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Stickman1990

Crystal Society Benefits Program Update July 2019

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1 hour ago, RLMSLL said:

The enhancement is that one can now apply the credit across ALL Crystal experiences / vessels.  However, one can argue that the conversion of the free cruise to a credit is not necessarily “equivalent” as their write-up claims.

 

That's sort of my takeaway too...  The two are not mutually exclusive.  It can be a big devaluation to large swaths of the membership in terms of the cruise credit and still be a huge enhancement in terms of scope and usability by now offering a defined amount across all segments.

 

Tracie's earlier point was one of the most interesting to me...  It's interesting that the credit goes back down again after your 100th milestone.  After 125 cruises (and a significantly higher credit 25 cruises before), a $6,000 fare credit makes you feel like, "gee, thanks."

 

From where I sit at the opposite end of the program, it's kind of a win.  The existing program gives little-to-nothing to incentivize loyalty for less than 20 cruises or so, and even the "free" cruise is really only a partial credit for the vast majority of redemptions anyway.  The changes do little to improve the lower milestones, but at least you can finally understand exactly what kind of credit you get without multiple calls and back-and-forth between your agent and Crystal trying to calculate per diems and fares.  The old program sounded great with a "free cruise", but it was always pretty opaque in actual practice, and wasted a lot of energy to figure out.

 

I fully get that the small win at the bottom end is disproportionate to the devaluation at higher milestones though.

 

I was going to make a joke about the pins going away but then I realized they just moved that benefit off to its own chart.  :classic_biggrin:

 

Vince

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But Vince, the 50th level platinum pin has been transmogrified into a plain gold pin and the 100th level platinum and diamond pin is now just gold and diamonds.

 

It hardly seems worth it to continue cruising on into the future.  😢

 

Emily

 

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That's not an enhancement.  If they wanted to preserve the value of the initial reward, they could have easily said a free ocean cruise of x length or $x,000.00 off any other type of cruise.  This was a devaluation plain and simple, and they used the "enhancement" as an excuse.  And they certainly should not have sent me a glossy letter describing how "happy" they were to announce  the "enhancement," but then forced me to go to the website to see that it took away any possibility of a free cruise.     

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17 minutes ago, tryber said:

If they wanted to preserve the value of the initial reward, they could have easily said a free ocean cruise of x length or $x,000.00 off any other type of cruise.  

I doubt that it would be financially feasible for Crystal to continue to offer the free cruise on the new ocean ship scheduled to be launched in 2022.  The per diems will likely be significantly higher.  It would be awkward for Crystal to stipulate that the free cruise would be applicable to only the two older ocean ships and not the new one.  In addition, Crystal Symphony’s time as part of the Crystal fleet is numbered.  She may leave the fleet when the new ocean ship launches or it may be a year or two later.  Then there would be only one ship in the fleet where the free cruise concept would be viable.

 

Crystal needed to revise the loyalty program before accepting bookings on the new ocean ship.  We may wish the cruise credit allotment were higher, but in my opinion a cruise credit that is simple to interpret and works across all experiences and vessels was a good direction for the evolution of the Crystal Society program.

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The new CS program disadvantages solo travelers in a way the prior two (that’s as far back as I go) programs did not. The free cruise award in the retiring program was inclusive of the single supplement. You got X free days depending on Milestone level.  The new program says in the fine print that it is not. The solo traveler gets the same cruise credit amount as the double occupancy traveler but still has to pay the single supplement on whatever voyage is booked. Another enhancement - not!

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6 hours ago, tryber said:

That's not an enhancement.  If they wanted to preserve the value of the initial reward, they could have easily said a free ocean cruise of x length or $x,000.00 off any other type of cruise.  This was a devaluation plain and simple, and they used the "enhancement" as an excuse.  And they certainly should not have sent me a glossy letter describing how "happy" they were to announce  the "enhancement," but then forced me to go to the website to see that it took away any possibility of a free cruise.     

 

In fairness, we complained as much when they started with the free cruise milestones because they were advertising something that sounded grand and in practice but at the first milestone was next to impossible to use as such.  Not that it didn’t have value, but back then if you really wanted to use it as advertised, your “free cruise” most years was a painful choice between a seven day Mexico cruise and two screaming-children-express Med August and July sailings — plus maybe a Miami round trip every third year.  The free cruise offering was a bit of a stretch from the start.

 

Yes, I wish the credit was more generous, but I’m not at all sorry to see that schema go.

