Last week I wrote a post about buying discounted Carnival gift cards from AARP. AARP.org also sells gift cards for Royal Caribbean cruises. My blog post goes into detail about how to sign up for the Rewards for Good program, and how to redeem points for travel gift cards. You will use the same process for the Royal Caribbean cards, but please be aware of some important differences between the Carnival and the Royal Caribbean species.
Like the Carnival gift cards, the Royal Caribbean cards come in $500 and $100 denominations. You buy the $500 ones for $450, and the $100 ones for $90, giving you a 10% discount. And like the Carnival gift cards, these also sell out very quickly when they become available. If you log into your account and you find that they are available, order them right away if you want them. If you wait while you go find your credit card, they will probably be gone.
There are two important things to know about the Royal Caribbean gift cards.
♦They can only be used to book a new cruise. They cannot be used to make a final payment on a cruise you already have booked, and they cannot be used for on-board credit.
♦You must book your cruise directly with Royal Caribbean, not with a travel agent. There are advantages to booking cruises with travel agencies. Usually they will sweeten the deal by giving you some kind of perk, like on-board credit or free gratuities. The more expensive the cruise, the more travel agents can offer you.
If you are booking a cheap cruise (like I often do) the travel agencies just aren’t making enough money from you to offer you much, so you’re really not giving up anything when you book directly with Royal Caribbean. Some people buy the gift cards whenever they can get them on the AARP website, and just keep them in their sock drawers until they book their next Royal cruise.