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How can I get a low-cost cruise with my credit card points?

To the point Here's how you can save money on cruise adventures with your credit card points.

Let’s explore the possibilities ofusing our credit card points to cover or reduce the cost of this superb sea trip.

How and where to start?


Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day, and Labor Day are all days when cruise lines offer the best deals and discounts.

For example, free fare for the 2nd occupant or for children travelling with you, 50% discount on a cruise, $0 deposit on reservation, free internet or open bar on board, etc. Sign up for their newsletter and we’ll keep you informed of promotions as soon as they become available.

When buying a cruise, ask about the credits included, because nothing is included on a ship except the cabin and meals that constitute the basic package. It is rarely possible to bring alcohol on board. So you have to buy it, as well as Wi-Fi and excursions. Moreover, no matter where you travel, everything is paid in USD on the boat. So have a credit card with no conversion fees.

The research

Cruise line

It is possible to book directly with the cruise lines and then apply your reward points to the expense. If you plan on flying the same company a few times in the future, you should know thatthey all have their own loyalty program that gives benefits for each new booking.

From the second or third booking, an agent is assigned to your file and will work for you, just like at Holland America Line. Interestingly, unlike hotel status, cruise line status is acquired for life.

Canadian travel agencies and advisors

The expertise of accredited advisors for Disney cruises, for example, can save us unnecessary expense. We would also be surprised at the bonuses that agents have access to, such as credits to spend on board or cabin upgrades.

Online sites

Different websites can help you to book your cruise:

  • This site offers a wide range of cruises available worldwide, with options for various budgets and preferences. It is known for its detailed offers and the possibility of booking directly online.
  • As the name suggests, this site specializes in discount cruise offers. It aims to provide the best deals and promotions for cruises, focusing on value for money for popular destinations.
  • This site is a cruise specialist, offering a wide range of options from luxury cruises to more affordable cruises. It offers expert advice and detailed information to help users choose the perfect cruise for their needs.
  • Costco Travel sometimes offers discounts, often in the form of Costco gift cards.
  • CroisiEurope – River cruises : Special offers and promotions
red tag air miles croisiere

Loyalty programs


The AIR MILES loyalty program in collaboration with offers the possibility of using our DREAM miles to book cruises. Just go to the member page and under the travel tab, choose Cruises.

The exchange ratio is 909 miles per $100. Plus, you’ll earn miles on the cash portion.

So if you dream of 9,090 miles, you can apply $1,000 to the base price of your cruise. Port fees, taxes and other charges must be paid in cash.

In general, the AIR MILES cruise interface offers filters that highlight opportunities:

  • Destinations and number of nights ;
  • Depending on price ;
  • Special offers, etc.

Of course, in most cases, you’ll have to go further south first to catch your boat. The three Florida ports of Cape Canaveral, Miami and Fort Lauderdale have hundreds of departures per week.

Be sure to arrive the day before and take advantage of a nearby Marriott hotel because if the plane is delayed, the ship will not wait for you.

Flights with Aeroplan, Aventura or Membership Rewards points? There are several ways to take a cheap flight to Florida, to join your cruise.

Air Canada and Aeroplan vacations: flight + cruise

Aeroplan points can be redeemed for a Flight and Cruise package. The ratio is 1,000 points for a $10 credit.

What’s more, when you book a cruise with a flight, the first piece of luggage is free per person.

To redeem your Aeroplan points when booking a cruise, you must call the Air Canada Vacations reservations department at 1-866-529-2079. The points in your account will then be deducted by the agent once the purchase has been completed.

Aeroplan: Credit Cards

Marriott Bonvoy : Cruise with points

If we are used to using our points in the various Marriott Bonvoy hotels and by the same token calculating their value according to a certain scale, Cruise with points Marriott takes us elsewhere.

The exchange rate is this:

  • 63,000 points = US$250
  • 125,000 points = US$500
  • 250,000 points = $1000 USD
  • 625,000 points = US$2,500
  • 1,250,000 points = US$5,000
  • As many as required = one free cruise.

This conversion of points is converted into a certificate. We top up the amount to be paid in USD with our credit card as needed, with no conversion fees, or take advantage of promotions with our Canadian Marriott BonvoyTM American ExpressMD* Card.

The only drawback is that some cruises are reserved for U.S. Marriott Bonvoy residents/members only. Please read the terms and conditions carefully and contact Cruise with Points Customer Service at 1-800-596-0452.

It’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to use a credit card that doesn’t charge a conversion fee and apply your Marriott points to your cruise.

