MSC Cruises has introduced a status match option for its loyalty program. I’ve called elite status reciprocity, which is practiced among Azamara, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean the closest thing to status matching in cruising. Now, MSC has for the first time introduced the first true “status match” by a cruise line and is offering equivalent status in their MSC Voyager’s Club to members of other cruise line loyalty programs (hotels too). (Image courtesy of MSC Cruises)
Here are the terms and conditions of the offer as listed.
- MSC Cruises will only consider benefit cards from other Cruising companies, Hotels and/or Tour Operators. Airline Company benefit cards are excluded.
- Matching is carried out by comparing as much as reasonably possible the level of benefits guaranteed from the external travel program benefit card with those offered by the MSC Voyagers Club cards (Conversion will be executed by MSC Cruises based on objective criteria and may only be done once per consumer).
- Clients will physically receive their membership card once on-board for their first cruise with MSC Cruises. It is not possible to combine MSC Voyagers Club points with points from the benefit card data of other cruise companies. If your client has benefit cards with multiple companies, he/she will have to choose which card to use to take part in the promotion. The MSC Voyagers Club card and membership will be subject to the terms and conditions of the MSC Voyagers Club.
- A copy of the MSC Voyagers Club T&Cs is available here. MSC Cruises reserves the right to reject any Loyalty Match Request without any legal ramifications for legitimate reasons and to stop this program at any time.
- MSC employees may not take part in the Loyalty Match Program.
The traditional status match is not something one sees from cruise lines so take advantage of it if you plan to take an MSC cruise. At a minimum, you’ll have immediate access to a 5% discount off your fare, and a variety of other benefits depending upon the level you match to. They now base a ship in Miami, and will be sending their newest vessel, MSC Seaside, to Miami in 2017. I believe this is a move to garner new business as they try to make inroads into the U.S. cruising market. With lots of new ships on order, the competitive landscape in cruising could be heating up. Will we see status matches from other clines? I’m not getting my hopes up, but that would make things interesting for sure.
-MJ, July 25, 2015