't really worth sticking to a cruise line if it doesn't have the itinerary you want.

 

Still, it does make the experience a little better if you have a choice of several lines in the destination you're going to anyways.

Other cruise lines are irrelevant. It is purely the breakdown between X and Az cruises because they are the cruises that accumulate the loyalty points. 3 X, 1 Az = no deal - 2 X, 2 Az = deal (regarding the complimentary nights when you change loyalty levels).

 

To Tom47 - I think it is cruised with Azamars within the last 3 years not 2 BTW.

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38 minutes ago, SteveH2508 said:

Other cruise lines are irrelevant. It is purely the breakdown between X and Az cruises because they are the cruises that accumulate the loyalty points. 3 X, 1 Az = no deal - 2 X, 2 Az = deal (regarding the complimentary nights when you change loyalty levels).

 

To Tom47 - I think it is cruised with Azamars within the last 3 years not 2 BTW.

Thanks Steve, my brain overloaded with Azamara rules.

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2 hours ago, Tom47 said:

I am not an expert on this, but I will try.  The Azamara free nights perk is only for moving from 1 loyalty level to another with Celebrity Az cruises only.

In addition, you must have cruised with Az at least once in the last 2 years and 50% of Az/X total cruises must be with Az.  Go to their website for a better explanation.  If you have an Az/X account, your cruises are listed by cruise line.  I have 8 X, and 2 Az.  I need 2 more Az to be eligible.  Also, I must book within 1 year of moving to new level.  Very complicated!!

I suggest you go to Az  website if you think that you are eligible.

 

53 minutes ago, SteveH2508 said:

Other cruise lines are irrelevant. It is purely the breakdown between X and Az cruises because they are the cruises that accumulate the loyalty points. 3 X, 1 Az = no deal - 2 X, 2 Az = deal (regarding the complimentary nights when you change loyalty levels).

 

To Tom47 - I think it is cruised with Azamars within the last 3 years not 2 BTW.

 

Ah, so it's just that out of your combined Az/X cruises, 50% or more have to be with Az. That makes a lot more sense. Wasn't very clear from the terms and conditions.

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This will knock you socks off. A small cruise line out of Port of Palm Beach Florida ,Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line just started a points program. Example. OV cabin you get 250 points per cruise. You need a 1000 points before you can use them. So 4 cruises. The next cruise for the OV cabin and a good time of the year will require only 600 of those points for your FREE cruise. $88 you need to pay the tax and port as usual. Another thing they started is discounts. An example 15% for Veterans. On any cruise. Not just when offered. Always. Wow, this would be wonderful if a big lines started to offered this.

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On 6/5/2019 at 9:53 AM, twodaywonder said:

A small cruise line out of Port of Palm Beach Florida ,Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line just started a points program. 

Grand Celebration...are those the guys that did the old "congratulations, you've won a free cruise" robocalls?

 

On 6/2/2019 at 6:32 AM, Luckiestmanonearth said:

We are Platinum on Carnival and ice you get to that point, it seems forever to get to Diamond so we’re cutting our losses and trying Celebrity for a change

VIFP doesn't really seem give you a lot for the 125 extra cruise nights it takes to get from Platinum to Diamond. One specialty restaurant meal, unlimited laundry (but you already have 2 bags from Plat), some captain invite event, and then it's just stuff like guaranteed seating and priority reservations but that's not really useful if the MDR generally has capacity to seat you anyways. It looks like it's mainly going up to Platinum that consistently gives you a bit more icing on the cake at each level.

Has anyone used the "dedicated sales/service/concierge desk" type amenities and found it to be better than normal customer service?

 

Similarly, has anyone noticed the past passenger discount rate being actually better than what you can get by booking through a third party agency?

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We have been diamond on Carnival for several years now. Before we made it to diamond our 25th cruise was free. That was nice. I was so bent on getting to diamond, we booked 8 Carnival cruises in one year in order to get to it. We still book 4-6 a year but not all Carnival. Carnival for Halloween ALWAYS. Other ships are boring.

Was it worth it? Well, the priority boarding is nice, some of the free gifts are nice. Some other perks are nice on board, Get togethers with the Captain etc. One lunch with the captain was in the steak house for lunch. Awesome. Everyone got Filet steaks. Delicious! As for past guest discounts, questionable. Sometimes yes and no. Usually the discounts are better when you live in Florida a senior or veteran. You can check the price both ways. We have stock so the extra OBC is great. Problem with Carnival, cruise on any of there other cruise lines and the Diamond means nothing. You start all over. Unlike Royal Caribbean. They honor the points among there cruise lines. As for Carnival, Cruise on Princess and the stock OBC is nice and so is the same amount added to the OBC if you are a veteran. Our take on Celebrity. Loved all but the EDGE. You may love it we did not.

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