Other benefits at Cruise with points Marriott:

  • A wide choice of cruisers and products;
  • 110% guaranteed price policy;
  • 75% discount on certain cruises compared to brochure prices;
  • One-time bonuses such as cabin upgrades (please note that our hotel statutes are not recognized on ships);
  • More than 4,500 personalized excursions during stopovers.

Marriott Bonvoy: credit cards

The travel points of our financial institutions

National Bank Rewards Points

National Bank’s À la carte Rewards program lets you book a cruise with travel points by applying your points as a credit to the account no matter where you want to book your cruise. The redemption ratio is 12,000 points per $100 redeemed on your card or 55,000 points per $500.

Check out this article that explains how to apply your National Bank points to travel.

NBC: Credit cards

TD Rewards Points

TD’s travel platform is called Expedia for TD. There are various products including cruises. The most cost-effective way to use TD Rewards points is by booking travel directly on this site. 200 points are worth $1 of credit on your credit card.

TD Rewards points can also be applied as a credit to the account if you book your cruise elsewhere. The point value will be 250 points for a $1 cash back.

TD: Credit Cards

BMO Rewards points

BMO Rewards points can be used for various types of travel, including cruises. The value of your BMO Rewards points for travel will be :

15,000 points = $100 (or 0.67¢/point) back on your credit card.

Of course, you can supplement your travel purchases with points and cash.

BMO: Credit cards

CIBC Aventura

You can use your Aventura points to buy the cruise or the airfare ticket that will take you to the cruise.

It’s all about paying the way you want with a CIBC Aventura Card. Then, when the transaction is pending, you can use your points to pay it off right away!

CIBC: Credit cards

MBNA Rewards

The best way touse MBNA Rewards points is to apply them to carded travel purchases such as cruises:

10,000 points = $100.

There’s a great credit card in the MBNA Rewards program: the MBNA Rewards Platinum Plus® MastercardMD PlusMD.

MBNA: Credit Cards


The most lucrative way to use Scene+ points is to apply them to your travel purchases (hotels, flights, Airbnb, VRBO, cruises, etc.).

If the cruise costs $1,500, you pay for it at the travel agency or site with your Scene+ points-earning credit card (such as the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card).

Then use your points to pay yourself back!

10,000 points = $100 less to pay on your credit card.

Scotia: Credit cards

American Express Membership Rewards

These points are accumulated with American Express credit cards.

Everyone agrees: the American Express CobaltMD Card is one of the best credit cards in Canada for quick points accumulation.

Indeed, the main attraction of this card is that it gives 5X points on everything categorized as restaurants, food deliveries and groceries. These Membership Rewards points are equivalent to a 5% return.

Then, once used, reward points appear as an account credit on the credit card statement:

10,000 Membership Rewards points = $100.

It is therefore possible to use these rewards points to cover the costs of the cruise.

American Express: Credit cards

Cash back credit cards

All cash-back credit cards are excellent for saving money on a cruise.

Cash rebates are ideal for people who don’t want to book on bank booking platforms. The strategy is to set these savings aside in a separate account to pay for the cruise.

Cash Back: Credit cards

Other benefits of credit cards for cruise vacations

Access to the lounges before leaving

Many credit cards offer complimentary or paid access to airport lounges to get your cruise off to a more comfortable start.

Travel insurance

Many credit cards offer comprehensive travel insurance. Check the relevance of buying a duplicate and paying for nothing. Your information booklet that came with the credit card contains all the information on the subject.

Points discount cruise package

A cruise trip requires research, comparison and preparation.

When you equip yourself with the best credit cards based on your spending habits and the programs that suit you, it’s possible to accumulate points to pay for a cruise.

Define your goal and the type of cruise you want and then move on to the game plan with your credit card points. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for promotions from both cruise lines and credit card issuers.

How to buy a cruise for less?

Plan ahead (6 to 12 months) or wait until the last minute!

Keep an eye on cruise line promotions and subscribe to their newsletter to be the first to know about discounts.

Major cruise lines include Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruise, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line. Research the ones that best suit your style, as well as the destinations. When a discount is launched, you’ll be ready.

When is the best time to take a boat cruise?

For an Alaskan cruise, the temperature is much more pleasant between June and August.

In the Caribbean, April and May are the best months before the heat and humidity become too oppressive. September and October should be avoided in the area, due to the high possibility of hurricanes and tropical storms.

The summer months are ideal for exploring the Mediterranean and Northern Europe (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Baltic Sea, etc.).

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!

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