We applied for and received the Carnival Card. The credit limit was only $3,000.00. In order to receive a free cruise, we had to spend over $100,000.00. We cancelled the card.
Then we got a Visa from I-Cruise. The credit limit is $15,000.00. Instead of free cruises, we receive points. After 27,000 points, we receive $800.00 off of our next cruise purchased through I-Cruise. Last year, we took a 7-day cruise with balcony on the Carnival Pride. The cost was $1,600.00. We received $800.00 off of that. Next year, we are planning to cruise to the Southern Caribbean and by then, we will have another $800.00 discount built up.
We charge everything to the card; gas, food, clothes, entertainment, beer (heavy points there) and cruises (double points there). I would pay the mortgage with it if I could. We pay the card in full every month, so there are no interest charges. There is no annual fee. We like it and recommend it.
If you're confused about why people with relatively high incomes are the same ones who are constantly in debt, I strongly recommend the wonderful book called "The Millionaire Next Door."
It debunks a lot of the instinctive assumptions about who has money and who doesn't, along with how people who are well off got that way and stay that way. One of the most important themes in the book is that high income does not correlate with high net worth. Many people in Jaguars are up to their asses in debt while many people in Tauruses are millionaires. Why? Well, because they didn't spend $80k for a car. That's an oversimplification, but it really is the basic point.
People with high incomes tend to feel more pressure to keep up appearances.
I am so impressed with everyone's wisdom on how to use credit cards and earning points to reward themselves with a nice cruise vacation. Kudos the all those people.
My husband and I always felt that a vacation is a luxury not a necessity. This has always kept us out of debt and now that we are retired, we now have the time and money to cruise at least three times a year. Granted we still try to get the best deal and stay in inside cabins, but this gives us the extra money for a few martinis on our cruises and even a few new baubles when we visit the St. Thomas jewelry stores.
Please enjoy your vacations, debt-free. You'll really enjoy it much better.
PS: We use the American Express Rebate Card for all our household and vacation purchases and get back money each year. I guess I just don't have the time to wait for points to add up. I'll just spend that extra money on our next cruise.
Celebrity Summit 10-night 12/12/03
Explorer of the Seas (special 8-night Eastern Carib) 05/01/04
Navigator of the Seas or Voyager of the Seas (possibly 9/03---if hurricane season behaves itself)
My bank offers us a debit card that holds a major credit card name on it so it can be accepted everywhere major credit cards are accepted. So when we pay for our cruise it is taken straight out of our checking. I read where some people are saying, "they pay off their balances every month" and "people are stupid not to pay off there balances" well my point is why charge then? If you have the money to pay for it all then do so. That's what a credit card is for "CREDIT" if everyone who had one could pay off their balances when the statement came in then they just soon wait until they have the money in their hands and pay for what they need. That's just my opinion but I can't see how someone can say people are stupid not to pay off their balances every month.
jasonalec - I called Capital One and requested a higher balance, and they refused. I'm actually kind of fed up with them and am thinking about trying the icruise credit card instead. It sounds like a quicker way to get cruise rewards.
Sheila - there are a couple of reasons to use a credit card even if you are planning to pay off the balance every month.
1) A credit card protects you. If something goes wrong with your purchase or you are fraudulently billed for something, it's relatively easy to remove the charge.
2) A credit card offers rewards. My Discover card gives me 1% cash back on every purchase. The cashback reward built up over time, and I've chosen to double it (an option with Discover card if you use the reward toward gift certificates from one of their partners) and received over $200 in Olive Garden/Red Lobster gift certificates. I also use a Carnival mastercard, with which I've earned a substantial discount on my next cruise. There are no annual fees for these cards so I'm not spending any extra money to use them. I pay off the balances in full every month. I would have spent the same amount of money whether I used credit cards or a debit card (or just wrote checks.) By using the credit cards and paying off the balance each month, I am basically getting rewards for free.
3) A credit card offers a safety net. What if I were to lose my job tomorrow? For as long as it took to get me on my feet again, I could pay the minimum monthly payment on my credit cards instead of paying off the balance each month and still be able to make the mortgage payment using my savings. I could put bills and groceries on the cards. It goes without saying that you wouldn't want to do this for more than a couple of months - and hopefully that's all it would take for me to find a job again. After that, I would work on paying off the cards before racking up huge new bills again.
4) A credit card builds your credit rating. By using credit responsibly, you increase your credit rating and make getting loans, mortgages, etc. easier with better interest rates.
Hope this gives you some answers.
Now posting as MichelleP.
Well said Michelle. I was about to point out the same points so you saved me some typing.
Did you tell them that you are getting offers from other companies? If you have decent credit, I don't know what there problem is. I would get another card. I have had pretty good experience with bank one. They offer a points program called value miles that give you free flights on any airline.
The only "stupid" thing about not paying the entire balance is if you don't have an offer. With offers of 1.99% for 6 mos or 5.99% fixed on balance transfers, it would be a bit ridiculous to pay the 20% standard rates that are on many cards. At that high a level, many people are not able to get past the interest to pay off the principal. Hence the "trap" many people speak of (enticing people to borrow at 1.99%, getting them to borrow as much as possible, then boosting the rate to 20%). If you are disciplined enough, it can make sense to 'manage' cash flow by borrowing at such a low rate. Many people fall into unfortunate circumstances however and get caught in the crunch.
Does anyone know if you get the same benefits (as mentioned above - extended warranties, arbitration, etc) from a debit card as a credit card? I wonder if you loose any with the debit card...
I had an associate who bought a new house on his credit card. He spent somewhere close to $180,000 on the house and put it on his rewards credit card. At the closing the credit card company had to verify the purchase and funds available to approve the purchase.
What did this do for him? Well, first his money for the down payment sat in the bank for another month collecting interest. Second, he earned 180,000 points on his card for no additional money (which translates into 7 free airline tickets, or one 7-day cruise for two on Carnival or HAL), and third, his credit rating went up when he paid off the balance at the end of the month.
You probably would have been allowed to do that Michelle. You just had to ask them. If the credit card company is aware that you have secured a mortgage they know they will get their money plus the discount fee on top of it at the end of the month.
Helen, that is true. So it's an individual decision. But for me, I'm planning to try the icruise card because their prices are consistently among the lowest when I research, it seems faster to accumulate points toward cruise discounts with the icruise card than the Carnival card, and you can use the icruise card's points toward a discount on any cruise line, not just Carnival. And I haven't heard anything bad about that agency.
I'm still using my Carnival card for now, but their customer service is not the best and it will take me about five years to earn that free cruise.
I've applied for the icruise card, and when I receive it, I plan to read all the fine print and compare it closely to the Carnival card to make sure it is the best deal.
Now posting as MichelleP.