Did you know you can earn or use your Marriott Bonvoy points on a cruise? Using points for a cruise isn’t quite as common as using points for a flight or hotel, but it’s doable. Cruise credit cards don’t have great sign-on bonuses or earning categories, so there’s not much opportunity to earn boatloads of cruise points (pun intended) with credit cards.
However, there are ways to do it and today we are focusing on the Marriott Cruises program, which gives travelers the opportunity to earn or use Marriott Bonvoy points for cruises. We’ll also look at whether or not you’ll get good value from your points by doing some price comparisons.
What Is Marriott Cruises?
Marriott Cruises powered by Cruise with Points is a program that allows you to earn or use Marriott Bonvoy points for cruises. You can simply go to the Marriott Cruises website or you can navigate from the Marriott Bonvoy website by clicking About Marriott Bonvoy>How to Use Points/Certificates.
Then scroll down the page until you see Travel (Use your points to book cruises, flights, car rental, and more).
Finally, you’ll scroll down and click on Get On Board.
As you can see, it can be hard to find the Cruise with Points section on Marriott Bonvoy’s website unless you really know what you’re looking for.
Once you get to the Marriott Cruises website, you can navigate it like any other online travel agency. You’ll be able to search for a cruise using parameters like destination, cruise length, travel dates, cruise line, cruise ship, or departure port.
How To Book a Cruise Using Marriott Bonvoy Points
To book a cruise using Marriott Bonvoy points, call 800-596-0452 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
You can redeem points for a cruise certificate to apply as partial payment towards a cruise or you can pay for the entire cruise with Marriott Bonvoy points. Regardless of how many points you use, you’ll get 0.4 cents per point in value.
|Points Chart for Marriott Cruises|
|Value of Marriott Cruises Certificate||Cost in Marriott Bonvoy Points|
Is This a Good Way to Use Marriott Bonvoy Points?
We value Marriott Bonvoy points at ~0.7 cents each. So, when you book a cruise with Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll get a little more than half of what your points are typically worth.
If your goal is to maximize the value you get from your Marriott Bonvoy points, then using them for a cruise isn’t a great idea. While the average value is 0.7 cents, there are definitely opportunities to get even more value from your points.
However, there could be times when it’s not a bad idea to use your Marriott Bonvoy points on a cruise. If you value cruising more than a hotel stay or really have no plans to use your Marriott Bonvoy points anytime soon, booking a cruise could be a decent option.
Bottom Line: When you book a cruise with Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll get 0.4 cents per point in value. That’s just over half of what Marriott Bonvoy points are typically worth.
How To Earn Marriott Bonvoy Points on a Cruise
If you decide you’d rather not use your Marriott Bonvoy points for a cruise, you can still book with Marriott Cruises to earn 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent. This is in addition to any points you earn from your credit card.
Check out these cards that earn bonus points on travel, including Marriott Cruises:
If you pay for your cruise with a Chase co-branded Marriott Bonvoy credit card you’ll earn an additional 2 points per $1 spent.
Hot Tip: To see all of your best options, check out these credit cards that are great for booking cruises.
While it’s great to be able to earn Marriott Bonvoy points on your cruise, there’s a big downside — you’ll be charged a non-refundable $24.99 processing fee.
Marriott Cruises is a little tricky with this fee, too — it’s not displayed until the end of the booking process after you enter passenger details and cruise line loyalty info, so it can be easy to miss.
Be sure to add the processing fee cost to the price of the cruise to determine if it’s worth it to book your cruise through Marriott Cruises instead of a website that does not charge an additional fee.
Hot Tip: While you have to call Marriott Cruises to book a cruise using points, you can book online if you’re paying with a credit card. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay a $24.99 booking fee regardless of how you pay for your cruise.
Best Rate Guarantee
Marriott Cruises offers a 110% Best Rate Guarantee. If you find the same cruise for a lower price within 48 hours of booking, Marriott Cruises will refund 110% of the price difference. In order to qualify for the best rate guarantee, the lower price needs to meet the following criteria:
- It must be in U.S. dollars.
- It needs to be available online for the exact same cruise, same dates, and same cabin type as what you booked through Marriott Cruises.
- It needs to be a rate you are eligible to receive. For example, you can’t use a senior rate if you’re not old enough to be eligible for it.
- It needs to be available to the general public.
- It needs to be available to book.
To submit a best rate guarantee, submit this form and you’ll be contacted within 72 hours.
Is This a Good Deal?
