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Cruises are a great way to spend time with family and friends on a getaway. And lots of folks want to do it cheaper!
Million Mile Secrets reader Brandon asked:
“My wife and I would like to take a Disney cruise next year and I’m wondering if you have come across a good card to book a Disney cruise with? I am tapped out on Chase cards. I have been looking at the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card. Thoughts?”
Here are a few cards that can save you money on cruises.
Check out These Cards for (Disney) Cruises!
1. U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
The US Bank Altitude Reserve card comes with a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $4,500 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. These points are worth 1.5 cents each towards hotels, car rentals, and airfare booked through the US Bank Rewards Center. You can NOT redeem US Bank Altitude points directly for cruises. But you can get 1 cent per point towards any expense as a statement credit.
The card also comes with:
- 3X points per $1 on travel purchases (including cruise lines)
- 3X points per $1 on mobile wallet purchases
- 1X points per $1 on all other purchases
- $100 Global Entry Fee Credit
- $325 annual travel credit
The $400 annual fee is NOT waived the first year. But even with the large annual fee, it’s easy to get your money’s worth with the card’s benefits.
You will earn 3X points per $1 spent on travel including cruise lines, which is a minimum of 3% cash back toward your next cruise! And each cardmember year, you’ll get a $325 travel credit which includes purchases made with cruise lines.
The sign-up bonus is worth a minimum of $545 for your cruise if your minimum spending doesn’t include a 3X bonus category ($500 in statement credits from sign-up bonus + $45 in statement credits from minimum spending). But if you use a mobile wallet service, it’s possible to get 3x points per $1 on nearly all your purchases. That’s an extra $90 in cash back on the minimum spending!
US Bank Altitude points are worth 50% more if you redeem them through the US Bank Reward Center. So you can save more by redeeming your points for airfare or a rental car to your cruise’s departure city.
2. Capital One Venture Card
The Capital One Venture has a 50,000 mile sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. You can redeem Venture miles at 1 cent per mile towards travel purchases, which include cruise lines. So the sign-up bonus alone is worth $500 toward your next overwater adventure!
The card also comes with:
- 2x points per $1 on all purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
The $95 annual fee is waived the first year.
After earning the bonus, you’ll have 56,000 Venture miles (50,000 miles + $3,000 X 2x miles per $1), which are worth $560 in travel expense credits!
3. Barclaycard Arrival Plus
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus card currently has a 40,000 mile sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. It comes with:
- 2x Barclaycard Arrival miles on all purchases
- 5% miles rebate on redemptions
- No foreign transaction fees
There’s an $89 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
After meeting the minimum spending, you’ll have 46,000 miles which are worth $460 towards the cruise ship fare. The 5% rebate will get you 2,300 miles back in your account. But they won’t have as much value, because you need at least 10,000 miles ($100) before you can make a travel redemption – so save them up until you want to sail away again!
4. Chase Disney Card
If Brandon and his wife are over the Chase “5/24” rule, they could still get the Chase Disney card. BUT, the more Chase cards you have, the less likely you are to be approved for a new account. Chase doesn’t have an official limit on the number of cards you can have, but anything over ~5 cards will be more difficult to get approved.
The Chase Disney card currently comes with a $200 statement credit after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. You’ll also get:
- 2% in Disney Rewards Dollars on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney locations
- 1% in Disney Rewards Dollars on all other purchases
- Special discounts on select onboard purchases & excursion packages
The $49 annual fee is NOT waived the first year.
You can redeem Disney Rewards Dollars for Disney cruise packages, and onboard expenses such as excursions, drinks, and souvenirs. To spend your Disney Rewards Dollars, you will need to transfer your rewards to a Disney Rewards Redemption Card.
I normally do NOT recommend this card, because there are better Chase cards to get. But Brandon wants to take a Disney cruise, so in this case the card might be worth considering. The savings with the Chase Disney card can add up, because you’ll get 20% off select onboard spa treatments, and 10% off certain excursions, merchandise, and photos.
If you’re looking to take a cruise for free or cheap, you have plenty of options to get Big Travel with Small Money!
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Capital One Venture can save you big money after you meet the minimum spending requirements. And the US Bank Altitude Reserve card could save you even more if you already have a US Bank account.
I typically do NOT recommend the Chase Disney card. But it’s worth considering if you are taking a Disney cruise or spend a lot with Disney.
What cards do you use to save money on cruises?