American Express Offer For $500 Spend On Celebrity Cruises: Maximizing Points By Prepaying Services, Gratuities

Recently I had an American Express offer on two of my U.S. based cards offering 12,500 Membership Rewards points or $125 back for a minimum spend of $500 with Celebrity Cruises.

The spend threshold of $500 is very small but I managed to take advantage of this offer by prepaying the gratuities for a future cruise and pre-booking some on board services.

Amex Offers show up on the online account and have to be manually activated based on your personal preference as obviously not all offers are of interest to everybody.

The incentive for these offers is usually getting a certain amount of Membership Rewards points of a fix dollar amount credited back to the account, depending on offer and card type.

Here is the offer for Celebrity Cruises on my Amex Charge Card account:

There are similar offers on my Amex Everyday Card but those refund cash instead of points:

Personally I prefer getting 12,500 points over $125 but that’s of course just my personal preference, maybe you’re in another situation. I like to transfer my Amex points to ANA Mileage Club, Singapore Airlines or Virgin Atlantic where I have a very good return for them, certainly a higher one than 1 cent per point.

How did I activate this offer?

Obviously $500 won’t get you a cruise in most cases but I did still have a complimentary Cruise through MGM Mlife for which I always have to pay the port taxes and gratuities.

I decided to book this for a far ahead date after I already had two cruises cancelled this year.

This was the total charge for my Alaska cruise:

I remembered you can prepay the gratuities so I asked them to charge the $108.50 in advance which left me with a leftover balance of ~ $178 in order to meet the $500 spend threshold.

As luck would have it the beverage package I usually order was just $184

This package by the way is the best sweet spot if you ever go on a Celebrity Cruise. While I do like a drink every now and then, the difference of $300 just for alcohol during a one week cruise simply can’t be justified. It’s better to just pay for your occasional cocktail from the onboard credit of which I still have $450. Half of that is already taken up by high speed internet.


This purchase left me with a total charge of $507.19 which I consider a perfect landing for purposes of redeeming this Amex offer and I’ll get 12,500 Membership Rewards points back in return.

I really do like these Amex offers as they mitigate the annual fee of my Amex cards and while I’m not spending money I otherwise wouldn’t have I like to go through the options every now and then to see if I can align my spending with earning additional points or an account credit.