If you're a frequent traveler, you've probably grumbled about the recent devaluation of many loyalty rewards programs. While some airlines are taking away benefits for elite flyers and hotels are upping the number of points it takes to cash in for a free room night, Celebrity Cruises is actually bucking the trend by improving its own rewards program.
Celebrity's tiered Captain's Club program offers numerous benefits to repeat cruisers. Previously, the line recognized four levels of elite status: Preview, Classic, Select, and Elite. As of November 25, the cruise line augmented the tier system with two new levels: Elite Plus and Zenith. The line is also changing how it calculates status. While you earned "tier credits" in the past, you'll now earn "Club Points" based on the stateroom category you book and the length of your cruise. It's possible to earn up to 18 Club Points per night. Previously earned tier credits will be automatically converted into Club Points and members will retain all benefits they've earned in the program to date (bonus: Club Points do not expire).
Elite Recognition Tiers
There are now six tiers of elite status aboard Celebrity ships—here's the breakdown:
Preview (0 Club Points): You're considered a Preview member of the program if you have not yet set sail. You're enrolled in the program and can contact the Captain's Club Loyalty Desk service center, but you won't receive any points until after you sail. Preview members also receive the Captain's Club newsletter.
Classic (2–149 Club Points): Once you've completed a cruise, you're considered a Classic member and you'll be invited to a special Captain's Club Celebration event on your next cruise. You'll also gain access to special money-saving cruise fares.
Select (150–299 Club Points): Select status ups the ante just a bit with the addition of priority embarkation and preferential debarkation, as well as discounted Internet and laundry packages.
Elite (300–749 Club Points): The real perks begin with Elite status. You'll enjoy a complimentary Captain's Club cocktail hour onboard, as well as free Internet and laundry.
Elite Plus (750–2,999 Club Points): This new status tier rewards travelers with 200 free Internet minutes, unlimited complimentary cappuccinos and lattes, discounts on beverage packages (10 percent off) and specialty dining, and other special savings offers.
Zenith (3,000+ Club Points): All Celebrity aficionados aspire to achieve top-level status in the Captain's Club program. Zenith perks include access to Michael's Club Concierge Lounge onboard, a complimentary premium alcoholic beverage package, free laundry, and 1,600 free Internet minutes. Better than all that though, you'll get a free 7-night Caribbean or Bermuda cruise each time you attain 3,000 Club Points.
One additional perk of the Captain's Club program? It offers reciprocity with Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor rewards program and Azamara Club Cruises Le Club Voyage loyalty club. The one downside is that elite status benefits do not extend to sailings aboard Celebrity Xpedition.
Andrea M. Rotondo is a freelance writer based in New York City. She covers cruise news and luxury travel trends for Fodors.com and writes for a variety of outlets, including her website Luxury Travel Mavens. Follow her on Twitter: @luxtravelmavens.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises