How to get free cruises by gaming casino status matches

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a collage of photos of a man and a woman

Free cruises sound like a scam, but it is currently possible to turn elite status earned from a single $95 credit card into months worth of free cruises and free hotel nights if you play your cards right. The best part is that if you follow the steps, you don’t need previous experience with any of this (or any gambling) to make this all happen.

What’s new? This post has once again been updated for 2024 in several ways. First, we’ve added reader data about Princess and Holland America matches now either requiring further proof of offers from other cruise lines or casinos or matching via Hard Rock Icon status. We have also updated with the automatic Ocean Prime extensions for those who have matched since 3/1/24 and added the latest Las Vegas matching opportunities.

This post is very long. It is not necessarily meant to be read in one sitting but rather to be a complete guide. If you are reading this in email form, you’re going to want to click through to the website for the full experience and easy table of contents navigation.

Table of Contents

The short story

When we first published this post, it was easy to parlay a $95 credit card into very cheap cruise offers with several different cruise lines. It still is relatively easy to do that, although it might require the additional steps of visiting Atlantic City or Las Vegas for additional matching.

The bottom line is that you can start with a credit card and end up with “free” cruise offers from several cruise lines. Here’s the short version of the story:

  1. Apply for the Wyndham Earner Business credit card. This gives you Wyndham Rewards Diamond status.
  2. Match Wyndham Rewards Diamond status to Caesars Diamond status (this can be done online).
  3. Submit a screen shot of your Caesars Diamond status to Carnival, Princess, and Holland America cruise lines in order to get free cruise offers with those lines. Previously, it was possible to submit a screen shot of Caesars Diamond to Carnival, Princess, and Holland America and get a free cruise offer. However, several reader data points indicate that some of the cruise lines have caught on to the Wyndham->Caesars match, so if you only submit a picture of your Caesars Diamond card to a cruise line, they may ask you to also submit proof of a hotel offer or offer from another cruise line. This post has more information about how to match your Caesars Diamond to Hard Rock Icon and Ocean Prime in Atlantic City, NJ (then, submitting one of those statuses to the cruise lines should get you a free cruise offer) or matching Caesars Diamond to Wynn Platinum in Las Vegas (which will also likely work for free cruise offers and which comes with a potential free cruise offer).
  4. If you do the Atlantic City matching, one of the benefits of Ocean Prime is a free cruise of up to 10 nights anywhere in the world on MSC. Depending on when you execute this match, you may be able to cruise two times.

My family has now taken 7 cruises in the past 18 months thanks to this train that has continued to chug along and we’ve got another scheduled later this year and we’re working on getting at least two more after that — all thanks to the processes covered in this post (and some past opportunities that we previously included here but which subsequently ended).

I should add that if you have other very high-tier casino elite status, you could possibly accomplish the steps in this post without starting at the Wyndham Earner Business credit card and Caesars Rewards. For instance, it is possible to accomplish a lot of the same things outlined in this post with MGM Gold status instead of Caesars Diamond status. Unfortunately, there is no longer an easy path to MGM Gold status like there is with Caesars Diamond (MGM is currently offering a status challenge to MGM Gold, but the requirements are quite high both in terms of the competing status you need and then earnings required to keep Gold status as compared to the path to easy Caesars Diamond outlined in this post).

Are “free” cruises really free?

If this sounds too good to be true, you’re at least partially right. Even a “free” cruise is not totally without cost — and in some cases it can be better to think of these “free” cruise offers as very deeply discounted cruises (far cheaper than you’d be able to book them in any other way).

Here’s what I mean: some (but not all) free cruise offers require you to pay port taxes. Depending on the destinations you choose, port taxes can range from less than $100 per passenger to hundreds of dollars per passenger. However, other free cruise offers waive port taxes along with the cruise fare.

Most of the free cruise offers require you to pay a deposit of some sort that you will receive back as an onboard credit (i.e. pay $100 per passenger now and get $100 in onboard credit or casino free play later). It can be relatively easy to get this money back, but you typically need to lay out some cash for a deposit.

Even if you cruise for free (or close to it), you’ll still have to pay what some lines call “gratuities” and others call “hotel service charges”. The exact amount varies, but figure on around $15 per person per night for these automatically-billed charges (sometimes less for children).

Finally, most “free” cruise offers are based on double occupancy. You’ll probably need to pay more if you want to bring a couple of extra cabin mates / kids. On the other hand, if you’re a solo traveler, I don’t think you’ll pay a solo traveler surcharge per se (see the comments for data points from other solo travelers).

If that all sounds reasonable enough, read on for details about how to do it.

How to get free cruises by gaming casino status matches

Get the Wyndham Earner Business Credit Card for Wyndham Diamond status

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The path to free cruises begins with an unlikely starting point: Wyndham Rewards. Yes, Wyndham Rewards is a hotel loyalty program. And yes, it is the loyalty program of mostly budget brands like Days Inn, Travelodge, Super 8 and more brands that you probably wouldn’t associate with cruising the high seas for free. Surprising as it may seem, we often find the biggest wins can be found in places where those not “in the know” wouldn’t expect to find them.

