BOOKED – 11 Day “Free” Holland America Cruise Thanks to Points and Perks!

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Oslo, Norway: MS Koningsdam, a Dutch Pinnacle-class cruise ship of Holland America Line. Built in 2016, she is the largest ship ever constructed for HAL. (©iStock.com/aquatarkus)
Oslo, Norway: MS Koningsdam, a Dutch Pinnacle-class cruise ship of Holland America Line. Built in 2016, she is the largest ship ever constructed for HAL. (©iStock.com/aquatarkus)

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If you notice the tag line for FrequentFloaters it is “SAND • SEA • POINTS” and today I want to focus on the points part of this blog. I always try to use points as much as I can to cover my air, hotel and many times even the cruise itself with points – hello, Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

a body of water with mountains in the distance

My fellow BoardingArea blogger FrequentMiler, Nick to be specific, had a great post the other day and I immediately went for the deal. Here is how I did it and how you should be able to as well.

First up, I hold Wyndham Diamond status thanks to the Barclays Wyndham business card. Keep in mind anyone can get a business credit card, that is, you don’t need to have a corporation etc. You just use your name for the business name and I find this is one of the things so many do wrong, that is, not going for business cards and leaving so many points on the table.

The next step is to take your Wyndham Diamond and status match to Caesar’s Diamond. This had died for a while but it seems to be working again as it has for many years (see EyeOfTheFlyers post here and it also worked for me with only gifted status). I personally was able to recently match even though I did not stay enough nights to earn Diamond. I love holding this and other status just for the perks because I don’t care for gambling. As an example, I have many times in the past used NCL’s Casinos at Sea to book getting 10-20% off using my Caesar’s Diamond status perk.

Half Moon Cay island, Bahamas: Holland America cruise ship Eurodam docked at sea near the Bahamas. (©iStock.com/Marina113)
Half Moon Cay island, Bahamas: Holland America cruise ship Eurodam docked at sea near the Bahamas. (©iStock.com/Marina113)

Now, with Ceasar’s Diamond in hand I was able to use the Holland America match link to have a shot at a free cruise. I was offered the following:

Certificate Number: xxxxxx
Offer Type HALMatch 1: Complimentary Interior Cabin + $100 Freeplay with Drinks for two (2) while playing in the casino
Offer Description: Valid on eligible sailings to Alaska, Mexico, Caribbean, Coastal, and Canada/New England from 2022-2023

I was further told it was good for up to 10 day cruises but the rep told me the 11 day did qualify and others have mentioned they were able to book 12 day sailings with the certificate number.

So how much did this “free” cruise cost me? I don’t like interior cabins so I paid an upgrade fee to get an aft balcony cabin on the Eurodam that you can see here. The total cost breakdown per person is this:

  • Upgrade fee $330
  • Tax & fees $200
  • Tips $176

So the total all-in per person was $706 or $64 per day for an 11 day cruise. Had I not gone with the stateroom upgrade and taken the inside offer it would have only cost $34 per day even including mandatory daily tips of $16 per day! That is insanely cheap for an amazing 11 days at sea. I was even informed that I may have a chance at further upgrades as we get closer to sailing. Having never sailed Holland America I look forward to the entire experience.

a sunset over the ocean

Rounding this out I will use my Delta Skymiles to fly free to the port city. I will use hotel points to stay free before the cruise for a few day at the port city. . I will even use a bunch of free inKind cash to pay for dinner pre-cruise thanks to a targeted Amex offer that if I spent $50 I would get $50 back!

This is the power of stacking and using points and all the perks that come along with it to score sweet vacations at prices we can afford. While you are not guaranteed to get the same offer I received, the next great offer may be just around the corner and it is good to be ready when that deal pulls into port! – René

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I was also able to book an 11 day cruise with an upgrade to Verandah stateroom at $330/person. Still having Caesar Diamond status must have made the match possible, because I have never gambled on any of my previous HAL cruises.

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