A few years ago we were stopped by a carnival seamiles represenative while on a cruise with carnival exlaiming the benifit of owning a seamiles mastercard and how easy it would be to earn a "free cruise".. Usually I am sceptical but we do cruise a lot and so after having charged over $65 000 in purchases on this card I had accumulated enough points for a cruise... so I thought.
I called seamiles up in January to book a cruise yet to my disappointment quickly learned that their supersaver rate is nothing more that "rack/brochure" rates for the cruiseline. The savings that were offered were the amount that was charged in excess of trying to book directly with Carnival.. (This applied to partial redemption eg 50000 points equal $350 discount) After researching several sites I backed out and decided to wait to accumulate a few more points to really have a free cruise!
So I tried again today.
First I was told that I didn't have any points... after much "arguing" I was told that I needed to call my bank to verify that I had points available.. that I might have used my points elsewhere and that I just didn't know what I was talking about... After requesting a superviser (John Mc Gullen) I was furhter insulted yet I insisted on him on checking my account balance as of January.. and again after much back and forth my points were finally "found" and I was transfered to an sales agent.
According to the seamiles website I had accumulated enough points to earn a "free cruise" yet after many hours on the phone these are the following lessons I learned
1.To do a full redemption enough points have to be available for the first and second passenger otherwise a partial redeption is only available
2.partial redemption is equal to a cruise discount based on seamiles supersaver rates. After comparing supersaver rates with the cruiselines directly (I had both on the phone at the same time) I learned that carnival seamiles supesaver rates are based on brochure rates and not necessarily special offers carnival carries (sorry no upgrades for past passengers or other special incentives.
3. Redemption policy is dubvious.... eg partial redemption for 50 000 seamiles (eg I used $50 000 to make purchases) equals a $350 discount of brochure rates!!!!!!!
4. looking up cruise with seamiles redemption is misleading at best since none of the point values are correct (I was referred to the dislaimer.. however even look up specific dates/cabins point value to be redeemed was much higher than posted) --- so what's the use for the website anyway?
5. Carnival seamiles program has so many disclaimers (covered their asses) that they really don't have to produce/help or deliver to their promises when opening the card. The cheapest available cruise as of today for the entire year until spring of 2009 leaving Roundtrip from Miami for a Cat 4A (lowest available for 3 passenger) is 35 000 points for a 3 day Bahama Cruise. (actually 70 000 points are needed for a full redemption).. the online posted price was 26000... (but as I learned today the website is not correct but just a reference point. Also this is why a carnival seamile cruises cannot be booked online but only via representative.
This is the disclaimer (terms and condition to their deceptive practice of posting points:
"Your exact price depends upon selected day of departure, departure city, ship, cabin level, and class of airfare available. All offers and upgrades are for selected dates, sailings, and cabin categories only, are subject to availability, and are capacity controlled. Additional restrictions may apply. All prices and dates may not be available at time of booking. All information is subject to change without notice?
BTW none of the prices on their websites (even with exact dates of departe,city, ship, category ) actually matched. Prices when called were much higher ---- mmh... a term comes to mind: switch and bait!!!
6 When contacting Carnival about the Carnival seamiles card (I had problems with it) I was informed that this was not affiliated with Carnival but rather a bank in Delaware... Shame on Carnival... this is not the impression they portray when enticing people into opening a carnival seamiles card while cruising... On the contray... accouncements are even made.. and carnival seamiles program is widely advertised on the ship!!! EARN A FREE CRUISE!!!
7. After trying to decipher the actually charges of a cruise in the carnival seamiles I came to conlude... this is one of the worst bank cards around.. don't open/or even consider it.. This is one card where its not about the customer .....and definitely not about a free cruise!!!
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Carnival Cruise Lines