To get free cruises, you’ll first sign up for a Wyndham Rewards account at this link (this is their hotel loyalty account; it’s free to join). You want to start by joining the free hotel loyalty program and jotting down your Wyndham Rewards account number so that you can enter that Wyndham Rewards account number on the credit card application for the Wyndham Earner Business card. There is a line in the application for your Wyndham Rewards number; if you don’t enter a Wyndham Rewards number, the system will generate one for you — but then you’ll be stuck waiting a couple of weeks for the card to arrive and trying to set up an online account for an existing membership number, all of which is going to be slow and unintuitive. Save yourself some time and sign up for a free Wyndham Rewards hotel loyalty account first.

The next step is applying for the Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Credit Card (find more info and a link to apply on that page). This is a business credit card, so you’ll need to have a business, but that is a lot easier than it sounds. Almost any type of side hustle can be considered a business — selling stuff now and then on Facebook marketplace or eBay, writing a book, writing a blog that you hope to monetize with ads eventually, babysitting, etc. Even if you aren’t yet making money from said side hustle, you can potentially qualify for a business credit card without needing to do any paperwork to register a business in most cases.

If your business is something small like a blog that doesn’t yet have ads or selling stuff on eBay or Facebook where you’re making a very small amount of money, you would probably operate that as a sole proprietorship — a business where you are the business, which requires no special paperwork in most cases. In that case, you’d choose “sole proprietorship” for the business type and use your own personal name as the business name and your social security number as the tax ID. It’s all quite easy. You can find more information and a link to apply for the Wyndham Earner business card on our card page. Note that we do not earn any affiliate commission on this card, it’s just a great deal for a number of reasons (we talked extensively about it on a podcast episode).

As a side note, if you apply for the card and earn the welcome bonus, it is worth mentioning that the points can not only be used to stay in Wyndham hotels but also used through Wyndham’s vacation rental partnerships like the one they have with Vacasa, so you’ll get more than just free cruises with this card.

Match Wyndham Diamond status to Caesars Diamond

Once you have the Wyndham Earner Business Card, your Wyndham Rewards account status will update to Wyndham Diamond status (this won’t be instant upon approval, but it should update to Diamond within about a week).

Once you have Wyndham Diamond status, you go to this link and click the button that says “I am a Wyndham Rewards member, match my status” to get matched to Caesars Diamond status.

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Recently, the match to Caesars Diamond has been taking about 3 weeks, though in the past it took about a week. If it doesn’t update within two weeks, it can be worth emailing Wyndham Rewards by using the email form found on this page explaining that you submitted for the match and your Caesars status hasn’t yet updated. You’ll likely see your status update within a couple of days after emailing. See this post for more detail about emailing Wyndham Rewards.

Once you have Caesars Diamond status, click here to jump to the next relevant section of this post.

I will add that Caesars Diamond comes with a few benefits beyond free cruises: Diamond members pay no resort fees and sometimes get offers for free rooms in Las Vegas for close-in stays.

Atlantic City matches

Caesars Diamond to get free MSC cruises (and more) in Atlantic City

If you live within a drivable distance of Atlantic City or have plans or can make plans to visit, it is possible to get a free cruise or two with MSC as well as elite status that can be used to get free cruise offers with Carnival, Princess, and Holland America. Here’s what you need to do.

Print your physical Caesars Diamond card

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This step is simple: most Caesars casinos, like Caesars Palace Atlantic City, have kiosk machines near the Caesars Rewards desk where you can enter your driver’s license and the machine will print a physical copy of your Caesars Diamond card. You can alternatively go to a Caesars Rewards desk to do this (there is a separate line entrance for Diamond members, so you don’t need to wait on the general line since you have Diamond status).

You’ll need the physical card to execute matches at Hard Rock and Ocean. If you have driven to Caesars Palace, note that you’ll get parking for free by showing your Caesars Diamond card on the way out.

Match Caesars Diamond to Hard Rock Icon

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Hard Rock Atlantic City will match Caesars Diamond to Hard Rock Icon status (formerly Rock Royalty). In early 2024, we heard data points indicating that this is a once-per-lifetime match, but other data points have since indicated that it may be possible to execute this match again in the future after your Hard Rock status has expired, but only in Atlantic City (what is now Mirage Las Vegas is only doing the match one-time-only).

The match process is easy: Simply go to the Unity Rewards desk and tell them that you have Caesars Diamond status and would like to sign up for Unity Rewards if they can match your status. They will match you and print an “Icon” card. In the past, they have also issued free play credit on your account, but amounts have varied. If they do issue you free play, you can go to a machine in the casino, enter your card and pin, load the promotional credit, and then after you’ve spun enough times to wager the promotional credit you can cash out any remaining money. For instance, if they give you $50 in free play and you sit at a machine where you bet $1 per spin, you’ll be able to cash out any money left after 50  spins. You have to keep track of the spins yourself.

You will also get an offer to book 2 free nights at Hard Rock Atlantic City as part of the match.

Note that Hard Rock charges for parking upon arrival on the way in to the parking garage. Readers have pointed out that the smart play here is to valet park as you would pay for that when picking the car up — and by then, you’ll have Hard Rock Icon status and it will be complimentary.