Whether or not it’s a good deal to book a cruise through Marriott Cruises depends on how much you value Marriott Bonvoy points. If you need more Marriott Bonvoy points or are a Marriott Bonvoy loyalist, it could be worth it. However, if you don’t need any more Marriott Bonvoy points, or just want to get the best deal, there are other websites out there that may offer better deals. Don’t forget to factor in the $24.99 booking fee you’ll be charged.
Bottom Line: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on cruises (including taxes and fees) booked through Marriott Cruises. You’ll earn an additional 2 points per $1 spent when you use your Chase co-branded Marriott credit card to pay for your cruise.
Marriott Cruises Price Comparisons
One of the things that make comparing cruise prices tricky is that there are always lots of different deals and bonuses available. In researching this and other articles about cruising, we have found that the price of cruises tends to be pretty standard across most booking websites — the real difference in value is the extras that come with the cruise.
Let’s look at a 4-night Key West and Bahamas cruise on Celebrity Cruise Line. We priced out this cruise for 2 adults in the least expensive balcony stateroom available (Deluxe Stateroom Ocean View Veranda).
|Website||Total Cost of Cruise||Extras and Bonuses|
|CheapCaribbean.com||$1,169.40||$25 stateroom credit|
|Cruises.com||$1,169.40||$50 stateroom credit or prepaid Visa gift card|
|Cruise Line’s Website||$1,277.40||N/A|
|Priceline||$1,169.40||$25 stateroom credit|
As you can see, most of the prices are the same or very similar. The cruise line’s own site and Expedia were both higher by a difference of $108, and Marriott Cruises was in the middle due to the $24.99 processing fee. The best deal in this instance comes from Cruises.com.
Our next example is a 7-night Alaska cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line. Again, the price is based on 2 people, but this time we’ll look at the overall least expensive option available (an interior stateroom).
|Website||Total Cost of Cruise||Extras and Bonuses|
|CheapCaribbean.com||$1,984.08||All Free at Sea Offers: Unlimited Open Bar, Specialty Dining, Shore Excursion Credit, Wi-Fi|
|Cruise Line’s Website||$1,984.08||All Free at Sea Offers: Unlimited Open Bar, Specialty Dining, Shore Excursion Credit, Wi-Fi|
|Expedia||$1,984.08||All Free at Sea Offers: Unlimited Open Bar, Specialty Dining, Shore Excursion Credit, Wi-Fi|
|Marriott Cruises||$2,009.07||All Free at Sea Offers: Unlimited Open Bar, Specialty Dining, Shore Excursion Credit, Wi-Fi|
|Priceline||$1,984.08||$50 onboard credit|
For this example, the best place to book your cruise comes down to the extras because all of the prices (except for Marriott Cruises) are identical. Marriott Cruises is the most expensive due to the $24.99 processing fee.
If you choose to book through Marriott Cruises, you’d earn about 6,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, which has a value of ~$42. So if you are trying to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points and value them highly, it could still make sense to book through Marriott Cruises. If you just want to save the most money, Marriott Cruises won’t be the best option.
While you might think that Cruises.com offers the best deal in this scenario, it’s not actually that clear-cut.
You’d need to determine how much you value the All Free at Sea offer vs. $100 cash-back. Since Cruises.com offers a straight $100 cash-back, it’s essentially $100 cheaper, but for many people, the value of the All Free at Sea offers (like an open bar) is much higher than $100, which would make the offers from the other sites (with the exception of Priceline) better.
However, if you value the Free at Sea offers less than $100, you’d be better off not taking the offer that includes all 4 of them in lieu of going with the Cruises.com offer. By declining the All Free at Sea Offer (which you can do on any site that offers it), the cost of your cruise will drop by almost $300!
Bottom Line: Comparing cruise prices can be a bit tricky. We’ve found that cruise pricing tends to be relatively equal across most booking sites — the difference comes in the bonuses offered with each deal.
Booking a cruise through Marriott Cruises allows you to either earn or use Marriott Bonvoy points on your booking. While having that option is great, it’s not clear-cut as to whether or not it’s a good deal.
When using Marriott Bonvoy points for a cruise, you’ll get ~0.4 cents per point in value, which is less than what those points are typically worth. When you choose to earn Marriott Bonvoy points on your cruise, you’ll be subject to a $24.99 processing fee, which can negate the value of some of the bonus points you can earn.
So, while using Marriott Cruises may not be a screaming deal, it’s always good to have lots of ways to earn and use points.
The information regarding American Express® Green Card, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.