Last updated: 12:21 PM ET, Thu July 02 2015

Two Cruise Lines Change Loyalty Program Benefits

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Windstar Cruises | Theresa Norton | May 11, 2015

Two Cruise Lines Change Loyalty Program Benefits

PHOTO: Windstar Cruises, which operates the Wind Surf, pictured above, is expanding its loyalty program to include benefits to sister travel companies. (Courtesy of Windstar Cruises)

Two cruise lines are making changes to their loyalty programs, which give returning passengers deals and value-added perks such as upgrades.

Windstar Cruises, which is owned by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, is expanding the benefits of its Yacht Club loyalty program to include offers from its sister companies, including Austin Adventures, Country Walkers, CW Safaris, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations and Grand Canyon Railway. Also included are several iconic resorts, including the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Sea Island in Georgia, Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., and The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz.

“We think this is a terrific value for our guests and the guests of our sister companies,” Windstar CEO Hans Birkholz said during a press conference during the inaugural cruise of the line’s Star Breeze. “Folks who sail on our cruises do other things, not just cruising.”

Windstar passengers become members of the Yacht Club loyalty program after their first cruise. Then they get 5 percent savings on most cruise fares, complimentary one-category standard stateroom or suite upgrade at onboard check-in, discounts on upgrading from a standard stateroom to a suite at onboard check-in, a private onboard member cocktail reception, invitation to dine with the captain or a ship’s officers, onboard discounts and amenities, and a $100 shipboard credit for members who refer new guests.

Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Line also announced changes in its VIFP Club guest recognition program. Effective May 15, Gold-level members will no longer be invited to the VIFP Party onboard, which includes free drinks and appetizers. It will only be open to Platinum and Diamond-level guests. Click here for details.

Carnival said the parties just got too crowded. “The size of the event has grown to such an extent (as many as 1,000 guests in some instances) that it no longer feels special and memorable,” the company said.

However, Gold members now will receive a complimentary drink coupon for a free drink of up to $9 after 5 p.m. on the last day of the five-day or longer cruise.

Carnival awards one VIFP points for every day cruised. The program starts with the Blue level after the first cruise, then moves up to Red after 24 points, Gold for 25-74 points, Platinum at 75-199 points, and Diamond at 200-plus points.


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