Your next stop will be Ocean Casino.

Match Hard Rock Icon to Ocean Prime for a Free MSC Cruise and more

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Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City will match Hard Rock Icon members to Ocean Prime status. That is highly desirable because Ocean Prime comes with a slew of valuable benefits, one of which is a free cruise on MSC that is the closest to “free” of any of the offers in this post since you do not even pay port taxes for the Ocean Prime MSC cruise offer. Note that you need to match at Hard Rock first because Ocean will not match Caesars Diamond to Ocean Prime, but they will match Hard Rock Icon yo Ocean Prime.

Just like with Hard Rock, you’ll head to the players club (Ocean Rewards) desk at Ocean Casino Resort and say that you’d like to join if they can match your Hard Rock status.

This match is something of a goldmine because Ocean Prime has a number of valuable benefits:

  • Free 2-night stay at Ocean Casino Resort (valid Sunday through Thursday). You can book this after 72 hours have passed since matching.
  • Free 2-night stay at Resorts World Las Vegas, which comes with a $100 dining credit and $100 free play credit. This can be booked starting on the 15th of the month following the month in which you match. My wife and I used this benefit in January 2024 to stay for free on a weekend when cash rates would have been north of $800 for two nights and a family member has since used this for another holiday weekend where cash rates were north of $1,200. This benefit was very easy to use and could be handy if you intend to also take advantage of limited-time Las Vegas matching detailed further down in this post.
  • Free pass to the Avila Lounge at Ocean Casino Resort (a buffet with carved prime rib, full bar, etc). This pass is valid for 2 guests and it is valid for 72 hours after matching.
  • Free cruise of up to 10 nights anywhere in the world on MSC in an ocean view room for two people. You pay no port taxes, just a $400 deposit that you get back as a $400 onboard credit. You will pay gratuities of $10-$15 per person per day (less for children). This can be booked starting on the 15th of the month following the month in which you match. I wrote about our experience booking this offer here. It is worth reading that post for much more information as this offer seems highly flexible. You need to book and sail by the expiration of your Ocean Prime status, which is June 30, 2024 for the current membership year. However, those who have matched from 3/1/24 onward will automatically get status extended to June 30, 2025.

Note: Ocean Prime status lasts until June 30th, so whenever you match, your status will be set to expire on June 30th. However, in both 2023 and 2024, members who matched after March 1st have gotten their Ocean Prime status extended to June of the following calendar year (the card initially prints with a June 30 same-year expiration date, but on July 1st status gets renewed through June 30th of the following year).

If you match to Ocean Prime after March 1st but before June, it should be possible to possible to get two free MSC cruises. Here’s how: your initial card will show an expiration date of June 30, 2024. You should be able to book a free cruise before that expires. Then, when Ocean once again extends status, you’ll get a full year of Ocean Prime status from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025 and you should be able to cruise again one time during that period.

I covered my experiences so far with a free MSC cruise in Europe and another in the Caribbean. As mentioned above, the free MSC cruise is very nearly free since you pay no port taxes. You’ll pay a $400 deposit that you get back as an onboard credit. That credit can be applied toward onboard purchases, gratuities, or even when loading a casino slot machine and charging it to your room folio. You can simply cash out from the machine as soon as you get tired of losing money. Beyond that deposit, you’ll only need to pay “hotel service charges” (the MSC name for gratuities). Note that you may need to pay a $59 fee for the “Fantastica” experience with MSC if there aren’t many cabins left on your cruise and/or you want to select your cabin number. Additional passengers beyond two cost $359 each for itineraries of 7 nights or longer.

We’ve had conflicting reports on blackout dates for the MSC cruise offer. Some phone agents claim that certain periods are “blacked out” and cost an additional $250 per passenger, but if you simply hang up and call again the next agent may not assess that fee. Generally speaking, if a cabin is available for sale, it seems to be available to be booked with this offer. You can upgrade to a balcony or suite or even Yacht Club for additional fees.

Note that Ocean Prime will match your status a second time, but not until 18 months have passed with no activity on your Ocean account. You’ll need to wait 18 months from your previous match or 18 months from your most recent time playing at Ocean Casino Resort to try matching again.

Bonus match: Hyatt, Hilton or Marriott to MSC Diamond

If you’re going to sail with MSC and you have Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond, or Marriott Platinum status, you can do a status match with MSC. This can be worth it because if you get matched to MSC Diamond status, you’ll get a complimentary specialty dinner for 2 for one night, a bottle of sparkling wine, a cocktail reception with crew, and some other goodies. I got a bottle of prosecco, a plate of macarons, and some dark chocolate on my MSC cruise. Status match at this link.

Online cruise matches with Carnival, Princess, and Holland America

Caesars Diamond for a free Carnival cruise (could be up to 30 nights long)

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Caesars Diamond status could easily get you 7 nights or more onboard with Carnival cruise lines. Here’s how it works.

Once you have Caesars Diamond status, you need to submit a screen shot of your Caesars Diamond status to Carnival via the Carnival Fun Match link. The form requires you to submit a picture of the front and back of your Caesars Rewards card, but if you only have the Digital card, we’ve had success submitting the same screen shot of our online account as shown below here for both the “front” and “back” of the card.

