Carnival Cruise Line Removes VIFP Perk Without Notice

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Carnival Cruise Line has quietly removed a popular benefit for its Diamond and Platinum level returning guests, without notice of the discontinuation. The $25 FunPlay credit in the ship’s casino was never intended as a long-term benefit, but nevertheless, it has been a popular perk that guests have enjoyed for several years.

Now, however, the perk has been removed from the list of benefits for the upper tiers of Carnival’s VIFP loyalty program, and Carnival Cruise Line’s Brand Ambassador has confirmed that the credit is no longer being offered.

“Yes, the casino has decided to remove the $25,” Heald said in response to a guest inquiry. “The $25 FunPlay casino credit was one of our temporary offers to our top tier VIFP guests. With a full suite of casino promotions and activities, we are sunsetting this credit and continue to look for other ways to make sure our loyal guests have a great time while cruising with us.”

Carnival Mardi Gras Casino
Carnival Mardi Gras Casino (Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz)

The credit was first instituted during the cruise industry restart as a substitution for the loss of casino tournaments. The tournaments were halted in 2021 as a health and safety measure to promote social distancing and minimize the risk of disease transmission. Previously, Platinum and Diamond guests had received free or buy-one-get-one tournament entries.

When social distancing was required and casinos were unable to host blackjack, slot machine, or poker tournaments, however, Platinum and Diamond guests were instead given the casino credit as compensation and encouragement to enjoy time in the casino. The credit was redeemable for slots or table games.

“We want to thank you for the loyalty and support you have shown Carnival, and also make you aware of the new way to redeem your VIFP amenities. These changes were designed in accordance with our new Have Fun. Be Safe. protocols,” emails sent to booked guests explained in the early days after cruises began sailing again.

“Although we are currently unable to host casino tournaments on board, you will be given US$25 in Casino FunPlay.”

Read Also: Carnival Cruise Line Partners for Exclusive Casino Benefits

While guests received that notification of their benefit changes when the FunPlay credit was instituted, there has been no notification that the benefit has been removed. Furthermore, at this time, no further casino benefits have either been substituted as alternatives, nor have the old tournament entry benefits been returned.

Is This a Money Saving Strategy?

Many loyal Carnival cruisers are disappointed at the removal of the benefit, especially with no substitution offered. Speculation is high that this may be due to financial losses associated with the perk.

For example, cruisers with the credit might not spend more than the $25 FunPlay in the casino, and could perhaps even cash out at a higher cost with their winnings – without spending any of their own money.

Carnival Cruise Casino
Carnival Cruise Casino (Photo Credit: Ihor Koptilin / Shutterstock)

It should be noted that this decision comes from the casino department and not from Carnival Cruise Line overall. Each department decides whether or not to offer loyalty benefits to travelers, and those benefits are always subject to change. Other benefits related to the Ocean Player’s Club are not impacted.

Heald does note that guests’ comments and feedback are passed along to the casino department. Furthermore, this change has nothing to do with the hints that have been given about an upcoming renovation to the entire VIFP program.

“It has nothing to do with the new program. That’s a completely separate entity,” Heald confirmed. “But this casino change has been made by the casino. I hope that makes sense. But I promise I’ve let everybody know who needs to see the comments and make sure they understand everybody’s thoughts on this.”

Heald notes that the new VIFP program should be ready by the end of 2024, though no information is yet available about tier levels, expected benefits, or how existing loyalty status may be impacted. Stay tuned to Cruise Hive as those new benefits are revealed in the months to come!

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