Earning cruises on Royal Caribbean is among the more straightforward comp scenarios I’ve encountered, either land-based or cruise-based. But because their tier year is on a non-calendar-year cycle, some get confused as to how it all shakes out, even though it’s similar to any other casino tier program.
In today’s article I’ll go over the various levels, the tier year, and what you can expect at each level.
The Four Tiers of Club Royale
Royal Caribbean’s casino loyalty program is called Club Royale and has four tiers:
- Choice: The entry tier is for those who have earned less than 2,500 points.
- Prime: The second level is for those who have earned 2,500 to 24,999 tier points.
- Signature: At 25,000 points, to 99,999 points, you’re at the third level.
- Masters: The top tier level is for those who have earned at least 100,000 tier points.
Earning tier points is generally speaking pretty transparent, as mentioned in my previous article:
- Slots: Get a point for every $5 of coin-in.
- Video Poker: Get a point for every $10 of coin-in.
- Table Games: A $10 average wager on Blackjack for one hour will earn you 10 points. (This is refreshingly transparent even compared to land-based casinos.) But like most casinos, they offer a blanket “points earned will vary based on game and bet,” since various games have various house edges to them and the point earning usually depends on that.
Your Tier Year/Earning Window
So now that you know how you earn points, how long do you have to earn? Like most casino programs, Club Royale works on an annual cycle. In the case of Club Royale, the tier year starts April 1 and ends March 31.
During that 12 month window, you earn points, and as you reach each milestone, you achieve that tier not only for the remainder of the current tier year, but also the next one.
Let’s say you earn Prime in September of 2020. You’ll keep Prime for the remainder of the tier year, which ends March 31, 2021. But you also get to keep Prime for the following tier year, April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. If during that window you reach Prime again, you’ll have it for the tier year after that. If you get beyond Prime to Signature, you’d upgrade to Signature for the remainder of the tier year, plus a full tier year after that.
The reason this system matters, and when the cycles start/end, is that certain perks attached to the tiers are quite valuable, and players shouldn’t let go to waste the offers that come with them.
What You Get at Each Tier
The big thing you get if you achieve Prime or higher is a free cruise, once a year, for a sailing no longer than 7 nights. Not every cruise is available, but it’s a pretty flexible voucher, at least compared to the one you get for earning a free cruise while onboard a given cruise. Since earning a free cruise on a single trip starts at 2,500 points, and Prime is also 2,500, it makes sense to push for it if you can.
UPDATE 7/18/21: The Prime vouchers are reportedly now only for cruises of up to 7 nights, down from 8 nights; and it now takes 2,500 points, up from 2,400 points, to earn a free inside cabin on a given cruise, based on updates seen as cruises have been restarting.
The type of room you’re eligible for your Club Royale annual cruise will depend on the tier level you achieved:
- Prime: Inside cabin
- Signature: Balcony
- Masters: Grand Suite
No matter which tier you’re at, you only get one cruise from the Club Royale program itself, but this is above and beyond any certificates you get from the casino gambling onboard. So it’s effectively a bonus cruise.
Other perks come with the various tier levels. At Prime you get waived transaction fees when charging to your room bill to get cash in the casino. Since it’s not treated as a cash advance, that can be a cheap way to get cash access (and even earn some credit card rewards in the process). You also get free drinks in the casino.
A discounted Internet offer comes with Prime, and you get free Internet for one device at Signature and two at Masters. All tiers starting at Prime get a discounted offer for additional cabins when friends come along. Signature level and up comes with priority check-in, and Masters gets access to the suite lounge, as well as priority entertainment reservations, where available.
Finally, it says that land-based casino special offers will be made available to Prime level players and up; I can’t say I’ve seen one that I recall having been Prime about a year now, but then again I only started seeing some really good casino offers come my way via email in the past few months.
As always, I don’t recommend playing just to achieve a tier. But if you have a gambling budget, and want to maximize your opportunity, it always helps to know what each tier provides, so you can ensure you get the most out of your Royal Caribbean spending.