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When you log in on desktop, you can expand the menu in the top right so you can get a picture showing name, account number (blacked out above), tier (in the middle of the screen), and expiration date (under where it says “Diamond”).

Carnival tends to initially send an offer for something like $500 off — just be patient and wait for a free cruise offer to arrive as they will likely come soon enough.

Keep in mind that as the cruise industry has recovered more, the availability of sailings for the free offers has diminished. It can sometimes be hard to find a sailing with free balcony cabins even when you have the free balcony offer, but it is worth checking back frequently.

My wife and I both initially received offers for free interior rooms, but after a couple of weeks we started receiving offers for free balcony staterooms (a family member submitted the Carnival match in mid January 2024 and got a free cruise offer about a month later). Some have waited months for the free cruise offers to show up and some haven’t received them at all, but be sure to log in to your Carnival account periodically to check your offers. These certainly can be a great deal.

If you have done this match and have not received a free cruise offer, try updating your online profile. See this post for more information: Trouble with the Carnival Fun Match? Here’s a potential solution.

The particularly notable thing about those offers is that they have been valid on sailings in the Caribbean, to Alaska, around Europe (I took a 10-night cruise to the Greek isles and Turkey with this offer – read my impressions here), and even on some Transatlantic and Transpacific sailings as long as 30 nights. Here’s an example of a 22-night cruise from Brisbane, Australia to Seattle that I seriously considered:

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How much does the free Carnival cruise cost?

I’ve covered the total costs of the Carnival deal before. The “free” cruise offer takes out the cruise fare, but with Carnival you still pay costs like taxes and daily gratuities. In short, you’ll pay:

  • $100 nonrefundable deposit per passenger that you get back as a $100 casino free play and/or onboard credit (depending on your offer) per passenger up to $200 per cabin in onboard credit / free play.
  • Port taxes for each guest (which range based on ports — my 10-night European cruise came with about $90 per person in taxes, but some itineraries can be $200-$300 per person in taxes depending on where you go)
  • An extra person supplement for more than 2 passengers (typically $200-$300 each for the 3rd and 4th passengers, but YMMV)
  • Daily gratuities of $16 per person per day for standard cabins (it costs more for suites).
  • Any costs incurred onboard like alcoholic drinks (except when playing in the casino) and any upgraded dining options you choose

This still works out to be a killer deal in many cases. For instance, my 10-night Carnival cruise to the Greek Islands, Turkey, Sicily, and Naples would have cost about $680 for two people and in my case it came with $200 in onboard credit and $200 given to us in cash as “free play” money in the casino. And we used a couple of credit cards with offers for $40 back on $100 or more with Carnival to pay the initial $680 (over separate payments), so in reality we paid less than $680 for the first two passengers. After the onboard credit and free play it was awfully close to nothing for the first two passengers (because we brought our kids, it ended up costing a bit more as our two extra passengers were $279 each + port taxes).

Circling back to that specific Carnival Luminosa offer on the transpacific cruise pictured above, it would have come to $588 for two people plus $638 in gratuities for a total of $1,126.40 for a 22-night cruise that came with onboard credit to boot.

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That cruise is an outlier in terms of value — and as you can see, my offer for that cruise was only for an interior room. When I initially got the free balcony offer, I had the same pricing for a balcony cabin.

Once you get the free cruise offer in your email, you need to know that availability ebbs and flows. While the email offer cites an expiration date, I saw the same cruise offers come and go multiple times — each month, the offer expired and then a week or two later, I received another identical free cruise offer for a year from the date when we first received the free balcony cabin offer. See How to cruise for free (or close to it) with Royal Caribbean and Carnival for more detail.

Hard Rock Icon to a 12-night Holland America free cruise (sail through April 6, 2025)

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Holland America has been offering a match program whereby they have been offering many readers with casino status a complimentary interior cabin and $100 in freeplay with drinks for 2 while playing in the casino on eligible sailings to Alaska, Mexico, Caribbean, Coastal, and Canada/New England on 2023 and early 2024 sailings. We wrote about this match here. You can submit your request for this match here. The offer is valid for sailings up to 12 nights (though land & sea cruises are excluded) that depart by April 2025, though reports we’ve received from readers in the comments have indicated that while the offer states up to 12 nights, in practice some 14-night sailings also qualify.

It used to be possible to simply submit a screen shot of your Caesars Diamond status for this free cruise offer, but recent reports indicate that if you only submit Caesars Diamond status, Holland America is likely to ask for further documentation of casino-based hotel offers, free cruise offers from other cruise lines, or other casino status. A couple of reports indicate simply getting a free cruise offer by submitting a picture of their Hard Rock Icon card (from Atlantic City or Las Vegas matching) instead of Caesars Diamond.

Note that those who have recently sailed with Carnival or Holland America and not gambled much may not qualify for the free cruise offer.

Caesars Diamond / Hard Rock Icon to a free Princess cruise (up to 11 nights, sail within one year from offer date)

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Princess cruises is also offering a free cruise match. You can submit your request for this match here. reports indicate that this one may involve some follow-up, but many readers have still been successful.

