Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rewards

After last year's cruise, we signed up for the Royal Caribbean Visa card through Bank of America (wish we had done it *before* last year's cruise, but whatevs). It gave us 10,000 points after the first purchase, 2 points for every dollar spent through Royal Caribbean (e.g. paying for this year's cruise) and 1 point on everything else. I've also seen a lot of bonuses offered where you can get triple points for paying your onboard SeaPass account. I generally prefer cash-back rewards, but all in all it was a pretty good deal.

I just redeemed our first 15,000 accumulated points for a $150 onboard credit on our cruise this November. BoA and RCCL need to join the 21st century here!!! Every other rewards card we have, we can go online and request a redemption, and it's automatically deducted from our points balance (I always request cash back) and sent to us.

In order to redeem these points, I had to undergo a multi-step process:
1. There's no points tracking online - the only place your accumulated points are listed is on your monthly credit card statement...and the box only shows up on your statement when there's points activity (i.e. not in the months when you don't use the card). So I had to wait for a statement to show up to confirm I had enough points.
2. I then had to CALL Bank of America and speak to a CSR. I had to tell the CSR* I wanted to redeem 15,000 points.
3. BoA then MAILED me a "15,000 Points Certificate" - I had to fill out the back of the form saying I wanted a $150 onboard credit on my next cruise (and provide my reservation number, AND my sail date, AND my ship name. Because those last two pieces of information aren't linked to my reservation number ANYWHERE...)
4. I then had to MAIL the completed certificate (with my own envelope and stamp; no prepaid envelopes here) to Royal Caribbean. I did that today.
5. Royal Caribbean will apply the onboard credit to our SeaPass account when they receive the completed form. All told, the process will take about 3 weeks to complete (I called BoA on the 14th).

*Incidentally, the CSR sounded new and had never done this redemption thing before (he had to put me on hold and ask someone how to process the request). He seemed to think that there was some way I could have done this online. You would think...All they would have to do is have online points tracking, and when you wanted to redeem points you could fill out an online form which would be sent electronically to Royal Caribbean.

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