 

4 hours ago, TER777 said:

The new CS program disadvantages solo travelers in a way the prior two (that’s as far back as I go) programs did not. The free cruise award in the retiring program was inclusive of the single supplement. You got X free days depending on Milestone level.  The new program says in the fine print that it is not. The solo traveler gets the same cruise credit amount as the double occupancy traveler but still has to pay the single supplement on whatever voyage is booked. Another enhancement - not!

 

I’m glad you mentioned that Tracie — I couldn’t remember if the current milestones included the single supplement or if it was for the berth and you had to pay the supplement for single occupancy.  That’s definitely another hit.

 

Emily — Darn!! Hocking the pins was how I had planned to back-fill the milestone credits when I reach those levels!  Lol

 

Vince

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Does anyone know of a cruise loyalty program more generous than Crystal’s? I don’t.

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Clearly it was a devaluation. We all know it. It is unfortunate that Crystal thought we were too stupid to see that was the case, but I guess that is the trend these days.

 

When I worked at a large company, Everytime HR announced a new "benefit enhancement" it took the engineers in the company no more than 1 hour tops before they had analysed,correctly, the money the company was likely to pay  for the "enhanced benefit"....Which usually was great for the employee's heirs  if you were the one in 100,000  that were to die of an infected hangnail, whereas invariablythey increased the deductable per visit every time you saw a doctor or decreased the total lifetime benefits available for medical care. At senior staff meetings I used to enjoy riding the  VP of HR about just what kind of an "enhancement" we could exoect next year.......That was always good fun.....until the time that for 6 months I was "acting VP HR...at least I didn't do corporate doublespeak.

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From Crystal's perspective, I can understand their need to revise/reform the program.  The need to continue a loyalty program without it stealing dollars, with many pax reaching the 100+ milestone, with river ships and expeditions ship(s) and maybe 1 or more ocean ships needing to be included in a loyalty program - there were a number of factors forcing a re-evaluation.  

 

So my question to these faithful CC posters is this - if Crystal were to ask you (perhaps as a small test group) to suggest loyalty program benefits that would interest you and not break the bank, what would you suggest?  What loyalty program benefits from other cruiselines or travel industry (e.g. air, hotel, etc) could be adopted by Crystal?  

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15 hours ago, marienbad said:

Does anyone know of a cruise loyalty program more generous than Crystal’s? I don’t.

Does anyone know of a cruise loyalty program more generous than Seabourn's?  I don't.

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47 minutes ago, saminina said:

Does anyone know of a cruise loyalty program more generous than Seabourn's?  I don't.

 

Only problem with it is you have to sail Seabourn to use it...I am doomed to remain a Seabourn Club member (the entry level) for ever

 

On a more serious note it’s based around days sailed which I like and a “free” 7 day cruise comes up at 140 days or a complimentary 14 days at 250 days. So say an average cruise is 14 days that’s only 10 cruises compared to Crystals 25 (or maybe a few less given over 16 days (working from memory) gives you a double cruise recognition) - so they win on that front 

 

https://www.seabourn.com/en_US/seabourn-club.html

 

I like the idea of the Tiffany gift at milestones as opposed to the Pins which have no real use with few choosing to wear them 

 

The rest of the awards for points milestones are  not a match for the dollar OBC awards that Crystal regularly provide at various milestones 

 

As I said in my original comment I think these cruise company loyalty schemes are never going to provide much in relative terms to the total spend required to earn awards - but as long as they offer the programmes then I’ll take whatever is on offer. However it will never influence me to book additional cruises or use a particular cruise line. There are many more important things than award programmes that impact that important decision

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:

 

Only problem with it is you have to sail Seabourn to use it...I am doomed to remain a Seabourn Club member (the entry level) for ever

 

Likewise I can't see us sailing Crystal as we are just about up to our free cruise with Seabourn😀

 

 

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I definitely would like to see it based on days sailed rather than per "cruise" because of the examples I mentioned in post #9.

 

~Nancy

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Posted (edited)

The last thing I would do, and never suggest to other people, is to give consideration to a loyalty program when booking a cruise.  For the consumer, it is total insanity.  Too much time and money involved.  Too much variation between cruise lines.

 

Opposite is true with hotels and airlines until they get to the point to which they are aiming.

Edited by saminina

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17 hours ago, saminina said:

The last thing I would do, and never suggest to other people, is to give consideration to a loyalty program when booking a cruise.  For the consumer, it is total insanity.  Too much time and money involved.  Too much variation between cruise lines.

 

Opposite is true with hotels and airlines until they get to the point to which they are aiming.

