Cruising with MJ – Elite Status with Carnival
Carnival, the biggest cruise company, likes to use the tagline “fun ships” and their loyalty program plays along. Known as the VIFP Club, you aren’t just a very important person, but a Very Important Fun Person. Unlike the majority of cruise line loyalty programs, you can join Carnival’s VIFP Club even if you haven’t cruised with them before. If you are new to Carnival, you will join the VIFP Club at the Blue level which includes members-only offers and a newsletter. The VIFP Club includes five levels of status with varying point requirements to obtain. After Blue there is Red, which you obtain on your second sailing and will remain at through 24 points. Note that one cruise day = one point. Now you’ll begin to feel more at home with the program level names as you elevate to Gold status at 25 points, Platinum at 75 points, and Diamond at 200+ points.
The benefits of Red and Blue are pretty basic, but begin to improve once you achieve Gold status, when you will get an invite to a cocktail party on 5-night or longer sailings. In other words, free drinks and apps for an hour or so. At the Platinum level, the perks become more attractive with things like priority boarding, priority tendering, and some complimentary laundry services. If you attain 200 cruise days with Carnival, you will achieve Diamond status. You receive the perks of Platinum plus additional things including unlimited complimentary wash and fold laundry (that’s actually not a small deal in my opinion), guaranteed dining reservations in the main dining room and specialty restaurants, and a dedicated phone line for sales and service. You can review all the benefits of each status level here.
In summary, the benefits of Carnival’s VIFP Club are basic, but things like priority boarding, disembarkation, and reservations for specialty dining are always appreciated. I especially like the unlimited complimentary wash & fold laundry for Diamond members. Notably missing from the list of benefits is a complimentary internet allowance, a big deal for me and a weakness in the program. You can join the Carnival VIFP Club here.
-MJ, May 14, 2013
Housekeeping Note: This is the first in my series on elite status programs with cruise lines. If there is something missing that you were hoping to see, please comment, and we’ll improve the quality of the series together.