Good morning everyone, I hope your week is going well. A few weeks ago, I followed Nick’s advice from Frequent Miler and got a “free” cruise from Carnival Cruise Line. Nick also got me a “free” Holland America Cruise, so if I ever see Nick on the High Seas, I will be sure to buy him a refreshing drink (or two). Technically, these “free” cruises aren’t really free, I still had to pay a few hundred dollars in taxes, fees, port expenses, and gratuities, but I’m excited to go on my first cruise since my 2002 cruise to Alaska (scroll to the bottom to see some old school photos).
With the Carnival Fun Match promo, I received an offer for a “free” room (up to a balcony room), $50 in FunPlay credit, free drinks in the casino, and $100 OnBoard Credit per person. To reduce the cost, I split the $200 deposit and paid with 2 credit cards to trigger 2x $35 statement credits.
The first offer was a Carnival Cruise Line Chase Offer that appeared on my Chase Southwest Airlines Priority Credit Card (and not on any of my other Chase credit cards). The second offer was a Carnival Cruise Line BankAmeriDeal that appeared in my Bank of America account (you can use any Bank of America credit card to pay and select where you want the statement credit to go – I selected my Bank of America checking account).
After doing lots of research, I settled on this 5 day Bahamas cruise from Jacksonville, Florida. The total cost with the $200 deposit, taxes, fees, and port expenses came to $445.90. On the payment screen, there are a few payment amount options. I selected the Deposit Only option, since that is all that was due at the time.
Carnival lets you pay with Carnival gift cards, credit cards, and PayPal. You can often find discounted Carnival gift cards or buy them at grocery stores or office supply stores to earn bonus points. Instead of paying the full $200 deposit with 1 credit card, I clicked the box to pay with multiple credit cards.
I then entered $100 for each credit card payment and entered my Chase Southwest Airlines Priority Credit Card and my Bank of America Alaska Airlines Credit Card information on this page. If you want to split the payment over more than 2 credit cards, click the Add Another Credit Card link at the bottom of the page.
After submitting the payments, I received my booking confirmation number. Under Payment Summary, you can see the various payments and outstanding balance.
After you have paid your deposit, you can either pay your remaining balance due or enter a specific amount. I have a few more months to go before I need to pay the remaining balance, so I am keeping my eye out for another Chase, AMEX, Citi, or Bank of America offer for Carnival or a good Carnival gift card discount.
A few days after paying the deposit, I received the $35 statement credit on both credit cards. I hope these offers come around again soon, so I can pay the remaining balance and save more.
If you have any questions about the “free” cruises, I would check out those Frequent Miler articles, since there is much more info there. If you have any questions about paying the deposit on a Carnival Cruise and triggering offers, please leave a comment below. Have a great day everyone!
P.S. Here are some of my favorite photos from my 2002 cruise to Alaska. I look forward to reliving my glory days out at sea :)
My brother and I had a fun time swimming in the pool and playing ping pong. I had so much fun, I didn’t let the cold weather bother me too much.
Major bonus points if you can tell which cruise line we took to Alaska.
Just got off a Carnival cruise using the fun match offer. Best consistent Carnival gift card discount is AARP. Anyone can join and they have 10% off gift cards. You can load these gift cards to your Carnival account once on board at a $2k limit per day without having to get approval from their HQ in Miami.
If you have any funds left over, just do casino charges to your room at a slot machine (no fee), then cash out at the casino cage before the end of the cruise, otherwise they will re-issue a gift card for the overage.
That is a great tip! I am an AARP member, so I’ll look into their discounted Carnival gift cards. Thank you :)
Unless I’m misunderstanding, you have to establish a the appropriate status with a land casino in order to be eligible for the offer? that means you have to play serious money at these casinos? I’m able to find discounted cruises for the same price/days you paid – so I’m not sure if I’m missing something here? And what would the AARP gift cards be used for?
Hi Lili, the Frequent Miler articles at the top of the post have way more info, but long story short, here is how it works:
Get Wyndham Diamond elite status from Wyndham Rewards CC, match to Caesar’s Rewards Diamond elite status, use the Carnival Fun Match to get the free cruise offer, and take that offer to get matched to a free cruise offer at Holland America. No gambling is required :)
The Carnival gift cards are 10% discounted if you buy through the AARP portal, which you can use to pay for your Carnival cruise.
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