If you just submit a picture of Caesars Diamond status, Princess will follow up asking for proof of other casino offers (hotel offers from land-based hotels or cruise offers). A family member recently ran into this when trying to match her Caesars Diamond for a complimentary Princess cruise. She responded by sending a picture of her free balcony cabin offer from Carnival (which she had gotten by submitting her Caesars Diamond status to Carnival). Princess then matched that and gave her a free balcony cabin offer.

Alternatively, I’d recommend submitting your Hard Rock Icon status (or perhaps Wynn Platinum status) to Princess as reader data points indicate that status will yield a complimentary balcony cabin valid on eligible sailings to Europe, Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico and Canada valid for one year from offer date (with some flexibility as per his linked comment). Another reader notes having submitted MSC Diamond (a match to that is covered later in this post), Hard Rock Rock Royalty/Icon (also covered later in this post) and expired Ocean Prime (also covered later in this post) and getting the balcony cabin. Reader Josh and several others have reported receiving a balcony offer after submitting a copy of a Carnival balcony offer. Note that Margaritaville at Sea is another cruise line that has apparently been matching land-based status with free cruise offers and it is possible that submitting a picture of a free cruise offer from Margaritaville at Sea will also work, but that cruise line does not have a straightforward form to request a match.

My wife and I both tried submitting for this offer last year (She submitted Caesars Diamond and I submitted Ocean Prime and MGM Gold) and we each only received an offer for up to $200 in free play per person for the 1st and 2nd guest only “Based on status with [their] sister brands”. I interpret that to mean that I didn’t gamble enough on Carnival for Princess to want to give me a free cruise, but it might be worth submitting this if you haven’t cruised with Carnival or Holland America within the past year or two.

Las Vegas match to Wynn Platinum (through 5/31/24)

Caesars Diamond to Wynn Platinum (which may include a free Holland America cruise)

For a limited time (through May 31, 2024) Wynn Las Vegas is matching Caesars Diamond members to Wynn Platinum status. Wynn Platinum status includes a $100 spa credit and also a complimentary ocean view cabin on a Holland America cruise*.

However, Platinum members need to have stayed at Wynn twice either in 2023 or 2024 (note that both stays need to be in the same calendar year, one in each year separately will not count). Further, those stays must be non-consecutive (the word on the street is that they must be at least 72 hours apart). Since Wynn is one of the pricier properties on the strip, this is an expensive requirement for a “free” cruise if you wouldn’t have otherwise considered staying at Wynn. You could potentially ease some of the sting by booking your Wynn stays through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, through we don’t yet have a confirmed data point of stays booked through FHR counting for these requirements. I expect it will work, but I don’t know for sure.

Once you have Platinum status and have completed your two Wynn stays in 2024, you’ll need to email Wynn about the cruise. My understanding is that the Wynn Holland America cruise offer gets booked by Wynn Rewards — rather than calling Holland America yourself to book your cruise, Wynn needs to book it for you. That might create more friction on booking this free cruise over others if you don’t have any Wynn casino play (since presumably the Wynn Rewards representative booking for you will be looking at your casino play history). This temporary match hasn’t been on long enough yet for us to know how difficult this may or may not be.

Note that the Holland America cruise from Wynn Platinum must be booked and sailed by January 31, 2025 as that is when Wynn status will expire.

See the section section (“Other matching benefits”) for a further match that can be done in Las Vegas with your Wynn Platinum status. Note also that you may be able to get the free cruise offers with Princess and Holland America by submitting Wynn Platinum status (without a match at Hard Rock). We don’t yet have any data points on this, but since Wynn has rarely ever offered a match, I expect that their Platinum status may be enough to get the Princess and Holland America offers.

Other matching benefits: Free stay at Atlantis, free $100 dinner, and more

Caesars Diamond to free 4-night stay at Atlantis Bahamas

a large building next to a body of water

One of the benefits of Caesars Diamond status is a complimentary stay at Atlantis in the Bahamas. What you get depends on when you go.

First of all, if you go during March, April, or July, you only get a Buy 2 nights, Get 2 nights free deal in The Coral Tower.

If you go during February, June, August, November, or December, you get a complimentary 4-night stay in The Coral Tower and $100 in slot free play. If you go in January, May, September, or October, you get a complimentary 5-night stay in The Coral Tower and $150 in free slot play.

Note that you will still pay the resort fee, which I believe comes to $66 per night. Food on-property is said to be quite expensive, so think of this has a highly discounted stay rather than free, but also much less than the retail price. See this MilesTalk post for more detail.

Caesars Diamond $100 Celebration Dinner

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One of the benefits of Caesars Diamond status is a Diamond “celebration dinner”, which is a $100 dining credit that can be used at select restaurants at Caesars properties.

I’ve both written about this benefit and used it in Las Vegas years ago (See: Caesars Diamond Celebration Dinner: Easy to use and worth the match) and I recently checked up on it in Atlantic City and found that there are quite a few options there for the dinner. My wife and I both have Caesars Diamond status and we were able to verify that we have the Diamond Celebration dinners loaded to our accounts, so at some point we’ll enjoy a nice $200 dinner thanks to Caesars Diamond status.

a display of meat on a display
Steaks at Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas, where we dined for nearly free with our Diamond Celebration dinner years ago.

