Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
Suppose you want to book a cruise and have The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express in your wallet. In that case, you should consider booking through the American Express Cruise Privileges Program.
Cardholders of the Amex Platinum and Amex Business Platinum can get onboard credit and an extra onboard amenity through the Amex Cruise Privileges Program on eligible sailings of five nights or more when they book their cruise through American Express Travel. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the Amex Cruise Privileges Program?
The Cruise Privileges Program offers extra perks on eligible cruises of five nights or more when booking through American Express Travel.
Your booking must be for double occupancy to benefit from the Cruise Privileges Program. You must pay with an American Express card in the eligible Platinum or Centurion cardmember’s name, and the cardmember must travel on the itinerary booked.
However, cardmembers can book up to two other rooms on the same sailing that would also get perks through the Cruise Privileges Program.
Amex Platinum cruise benefits
Only some cruise lines participate in the Cruise Privileges Program. Also, you must be a U.S.-based Platinum or Centurion cardholder residing in one of the 50 states to benefit from the Cruise Privileges Program. If you book an eligible cruise through American Express Travel, you’ll usually get an onboard credit per room and additional exclusive amenities unique to each cruise line.
The amount of onboard credit you’ll receive for new Cruise Privileges Program bookings through American Express Travel varies depending on your cruise line and room type. On Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International, you’ll get an onboard credit per room as follows:
- $100 for inside and outside cabins
- $200 for balcony, verandah and mini-suite cabins
- $300 for suites
On Ama Waterways, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Azamara, Seabourn, Silversea, Uniworld and Windstar, you’ll get a $300 onboard credit per room. And on Cunard, you’ll receive an onboard credit of $300 per room if you book a Queen Mary ocean-view cabin of category EF (or higher) or a Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth ocean-view cabin of category FA (or higher).
Centurion cardmembers get an additional $200 onboard credit on Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn and Silversea.
Onboard credits will be applied to your cabin folio at checkout upon completion of your cruise, but they can’t be used for casino charges, gratuities or other similar charges. Celebrity Cruises Galapagos sailings aren’t eligible for onboard credit even when you make a new Cruise Privileges Program booking through American Express Travel.
Additional onboard amenity
You’ll get an additional onboard amenity per cabin for eligible Cruise Privileges Program bookings through American Express Travel. Onboard amenities vary by participating cruise line, but here’s what you can expect for each cruise line based on Amex’s cruise partners page:
- Ama Waterways: $100 spa voucher
- Azamara: Behind-the-scenes ship tour and a bottle of premium Champagne
- Celebrity Cruises: Bottle of Champagne or wine
- Cunard: Bottle of wine
- Holland America Line: Plate of chocolate-covered strawberries
- Norwegian Cruise Line: Complimentary dinner for two at Le Bistro Restaurant
- Oceania: Premium wine-tasting event, plus a complimentary bottle of wine from the event
- Princess Cruises: Plate of canapes
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Exclusive private gallery tour
- Royal Caribbean International: Bottle of Champagne
- Seabourn: “Suite Dreams” turndown service (once per cruise) and a bottle of premium wine
- Silversea (except Silversea Expeditions): Bottle of premium Champagne and tour of the vessel’s galley
- Uniworld: Bottle of wine and fresh flowers
- Windstar: “Romance Under Sail” amenities package including a bottle of premium Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and canapes
Unfortunately, you won’t get an onboard amenity on Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, Silver Discoverer and Celebrity Cruises Galapagos sailings even when you make a Cruise Privileges Program booking through American Express Travel.
Booking American Express cruises
Any American Express cardmember can book cruises through Amex Travel. However, only Amex Platinum and Centurion cardmembers get Cruise Privileges Program perks on eligible cruises when they book through American Express Travel; this includes the Platinum Travel Service, Centurion Travel Service, any American Express Travel office, eligible Travel Associate Platform agencies and the Agency Services Desk.
For Cruise Privileges Program bookings, you must pay with an American Express card in the Platinum or Centurion cardmember’s name. You’ll earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar when you book your cruise through American Express Travel using The Platinum Card from American Express or The Business Platinum Card from American Express. If you also have the American Express® Green Card, you might want to use it to pay for your cruise to earn 3 points per dollar on the travel purchase.
To see the cruises available through American Express Travel, head to Amex’s cruise website and pare down your results by destination, month and cruise line.
Next, you can filter the cruises by duration, departure port and ship. Remember, your cruise must be five nights or longer to get Cruise Privileges Program perks.
Once you select a sailing, decide which room you’d like. Cruise Privileges Program onboard credits for many cruise lines are based on the room type you book, so choose carefully if the onboard credits are important to you.
Once you reach the checkout page, you can redeem American Express Membership Rewards points to book. Since Amex Pay with Points only gives you 0.7 cents per point on cruises and TPG’s valuations peg the value of Amex points at 2 cents each, we don’t usually recommend redeeming points for your cruise.
If you make a new Cruise Privileges Program booking through American Express Travel for an eligible cruise, you’ll get an onboard credit and amenity. This means booking through Amex Travel may be better than booking directly with the cruise line.