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The Best Credit Cards for Booking Cruises of 2023

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Whether you're planning your 20th cruise or your first voyage, having a good travel rewards credit card can help you save money on your trip and even elevate your vacation experience.

While many of the top cruise lines have their own credit cards, they come with a lot of limitations. Our picks for the top credit cards for cruises offer flexibility and often even more rewards when you book a trip with your favorite cruise line.

4 Partner Offers

Our Picks for the Best Credit Cards for Cruises
Chase Sapphire Preferred<sup>®</sup> Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening

5 points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online groceries; 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases; and 1 point per dollar on everything else

Up to $50 in annual statement credits toward hotel stays booked through Chase

Chase Sapphire Reserve<sup>®</sup>

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening

5 total points per dollar on flights and 10 points per dollar on hotels and rentals when you purchase travel throug Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually); 3 points per dollar on all other travel; 3 points per dollar on dining; and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

Up to $300 in annual travel credits

Complimentary airport lounge access with Priority Pass Select

Global Entry or TSA Precheck or NEXUS application fee credit every four years

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening

5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases

Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit

Terms apply

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening

10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 points per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel; and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases

Up to $300 in annual credits toward Capital One Travel bookings

10,000-mile anniversary bonus

Complimentary airport lounge access including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network

Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee credit

Terms apply

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a travel rewards powerhouse in spite of its modest $95 annual fee. The card offers an impressive 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening—that's worth $750 in travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which includes cruises.

And since it's recommended to fly in the day before your departure to avoid delays that could cause you to miss the boarding window, you may want to book a hotel the night before at your destination. For this, the card offers up to $50 in annual credits toward hotels booked through the Ultimate Rewards platform. You'll also earn bonus rewards on those purchases.

If you want to book your travel outside of the Chase travel portal, you can transfer your rewards to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, giving you a lot more flexibility.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply

on Chase's website

Good - Exceptional

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

APR

21.49% - 28.49% Variable

Intro APR

N/A*

Rewards

5x Points on Travel purchased through Chase

3x Points on dining, select streaming services and online groceries

2x Points on Other Travel

1x Points on All Other Purchases

Intro Bonus

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Annual Fee

$95

Card Details
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

If you can stomach a steeper annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® does everything the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can do and more. For example, the card also offers 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening, but those points are worth an impressive $900 on travel booked through Chase, including cruises.

The card also offers $300 in annual statement credits toward travel purchases, which can include purchases related to your cruise vacation.

If you need to fly to get to your departure port, the card can elevate your airport experience with complimentary access to more than 1,300 airport lounges in the Priority Pass Select network after an easy, one-time enrollment. You'll also get an application fee credit toward TSA Precheck, Global Entry or NEXUS every four years, which can speed up the airport security screening and U.S. customs screening processes, respectively.

The card's annual fee is $550, but it also offers a suite of insurance protections, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, emergency evacuation and transportation coverage.

Apply

on Chase's website

Exceptional

APR

22.49% - 29.49% Variable

Intro APR

N/A*

Rewards

10x Points on Hotels and Car Rentals Purchased Through Chase

5x Points on Flights Purchased Through Chase

3x Points on Dining

3x Points on Other Travel

1x Points on All Other Purchases

Intro Bonus

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Card Details
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Member FDIC

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

If you prefer a simpler approach to rewards, consider the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. This card offers a flat unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, or 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One.

The card also offers 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months, which is worth $750 in travel. You can redeem your rewards by using them to book travel, including cruises, through Capital One, or by using your card to book directly with travel providers and requesting a statement credit. You can also transfer them to several airline and hotel loyalty programs if you want more options.

Other perks that can help you save money and improve your trip experience include up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck application credit and no foreign transaction fees. For all of this, the card's annual fee is a modest $95. See rates and fees.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Apply

on Capital One's website

Rates and Fees

Good - Exceptional

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

APR

19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Intro APR

N/A*

Rewards

5x Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel

2x Miles on All Purchases

Intro Bonus

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$95

Card Details
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the souped-up version of the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. The card offers the same welcome bonus, but also an outstanding 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through the portal and 2 miles per dollar on everything else. You also get all the same versatile redemption options.

What sets the card apart is its perks. For starters, you'll get up to $300 in annual credits toward reservations booked through Capital One Travel—including cruises—and 10,000 bonus miles every year when you renew your card, which are worth $100.

Airport lounge access with Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network is complimentary with no additional annual fee. You'll also get up to a $100 application fee credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck, making the airport experience even better.

The card's annual fee is $395, but that's easily covered by the annual travel credit and miles bonus alone. See rates and fees.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Apply

on Capital One's website

Rates and Fees

Exceptional

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

APR

19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)

Intro APR

N/A*

Rewards

10x Miles on Hotels and Rental Cars Booked Through Capital One Travel

5x Miles on Flights Booked Through Capital One Travel

2x Miles on All Purchases

Intro Bonus

Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Card Details
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Travel statement credits can help you save money on certain travel-related expenses, but the way they work can vary by card. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, for instance, the $300 credit is good for a wide range of travel costs.

    Because travel statement credit rules aren't cut and dried, it's important to review the fine print before you apply for a credit card, so you don't end up with a benefit that's less flexible than you anticipated.

  • It can be worth it to get a credit card with a high annual fee, but only if you travel often enough to take full advantage of the card's benefits.

    One way to determine if a premium travel credit card is worth it is to compare the value of the card's benefits—excluding rewards—to the yearly cost of keeping the card. If you're confident that you can get enough value from the perks alone to outpace the cost of the fee, the card can be worth your while.

  • Many cruise lines offer their own credit cards, which come with benefits like discounts on excursions. However, there are a few reasons why they may not be a great fit for most people, including frequent cruisers:

    • Low rewards value: These cards typically offer smaller welcome bonuses, and bonus rewards are often reserved for purchases made with the cruise line. In other words, it'll take much longer to rack up a lot of points with these cards compared to our top choices.
    • Inflexible redemption: Some co-branded cruise credit cards only allow you to redeem your rewards for cruise fares, onboard credits and stateroom upgrades. In contrast, the general travel cards we recommend offer a much wider selection of redemption options, allowing you to redeem your points and miles for every aspect of your vacation, even when you're not cruising.

    That said, it's important to remember that the right credit card for you depends on your preferences, so take your time to compare a variety of cards to determine the best fit for you.

The Bottom Line

Whether you're cruising or taking another kind of vacation, it's good to have a solid travel rewards credit card in your wallet. If you're having a hard time knowing which card to apply for, consider using Experian CreditMatch™ to get matched with credit card offers based on your credit profile.