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An aerial shot of the new AmaStella luxury river ship sailing in Passau, Germany.

Courtesy of AmaWaterways

An aerial shot of the new AmaStella luxury river ship sailing in Passau, Germany.

Loyalty programs of river cruise lines

Part 3: Breaking down the benefits, rewards & perks

After looking at the loyalty programs for the mainstream cruise lines and luxury, premium and expedition lines, here's our breakdown of the loyalty programs of the major river cruise lines.

 
  LOYALTY PROGRAMS
 
Breaking down the benefits
 
 

River cruising continues to boom and river cruisers are an especially loyal bunch, with passengers vying for the limited availability on river ships, which are smaller (150 passengers on average) and more sedate than their ocean cousins.

Below is a rundown of the current loyalty programs for the major river cruise lines.


In our Loyalty Program series

This is Part 3 of our series on cruise lines' loyalty programs. Also see:

 

 

Another look at a stateroom on AmaViola.
Courtesy of AmaWaterwaysA stateroom on AmaViola. The line's loyalty program makes it easy to upgrade.

AmaWaterways: Privilege Rewards Program

After your first cruise, you're automatically enrolled into AmaWaterways' Privilege Rewards program, which applies to all vessels in the AmaWaterways fleet. There are three levels of rewards: Blue, Silver and Gold. All repeat cruisers receive a $100 discount per person on your next cruise. Benefits for the Silver level members (after 3 cruises) get complimentary airport transfers and a $100 discount on a cabin upgrade. Gold level members (after 4 cruises) get a complimentary one-category upgrade.

 

Guests will enjoy local dishes paired with wines in the dining room aboard your American Cruise Lines sailing.
Courtesy of American Cruise LinesEagle Society members can invite friends and family to come aboard for visits and dining.

American Cruise Lines

Cruise once on American Cruise Lines and you're eligible to enroll in its Eagle Society program.

Benefits include:

  • Special savings on future cruises and promotions
  • $500 savings for every referred friend who books a stateroom
  • When cruising, you can invite friends and family to come aboard for visits and dining
  • Complimentary premium level shore excursions after 3 cruises
  • Complimentary 11th cruise (after you cruise 10 times)

 

Board an Avalon Creativity cruise on the Seine to see Paris in a whole new light.
Courtesy of Avalon WaterwayssBoard an Avalon Creativity cruise on the Seine to see Paris in a whole new light.

Avalon Waterways: Journeys Club

Anyone who has traveled with the Globus family of brands within the past five years is eligible to join Avalon Waterways' Journeys Club. Whether you traveled with Globus, Cosmos, Monograms or Avalon Waterways, you can start taking advantage of these perks as soon as you complete the enrollment process.

Benefits include:

  • 5% repeat traveler discount
  • Last-minute deal alerts on river cruises
  • All-access to the Concierge Desk

Tauck River Cruises

Tauck River Cruising, a brand of tour operator Tauck, does not have a formal loyalty program. (Tauck has one of the highest repeat customer rate in the industry — more than 50% of Tauck travelers are repeat guests.) On occasion Tauck Tours will offers to pay for a hotel night for past guests who choose to fly into a cruise destination a day early if the guest books by a certain date.

 

Discover the unforgettable medieval town of Regensburg in Germany on a European Cruise aboard River Princess. The Bavarian city sits at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers.
Courtesy of Uniworld River CruisesUniworld's River Princess docked in Regensburg, Germany, at night. River Heritage Club member save 5% on cruise fares after one sailing. 

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises: River Heritage Club

Passengers sailing on Uniworld automatically become part of the River Heritage Club. As a River Heritage Club Member, you'll enjoy 5% savings on future bookings and benefits such as upgrades, two-for-one offers and complimentary onboard laundry service once per week on cruises in Europe. River Heritage Club is offering additional benefits for 2017 cruises.

 

The marble floors, crystal chandeliers and soaring five-story atrium should make a good first impression when you arrive for your sailing on Viking Emerald.
Courtesy of Viking CruisesThe marble floors, crystal chandeliers and soaring five-story atrium should make a good first impression when you arrive for your sailing on Viking Emerald.

Viking River Cruises: Viking Explorer Society

Whether vacationing by river or by ocean, Viking Cruises guests are automatically enrolled in the Viking Explorer Society program upon taking their first cruise. That means perks are reciprocal between Viking Ocean Cruises and Viking River Cruises.

Benefits include a complimentary cocktail reception and travel credits of $100 to $200. The most robust benefits are saved for Viking’s referral program: You'll get a $100 credit per referred person ($200 per couple) if used within a year of issue, and referred travelers enjoy a $100 per person savings themselves off their first cruise. The referral fees apply up to 12 people, and if a 13th person is referred and booked within a calendar year, you receive a free river cruise up to $3,300 in value.

Your take

How about you? Do you belong to a river cruise line's loyalty program? Do the perks keep you coming back? Tell us below.

See anything wrong? What did we overlook? Be a co-creator!

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JD Lasica
I'm co-founder, Editor and chief cat herder at Cruiseable. Follow your cruise bliss to any land where it may lead. Let's connect! I'm @jdlasica on Twitter.

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