30 Days of Boat Drinks – Introduction

30 Days of Boat Drinks – Getting Informed

30 Days of Boat Drinks – Credit Card Plays

30 Days of Boat Drinks – Barclay Arrival Miles and Ultimate Rewards

30 Days of Boat Drinks – Membership Rewards and Cruise Privileges

30 Days of Boat Drinks – Shopping Strategies and Getting Booked

30 Days of Boat Drinks – Backup Plan

30 Days of Boat Drinks – Onboard Spending Strategies and Life On Board

30 Days of Boat Drinks – Conclusion

I talked around this at the Chicago Seminars, and I’ve alluded to it in a few blog posts, but I haven’t really put it out there. A few weeks ago, I received an email from a reader. He was looking for a way to spend 30 days on a cruise ship for “free,” paying for the cruise purely on points. My first thought was NWiH (for a semi-reasonable number of points), but I started poking around the interweb a bit, and the news was more encouraging. Depending on the time of year, the itinerary, and probably a few other factors, I was finding cruises 3/4/5 night cruises in the $149 per person range, sometimes less. Does anyone else remember the $149 trans-Atlantic repositioning cruise last year? I’m not finding anything that good at the moment which would make this easy….but things do change.

Now, to be clear, I’m not going to sea for 30 days. I do have a job, and not that much vacation time. But I am going to go through a few exercises over a series of blog posts to show that this can be done. Let’s lay down a few ground rules for my quest.

  • I hope for this to be possible with no more than five or six credit card applications.
  • At least one island visit outside of the Bahamas.
  • Changing ships (i.e. walking off one ship and onto another the same day at the same port) during the 30 days will be considered fair play.
  • Most cruise fares are based on double-occupancy. We’ll focus on paying for the fare of one person in this exercise, so you’re going to need to find a roommate for your cruise to get the best deal. (If you get them to play the game with you, even better!)

This isn’t meant to be some television mini-series, but just one more data point on the miracle of miles and points. Flexibility will be a basic requirement for anyone to succeed at this, and I, of course, can’t guarantee anyone’s credit approvals if they decide to try. Couples working this together can benefit most. No matter what, I am convinced it’s doable. Now let’s see if I can make it happen in real time. Wish me luck, and stay tuned – Boat Drinks with MJ. 🙂

-MJ, October 16, 2013