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Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard® overview
The Norwegian Cruise Line® World Mastercard® is designed to reward frequent NCL cruisers with discounts, onboard credits and free cruises. The card is appealing for its no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, but it lacks other compelling benefits. Card rating*: ⭐⭐½
* Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
Issued by Bank of America, the NCL credit card has no annual fee and typically requires a good credit score of at least 670 for approval. Fans of Norwegian like the cruise line for its “freestyle cruising” aspect, especially the lack of rigid dining schedules, dress codes and formal nights.
However, if your goal is to get a free cruise by signing up for the NCL credit card, it’s going to take a lot of spending to do so. This is because the bonus categories are not compelling enough to make it an everyday spending card.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the Norwegian Cruise Line credit card to see if it might make sense for you.
The information for the Norwegian Cruise Line credit card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard welcome offer
The Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 25,000 points after making at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. The 25,000 points are worth $250 in onboard credit.
This welcome bonus falls in line with what you can generally expect on a no-annual-fee card that requires $1,000 or less in spending. However, you can typically get a much better value from the welcome bonus on most general travel credit cards, especially if you’re willing to pay an annual fee of around $100.
Related: Credit card sign-up bonuses you can earn with $1,000 or less in spending
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Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard benefits
The NCL credit card is light on benefits. Its two big highlights are no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. The lack of foreign transaction fees is useful for those who frequently make purchases outside the U.S., such as when traveling by Norwegian cruise ship. Many cards that offer this perk have an annual fee, so that’s a point in the World Mastercard’s favor.
However, the card lacks the travel and shopping protections that many other travel credit cards have; such protections include trip delay insurance, lost or delayed baggage protection, trip cancellation insurance, extended warranty or purchase protection. Those protections can come in handy when you’re facing travel troubles, although you can buy stand-alone insurance policies if you don’t have a credit card that provides them.
Cardholders do receive some benefits under the card’s World Mastercard label. Among them are a complimentary ShopRunner membership and cellphone protection with up to $1,000 in yearly coverage (maximum two claims per year, for up to $600 per claim, $50 deductible) if your phone is damaged or stolen.
Related: 6 valuable travel perks that you can get with a credit card
Earning points on the Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard
The NCL credit card earns WorldPoints, which are completely different from the Latitude Rewards points you can earn from Norwegian’s loyalty program.
The earning rates on the NCL credit card are slightly better than competitor cruise cards, like the Carnival World Mastercard and the Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Credit Card. NCL cardholders earn 3 WorldPoints for every dollar spent on Norwegian purchases, 2 WorldPoints per dollar spent on eligible air and hotel purchases and 1 WorldPoint per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Plus, if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% to 75% more points on every purchase, applied to the base earn of 1 point per dollar.
Both the Carnival Cruise credit card and the Royal Caribbean credit card only offer 2 points per dollar spent on their cruise lines and just 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases, with no bonus points for air and hotel purchases like the NCL credit card. The ability to earn more as a Preferred Rewards member means you can rack up points just a little bit faster with the NCL credit card.
Still, there are many other credit cards that earn more bonus points on specific category spending, such as travel, dining, gas and groceries. This is probably not a card to use for everyday spending because it will take a long time to earn a substantial amount of points.
Norwegian Cruise Line credit card points expire five years after the month they were earned, regardless of activity.
The information for the Carnival Cruise credit card and the Royal Caribbean credit card have been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: Should you get a cruise line credit card? Here’s a closer look
Redeeming points on the Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard
You can redeem your WorldPoints for onboard credit, cabin upgrades, cruise discounts, free cruises, car rentals, hotel stays, cash rewards and gift cards. Redemptions begin at 2,500 points.
Redeeming for cruise discounts and onboard credit is straightforward with the NCL credit card with rewards valued at 1 cent per point. You can redeem as few as 5,000 WorldPoints for $50 of onboard credit or 10,000 points for $100 off any cruise ($50 per person).
Free cruise redemptions are offered at a flat rate (rather than a dollars-to-points conversion). Currently, free cruise redemptions begin at 80,000 points for an inside cabin on a three- or four-night Bahamas cruise for two. The points redemption includes all applicable government taxes, port expenses and fees.
In order to redeem your points, you can sign in to your account on the Bank of America website and select the Rewards tab, or you can call Norwegian at 1-866-954-4077.
Which cards compete with the Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard?
Even if you are a cruise lover, you’ll likely get more value from a cash-back or general travel rewards credit card like one of the following three:
- If you want to earn more points on your travel purchases: Check out the American Express® Green Card. It earns 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on travel purchases, including cruises. This means you’ll earn bonus points on the cruise booking as well as any airfare or hotel purchases you make to get to and from your cruise. The card has a $150 annual fee but also includes several travel protections and has annual statement credits for Clear Plus and LoungeBuddy. For more information, read our full review of the Amex Green.
- If you want to earn flexible rewards: Try the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. It charges a $95 annual fee (see rates and fees) and has an earning rate of at least 2 miles per dollar on all purchases. The miles earned can be transferred to airlines and hotel programs, redeemed for airfare, hotels and rental cars through the Capital One travel portal, or redeemed as a statement credit for travel purchases, like cruises. It also comes with a credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. For more information, read our full review of the Venture Rewards card.
- If you want a flat earning rate with no annual fee: The Citi Double Cash® Card (see rates and fees) earns 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay your bill (for a total of 2% cash back on all your purchases). The card does have a 3% foreign transaction fee, so you’d want to use an alternate card for purchases outside the U.S. For more information, read our full review of the Double Cash.
For additional options, see our lists of the best cash-back and general travel rewards credit cards.
Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises
The information for the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Is the Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard worth it?
If you only go on a Norwegian cruise once a year and charge the cost to your NCL credit card, the points would not add up quickly. For example, a $5,000 cruise would only earn 15,000 points. Big cruise spenders might find the card slightly more appealing.
The Norwegian Cruise Line World Mastercard can help you save money on your cruise purchases and even earn you free cruises — if you can spend enough on the card before the points expire.
However, frequent cruise travelers might do better signing up for a general travel card to earn a big welcome bonus or using a card that offers more points per dollar on everyday spending. You’ll be on your way to a free cruise much faster.
For rates and fees of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, click here.