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    Everything you need to know about Royal Caribbean’s loyalty program

    Many cruise lines have fantastic loyalty programs that are too often overlooked. I started earning cruise line status before airline status when I took my first Royal Caribbean cruise in 2003 and found myself loving the seagoing life.

    After 17 years of cruises on multiple lines, I find myself enjoying Royal Caribbean and the Crown & Anchor Society the most out of my cruise line and cruise line loyalty experiences. Today we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Crown & Anchor Society.

    Related: A beginner’s guide to cruise line loyalty programs

    Crown & Anchor Society basics

    The pool deck on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. (Photo courtesy of the cruise line)

    Cruise line programs operate similarly to the hotel and airline programs you’re used to, with the exception that most don’t offer credit toward free cruise nights. Instead, they operate largely around rewarding loyal guests with additional perks onboard vessels.

    There also are cruise points, largely earned from cobranded cards, that can be redeemed for onboard credit and in-cruise benefits. These cruise line cards, by and large, don’t yield better value than many cash back earning credit cards, and for that reason, I’ve always avoided them. Royal Caribbean has the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature credit card, but it doesn’t offer any onboard benefits and spend does not count toward your Crown & Anchor Society status.

    The information for the Royal Caribbean Visa has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

    For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter.

    Without a redemption side to worry about, cruise line programs like the Crown & Anchor Society are fairly simple. You earn a point for every night you cruise or 2x points per night if you purchase a suite category stateroom. You’re awarded status once you reach different numbers of cruise points. Remember, these points count for nothing except elite status. If you are not already a member of the society, you will be automatically enrolled after your first sailing.

    There are six levels of status within the Crown & Anchor Society, starting with Gold after you earn 3 Cruise Points:

    Gold: 3 Cruise Points
    Platinum: 30 Cruise Points
    Emerald: 55 Cruise Points
    Diamond: 80 Cruise Points
    Diamond Plus: 175 Cruise Points
    Pinnacle Club: 700 Cruise Points

    To earn top-level Pinnacle Club status, you will have spent almost two years of your life on a Royal Caribbean cruise — or just one year in the water, if you’re a suites-only kind of person. That’s a lot of time at sea with a single cruise line. The only way I know how to shortcut Crown & Anchor status applies only to children. After your child takes their first cruise, they’ll have the same status as you all the way up to Diamond Plus.

    As you’d expect, with each level of status comes additional benefits. Royal Caribbean has a great chart listing all applicable onboard benefits for each status:

    There are also cruise preplanning benefits and “additional benefits” that mainly revolve around discounted and free cruise certificates for members with high status. There are also plenty of generic benefits for members of all levels:

    While many of the benefits are straightforward, there is plenty of fine print to give additional details to some of the benefits. Minimum-length cruise requirements exist for the behind-the-scenes tours and for the evening events for loyalty members. Free cruise certificates have a maximum value, and stateroom category and several of the other benefits like Diamond Lounge (no friends and family are allowed to visit with the member) and Concierge Club access have additional details to review. You can read all the fine print on the third page of this PDF.

    You’ll get a free seven-night Caribbean cruise in a balcony cabin after you’ve earned 700 Cruise Points. Crown & Anchor Society members get an additional free cruise, this time in a junior suite stateroom, after reaching 1,050 Cruise Points and subsequent free cruises for each additional 350 points you earn.

    If you don’t want to sail the Caribbean, you can ask for a cruise credit to use toward an itinerary somewhere else. Royal Caribbean will give you $2,400 toward the purchase of a cruise at 700 and 1,050 points, and $3,200 toward the purchase of a cruise at 1,400 points and above. These free cruises are “per household” and are based on double occupancy.

    Reciprocal status within Royal Caribbean Group brands

    Back in June, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. — the parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea — updated its name to Royal Caribbean Group. The Royal Caribbean Group gives elite status members reciprocal benefits in its other loyalty programs.

    You can check out all the dedicated information in the Crown & Anchor FAQ regarding the reciprocal benefits in Celebrity Cruises’ Captain’s Club and Azamara’s Circle (formerly Le Club Voyage) Program. The benefits of the programs will stay independent, and the number of sailings a member accrues on each brand will not be combined. You will earn the Cruise Credit or Cruise Point for the brand you are sailing as long as you are a member of that brand’s loyalty program.

    MGM partnership

    MGM Resorts’ M Life Rewards members and Crown & Anchor Society members receive reciprocal benefits at MGM properties and onboard Royal Caribbean cruises. I’ve been M Life Gold or Platinum for many years now and have received valuable perks on Royal Caribbean cruises. M Life elite members receive the following benefits on Royal Caribbean cruises:

    To get your onboard benefits, call Royal Caribbean’s casino line at 1-800-762-0702 where an agent will validate your M Life status. Both my wife and I have been M Life Gold and we both got the $125 onboard credit, for a total of $250 in credit on a single cruise.

    Crown & Anchor Society members receive an automatic status match to M Life elite status at the following levels:

    To get your M Life status, you need to go to an M Life desk in an MGM Resort and show proof of your Crown & Anchor Society status.

    Bottom line

    The Crown & Anchor Society program is pretty straightforward. Sail a certain number of nights (fewer if you book a suite) and earn status with valuable benefits. Make sure you read all the terms and conditions to understand when you will and won’t get some of the benefits as well as when you should expect free cruise certificates.

    I am a couple of cruise points away from Emerald status, but I have my eyes set on Diamond status, where I feel the real benefits begin to roll in. If you’re wondering who cruises enough to be a Diamond Plus or Pinnacle Club member, I can tell you I’ve seen plenty of them walking around the ships with their lapel pins on.

    Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

    Featured photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

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