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Going on a Carnival Cruise? Rake in the miles...

Going on a Carnival Cruise? Rake in the miles...

Old Jun 20, 09, 2:17 am
  #1  
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Going on a Carnival Cruise? Rake in the miles...

I just went on a four night Carnival Cruise and found out that you could load up your casino player bank, aka your Sail and Sign Card, a maximum of $1000 per day/per guest (over 18 yo). This could be done at any slot machine, with no obligation to play that machine. Then, whenever you wanted, you could cash out the card at the casino cashier. In all, for a four night/five day cruise, I was able to pull out $10,000 IN CASH!!! This is all being charged to my Hilton Honors Amex Card just as all of my other expenses on board will be charged. In other words, there is no surcharge for the service.

Only thing to be careful of is that you must go through customs when leaving the ship and you can't have more than $10,000 on your person (without declaring it) or else it may be confiscated.

Considering I value the 30,000 Hilton Honor Points + Gold Status Renewal to be about $400 and the cruise only cost me $400, I figured it payed for my trip.
bestbet33 is offline  
Old Jun 20, 09, 6:24 pm
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Royal Caribbean used to allow this but now charge 3% for Casino transactions... unless you are in their casino players club ;-)

The nice thing is that my mother is... and we'll be traveling together in a few months... very excited to do this again.
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Old Jun 20, 09, 7:41 pm
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Make sure they use a US Bank to process the credit card for onboard purchases. If they don't you will have a big surprise.
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Old Jun 20, 09, 8:56 pm
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Originally Posted by bestbet33 View Post

Only thing to be careful of is that you must go through customs when leaving the ship and you can't have more than $10,000 on your person (without declaring it) or else it may be confiscated.

Sounds like an interesting way to earn miles/points easily, but I personally wouldn't want to be carrying $10,000 in cash for the following reasons:

1. I would feel like a theft risk by carrying $10,000 in cash.
2. If flying home, and TSA did a secondary screening with me, I wouldn't want to hassle with providing evidence that I got the $10,000 in cash from a cruise ship casino.
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Old Jun 20, 09, 9:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Max M View Post
1. I would feel like a theft risk by carrying $10,000 in cash.
2. If flying home, and TSA did a secondary screening with me, I wouldn't want to hassle with providing evidence that I got the $10,000 in cash from a cruise ship casino.
well you could possibly store it in your room safe??the tsa thing would only apply if you're getting on a flight. would not be much of an issue if i went to Alaska since i live in SEA. like the op stated, it might be more of an issue during customs..but on my last trip they pretty much just waved me through. maybe you could cash out $9999?
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Old Jun 21, 09, 2:58 pm
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You could always hit a local bank branch before catching your flight
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Old Jun 21, 09, 3:04 pm
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This is interesting. Does anyone know about other cruise lines - do they apply a 3% or similar surcharge for casino transactions?
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Old Jun 21, 09, 3:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Max M View Post
Sounds like an interesting way to earn miles/points easily, but I personally wouldn't want to be carrying $10,000 in cash for the following reasons:

1. I would feel like a theft risk by carrying $10,000 in cash.
2. If flying home, and TSA did a secondary screening with me, I wouldn't want to hassle with providing evidence that I got the $10,000 in cash from a cruise ship casino.
1. True, that could be nerve-racking,
but maybe not a lot more so than coming home to find
$5000 in presidential $1 coins sitting on the doorstep.

2. Not sure you would HAVE to provide evidence,
but do you want an even MORE intrusive search?
If you buy the "casino cards" from princess website you
would have a receipt for all the cards to be cashed.

Last edited by MrHalliday; Jun 21, 09 at 10:38 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Jun 21, 09, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by deepbluesky View Post
Does anyone know about other cruise lines - do they apply a 3% or similar surcharge for casino transactions?
I know Princess charges, and I'd be really surprised if the OP doesn't see the same charge on his Amex card from Carnival. They're both owned by the same company, and believe me, they're smart enough not to hand out free money like that.
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Old Jun 21, 09, 5:35 pm
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Is this processed as if buying goods or as a cash advance?
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Old Jun 21, 09, 5:44 pm
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That's an interesting idear. Let us know if the fees appear.
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Old Jun 21, 09, 7:36 pm
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Casino Charges

I have never seen a ship casino that didn't charge 2-4% for cash advances off a credit card. Even if they happen to code it as a purchase, you're still not coming out ahead.
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Old Jun 21, 09, 10:29 pm
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Originally Posted by gsmart View Post
I have never seen a ship casino that didn't charge 2-4% for cash advances off a credit card. Even if they happen to code it as a purchase, you're still not coming out ahead.
What the OP was suggesting was NOT charging it to your credit card but to your onboard card (RCCL calls it a SEAPASS card). Those onboard charges (spa, drinks, casino, excursions etc...) are then settled on your CC the final night of the cruise.

I know that RCCL now charges a fee for this, not sure about any others.
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Old Jun 21, 09, 10:54 pm
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This casino trick is being discussed
in another FT thread simultaneously.

You can buy cards before departure at this link:

http://www.princess.com/learn/onboar...sino/index.jsp

They are waiting in your cabin when you board.
Change them for cash at the casino cashier.
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Old Jun 22, 09, 12:38 am
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
I know Princess charges, and I'd be really surprised if the OP doesn't see the same charge on his Amex card from Carnival. They're both owned by the same company, and believe me, they're smart enough not to hand out free money like that.
It was made VERY clear that they do not charge a fee for pulling $$ from your Sail&Sign. However, if you go to the cashier and simply gave them a credit card to take out cash, they charge a 3% fee. Nonetheless, I will let you know as soon as it posts to my AMEX if there was a hidden charge.

Update: Just posted to my Amex with no hidden charges whatsoever. Charged as CARNIVAL PARADISE SAMIAMI. Also, as Carnival is based out of Miami, there was no foreign transaction fee from AMEX either.

Last edited by bestbet33; Jun 22, 09 at 12:52 am
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