 

saminina I agree with you

The only reason I commented was that I met Stickman on a Seabourn cruise where he was telling me Crystal was the bees knees and we should try Crystal, well maybe one day we will try Crystal  😀

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2 minutes ago, Thecat123 said:

The only reason I commented was that I met Stickman on a Seabourn cruise where he was telling me Crystal was the bees knees and we should try Crystal, well maybe one day we will try Crystal  😀

 

I’m keeping an eye out for that ideal cruise for you on Crystal - I really do you think you would enjoy it. The nice thing is we have a choice of options to enjoy our cruising on

 

We enjoyed sailing with you both and other guests we met and some aspects of Seabourn but I’m afraid Encore was not for us - but I still read all the brochures they keep sending us 🙂 

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Posted (edited)

But will they give me a Penthouse suite like last time of which I can't see that happening again?😀

Edited by Thecat123

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They could have also grandfathered in some cruisers over a certain number of cruises.   This is not the first time they have downgraded experience but they didn’t lie about it before. Interesting to hear what Keith will say. 

 

Do do people really think new ocean ship in 2022 still. Maybe very late in year. I don’t necessarily think it’s prices will go up  they are pushing market already. I thin older ship will get lower prices. 

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1 hour ago, ctjon said:

Do do people really think new ocean ship in 2022 still. Maybe very late in year. I don’t necessarily think it’s prices will go up  they are pushing market already. I thin older ship will get lower prices. 

 

They can still hit 2022, but until something definitive is signed, who knows.  Rumor has it the delay is based around the ship(s) getting slightly larger again.  Not back to 100K tons, but as some of us pointed out the numbers previously released didn't add up with the objectives they were trying to achieve with the new ships.  Capacity would have had to have been significantly lower, or the public spaces would have needed to be significantly reduced in order for those numbers to work.

 

With the previous two ocean ship additions, fares were raised more by the elimination of the bottom stateroom categories than a steep premium for the new ship.  I expect that trend to continue, unless they're really hearing an outcry from people wanting window staterooms..  If the new ship has significantly different standard staterooms though, they might command a bigger premium than Crystal has enjoyed before.  We probably won't know if this is in the cards until we see the revised capacity/size announcement, assuming that rumor is true.

 

Vince

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On 7/27/2019 at 8:48 PM, saminina said:

Does anyone know of a cruise loyalty program more generous than Seabourn's?  I don't.

 

Agree.  Crystal has a good loyalty program but Seabourn's is great.

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On 7/30/2019 at 4:45 PM, MightyQuinn said:

 

Agree.  Crystal has a good loyalty program but Seabourn's is great.

I don't consider free internet a great loyalty program since internet on Crystal is free to everyone and the service is excellent since the refurb. Some of the other stuff doesn't impress me either, but yes some other things do look good.

 

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25 minutes ago, AtA said:

I don't consider free internet a great loyalty program since internet on Crystal is free to everyone and the service is excellent since the refurb. Some of the other stuff doesn't impress me either, but yes some other things do look good.

 

 

Given Seabourn expected me to pay for it (almost $400 if I recall correctly) and Crystal include it then I consider that a benefit - albeit one they extend to everyone these days. I understand at a certain level Seabourn provide some level of internet access 

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But Stickman you could have used that US$400 you got as a first time cruiser with Seabourn then you would have free internet 😀  I think you told me Crystal dropped the referral system a while ago. I have never paid for the internet on Seabourn as I have always used the US$400 referral coupon system by"referring" a first time cruiser to Seabourn

As a side note I wish I had stayed with one cruise line for all the days we have spent on 6 or 7 different cruise lines over the years as I might now have a decent discount and free cruises

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I'm sorry to see this change as I have for other similar changes over the years but if you've done 50, 75, 100 cruises on Crystal or any other ship I suspect you aren't just doing it for a free cruise some day.  I suspect you like cruising on that line.

Time will tell (oops if I remember we aren't supposed to say that.

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38 minutes ago, ctjon said:

I'm sorry to see this change as I have for other similar changes over the years but if you've done 50, 75, 100 cruises on Crystal or any other ship I suspect you aren't just doing it for a free cruise some day.  I suspect you like cruising on that line.

 

 

I would tend to agree. At the end of the day I would think very few people select a cruise/cruiseline based on the perks in their loyalty programme, or even necessarily keep track of them. We discovered last year on Serenity that we had three Milestone perks we had never used, so we used one then. Still have the other two, along with a collection of CS pins sitting in a drawer somewhere! I agree the credit in place of the "free" cruise is a downgrade, but at the end of the day, it is still a pretty good acknowledgement of your "loyalty", and it is still money in your pocket that you would not otherwise have.

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