Note that this works at some Caesars properties outside of Atlantic City and Las Vegas also, so it’s worth looking around if you’ll be visiting another city with a Caesars property.

Note also that there have been several reports in 2024 that you must first earn 100 Caesars Rewards tier credits before being able to use the Diamond celebration dinner. While I had heard similar rumors in previous years, we’ve always been able to use our Caesars Diamond Celebration dinner without having earned any Caesars tier credits. However, Caesars recently updated their program terms and it now explicitly says that those matching from Wyndham Diamond need to earn 100 tier credits in order to qualify for the Caesars Diamond Celebration dinner. Note that if you live in a state with a Caesars online sportsbook, it is possible to earn tier credits through the sportsbook app, though that does require placing bets.

Free nights in Atlantic City

As noted above, the matches outlined from Caesars come with some free night benefits:

  • New Hard Rock Icon members can book a complimentary 2-night stay at Hard Rock Atlantic City pending availability (a report last year indicated that this might also work at Hard Rock Seminole Casino in Florida, but YMMV) that must be booked within 90 days of singing up. Weekends apparently can be available, though you’ll probably need to book far in advance.
  • New Ocean Prime members can book a complimentary 2-night stay at Ocean Casino Resort from Sunday through Thursday (pending availability).

Free nights in Las Vegas

If you have matched to Ocean Prime, you can stay at Resorts World for free.

  • Ocean Prime members can book a complimentary 2-night stay at Resorts World Las Vegas (valid at Hilton Las Vegas or Conrad Las Vegas) with a $100 dining credit and $100 FreePlay credit. I reviewed my experience with this benefit here.

If you only have Caesars Diamond status, it can be worth logging in to your Caesars account to look for hotel room prices at Caesars properties in Las Vegas / Atlantic City. We sometimes see complimentary room offers for close-in bookings (and/or very highly discounted rates). Remember that Caesars Diamond members do not pay resort fees.

Las Vegas match to Fontainebleau Silver or Gold (until June 2, 2024)

Fontainebleau Las Vegas is offering a status match until June 2, 2024. We wrote about this match here.

This match is particularly attractive for those who can get to Las Vegas before May 31st. That’s because through 5/31/24, you can match Caesars Diamond to Wynn Platinum status and then match Wynn Platinum status to Fontainebleau Gold status. Fontainebleau Gold status comes with:

  • $150 dining credit (must be used all at once)
  • $150 spa credit (also must be used at once)
  • Note that both are subject to additional gratuity (the gratuity can not be covered with the credit)

That makes for a really nice deal. Fontainebleau’s spa menu is relatively reasonably-priced, so you should be able to get a massage and potentially an add-on or two for the $150.

Frequently Asked Questions about free cruises from casino status matches

Why do casinos offer matching programs and things like free cruises and stays at other casinos?

a hand holding a pair of cards

Casinos all want to draw in high roller gamblers, so they offer status matches to try to draw high rollers away from competitors in the same way that airlines compete for high-value customers with status matches.

Similarly, cruise lines are after high-rolling gamblers to gamble in their onboard casinos. Offering free cruise benefits to high-tier members of land-based casino loyalty programs increases their odds of drawing in more money in their casinos. Cross-marketing with casinos in other states offers a reason for gamblers to be loyal in their home markets since it will give them a benefit when they inevitably visit Las Vegas.

As is the case with many of the games we play, we can leverage credit cards and loyalty programs to get outsized value. In this case, thanks to the ability to match statuses between casinos, we can appear to be like a high-roller gambler that casinos and cruise lines covet.

Can I use my free cruise offer to book a cruise for someone else?

We’ve had many readers ask whether they can use one of these free cruise matches to book a cruise for their parents / siblings / friends, etc. The answer is no. Consider the previous question about why cruise lines offer these free cruises: the cruise line casino is not in the business of giving away free cruises, they are in the business of attracting gamblers that they think will lose more in the casino than the cost of the cruise. Because you have casino elite status, they think you are that type of gambler, so they are offering you a free cruise, not your mother/sister/cousin/aunt/etc. That said, if your mother/sister/cousin/aunt would like to cruise for free, send them this post and they can follow the steps to get a free cruise offer, too! We’ve helped family members follow the steps in this post for family trips.

Can a couple both follow these steps together?

Yes! My wife and I have both done nearly all of the matches in this post and doubled our free cruise offers (in one case, we both booked cabins on the same cruise to avoid paying extra for our kids — we simply made one the second passenger in my cabin and the other the second passenger in my wife’s cabin.

It is entirely possible for both partners to each get a Wyndham Earner Business credit card and complete the matching in this post. However, note that it will be much harder or maybe not possible to get complimentary cruise offers if you have cruised recently and not gambled much.

Therefore, I strongly advise that both partners complete the match sequence at the same time. If you complete the matches and both sail together under the free cruise offers for Player 1 before Player 2 submits match requests, it is unlikely that Player 2 will receive free cruise offers since they will have recently cruised with each of the cruise lines. Instead, both partners should get the Wyndham Earner Business credit card and submit for all of the matches before cruising.

Note that Carnival, Holland America, and Princess are all under the same ownership, so once you cruise with Carnival you may not be able to get an offer from Holland America (assuming that you didn’t gamble much), so get your Holland America and Princess matches in before you cruise with Carnival and vice versa.

The Ocean Prime MSC offer is an exception here in that the complimentary MSC cruise is simply a benefit of Ocean Prime status that can be repeated if you get Ocean Prime status again and/or you will still get that benefit even if you have recently sailed with MSC.

How much do the free cruises cost?

In summary, here’s what you’ll pay for the “free” cruises covered in this post:

  • Carnival (balcony cabin): $100 deposit per passenger + port taxes (varies from less than $100 to hundreds) + daily gratuities (figure on around $15 per day). You’ll get back $100 per passenger up to $200 as onboard credit and/or free play. Beyond two passengers, you’ll pay around $279 per additional passenger (plus port taxes and gratuities.
  • Holland America (interior cabin): $100 deposit per passenger + port taxes (varies from less than $100 to hundreds) + daily gratuities (figure on around $15 per day). You’ll get back $100 per passenger up to $200 as onboard credit and/or free play. Beyond two passengers, you’ll pay around $279 per additional passenger (plus port taxes and gratuities. It is possible to upgrade to a balcony for around $800 (give or take depending on your itinerary).
  • Princess Cruises (possible balcony cabin): $100 deposit per passenger + port taxes (varies from less than $100 to hundreds) + daily gratuities (figure on around $15 per day). You’ll get back $100 per passenger up to $200 as onboard credit and/or free play. Beyond two passengers, you’ll pay around $279 per additional passenger (plus port taxes and gratuities.
  • MSC (ocean view cabin): $400 deposit that you get back as a $400 onboard credit + gratuities (around $10-$15 per day per adult or about half that per child). No port taxes on the MSC cruises. Note that it is possible to pay a fee to upgrade to a balcony cabin (I recall around $850) or even to Yacht Club (I’ve heard of rates around $1500 for this, but YMMV).

Can I match status online?

You can match Wyndham Rewards Diamond to Caesars Diamond online and you can then submit online for the Carnival offer online. You may be able to submit your Carnival balcony offer to Princess and Holland America and get free cruise offers from them. Otherwise, you’ll need to travel to Atlantic City or Las Vegas for in-person matches for the other opportunities noted in this post.

Do I have to pay gratuities?

Gratuities are not included in any of the cruise match offers. Some readers have reported that it is possible to reduce or remove gratuities onboard, but I haven’t and wouldn’t ask for that since I think it is reasonable to pay gratuities.

Can I cash out the onboard credit?

Strictly speaking, the onboard credit you receive with some of the offers mentioned in this post is not refundable. If you didn’t use the credit, you would expect to lose it.

That said, I’ve had good luck using my onboard credit in the casino by going to a slot machine and charging that load to my room folio. While some cruise lines add a 3-5% fee to get chips at a table game and charge it to your room, I have not yet seen any such fee when loading a slot machine and charging it to my cabin. There is no minimum amount of time to play the machines before you decide to cash out whatever you have loaded.

Will I be pressured to gamble?

Not at all. Obviously the cruise line hopes that you gamble, but I haven’t been pressured at all by anyone with any of the cruise lines or questioned about why I wasn’t gambling more. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I wouldn’t think that anyone on board knew that I was there on a complimentary casino offer.

If you have a gambling problem, you naturally may be tempted with a casino on board (and with the casino matching necessary), so consider that and avoid this while process if you are likely to gamble heavily.

How much do I need to gamble to get more free cruise offers?

The answer to this question likely varies considerably from one cruise line to another and I don’t know any magic numbers here.

On my Carnival cruise, I probably played 2-3 hours of table games at a sitting (like Blackjack, Let It Ride, or Ultimate Texas Hold ’em) gambling around $10 per hand (maybe $12 or $15 per hand at times when I was winning) and I played several of the nights on my cruise (I can’t recall exactly how many). I continue to get free offers, but typically only for interior cabins (though my recent offers have been to book complimentary interior cabins on up to 3 separate cruises).

I haven’t continued to receive free offers from other cruise lines (with similar play), though I have received discounted offers from Holland America. MSC sends some discounted cruise offers, but it is unclear to me which offers are targeted and how they compare to public offers. Royal Caribbean has sent me offers that seem similar to public ones (they no longer have a free cruise match as theirs expired in early 2023 and they haven’t brought it back).

Bottom line

This resource is obviously very long, but this illustrates why I love this game: if you learn how to play it, you can vacation like a high-roller for very low-roller stakes. The current matching opportunities make for a boatload (or several boatloads) of free nights in casino hotels and on cruise lines. The average person would be hard-pressed to find the vacation time to accommodate all of the free matching offers that can sprout from a single $95 credit card, though note that in some cases you may be able to book further out (the Carnival offer, for example, was good for cruises about a year out in my experience). If you are retired or work from home and you’re playing the game in 2-player mode, imagine doubling everything in this post. While I don’t know that I’ll love every free stay or cruise, that’s a double-down that I can get behind.

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[…] banned by Barclays, this could be a reasonable cost for a shot at many free cruises (see the FM post from Nick for more info. All information about the Wyndham Earner Business Card was collected independently […]

steve

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Roy Coy

Will this work if you have the Diamond “companion” card from Caesars?

Roy Coy

Can you take both the $500 offer and the free balcony room offer from Carnival? Or is it only one or the other?

Eric

Would this be possible with the casinos in New Orleans and Biloxi?

Henry Sebastian

How do i book for complimentary 2-night stay at Hard Rock Atlantic City?

Ben

I’m wondering the same.

Julius Fisher

For those that have concerns, I had Hard Rock Star status already in Florida and I was able to match Caesar’s Diamond to Hard Rock Icon in Atlantic City with no problems. Then was able to match to Ocean Prime, also no problems.

Last edited 1 month ago by Julius Fisher
Debora

I tried matching my Caesars Diamond to Holland, Carnival and Princess about 2 months ago. Carnival has not offered anything free and the other 2 asked for proof of a comped offer, as many have shared here.

My question is, I am finally gping to AC in a few days, once I do the matches should I:

1)Submit my cards again with the three lines (through the links of status match)?
2) Send my new cards by replying the emails I got from the cruise lines asking for more proof ?
3) Wait until I have the free cruise offer and then send that one to the other cruises companies?

Thanks for the guidance 🙂

Michael Fleming

So…are we going to ignore the elephant in the room…

To wit: how I – and MANY others – got our identities STOLEN thanks to the sheer ineptitude of Caesars and MGM…based on the “advice” peddled here???

THANKS. SOOOOO. MUCH.

carver

This is a really dumb comment. If a friend told you to sign up for a Marriott account, and Marriott had a data breach, a normal person would blame Marriott, not their friend.

Typing in all caps and using excessive punctuation make you look even more dumb.

JohnB

I have frequent player cards with both Caesars and MGM, for over 30 years. I had zero issues with my identity/credit from either casino chain. Both of them offered identity monitoring packages for free anyways. Maybe, you should research how to protect your credit from identity theft. It isn’t hard to do.

dee

I am not sure how easy it is to get Caesars Diamond status to start all of this????

Duane
dee

thank you

Chopsticks

Three weeks ago, I signed my wife up for the Carnival casino program with the Caesars match. So far, she’s only gotten tepid offers — no free cruises. Previously, I did the same for myself, but had to edit my profile to put in my nationality before the “good” offers rolled in. My wife’s profile seems correct, but no free cruises. How long do you have to wait these days for the better offers? And if they don’t start coming, can you call Carnival and ask for them?

Pablo

After the status match request, did you get any confirmation? I got this email: As a Caesar’s Diamond member, we will require additional support for further evaluation. Please provide us with a casino offer providing your Diamond status with Caesars and/or any additional loyalty status at another land-based or cruise line casino property.

Chopsticks

She just got a “Welcome to the Player’s Club” email, and has received periodic further emails from them. But the deals are of the “$500 off” and some casino play credits — not free cruises. I remember that’s what I also initially received, but then I fixed my missing nationality ID in my profile and the free cruise offers started rolling in. Her nationality is already set. Maybe she just needs to wait a bit longer? I have no idea.

Roxanne

Takes about a month to get the offer. You get $500 then $5000 then the next day the free balcony. That is the pattern. If you never get the initial $500 offer, you will never get anything unfortunately is what I have seen from people I know.

iahphx

Thanks. She got the $500 off offer. It’s been slightly less than 4 weeks. Hopefully, her ship will soon come in!

Dillon W

Thanks Roxanne. I just go the $5,000 offer today, so hopefully tomorrow I get the free balcony…

Dillon W

I got the free balcony offer and I searched online and couldnt find any balcony options available. I called and the carnival rep found multiple for me to choose from.

Travelbug

What is the book by or cruise by date? Any restrictions on how many days or destination? I have not submitted to Carnival yet. I have Holland offer which I plan to book 14 days Northern European cruise in September. I don’t think I can take another cruise this year.

Dillon W

I can’t make it to AC right now. Will any other Hard Rock Casinos do the match from Caesars Diamond? I live in Kansas City and I see one in Tulsa Oklahoma and Gary Indiana. I can call them but I thought someone here might know…

JohnB

Currently only Vegas and Atlantic City are doing the matches. You really have to start with Wyndham Business Earner CC. You can match that to Caesars Diamond on-line.

Dillon W

I heard that any Hard Rock Casino will do this. I have the Wyndham Business Earner CC and have matched to Caesers Diamond already. I have submitted the fun match to Carnival and am waiting on Carnival offer…

Julius Fisher

Will Hard Rock Atlantic City still match my Caesars Diamond if I have star status with Hard Rock already

steve

I tried to do a match status by going to the Caesars casino in Illinois, where I printed off my diamond Caesars card at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin Illinois, which is under the Caesars brand. I then took my diamond caesars card to the Hard Rock casino in Rockford Illinois where they did NOT give me the higher status, so no, I don’t think it will work to match at any other casino other than Atlantic City. So I flew out to Atlantic City, and instead of showing them my driver’s license for a new card I showed them my passport and told them I just wanted them to open up a new account as I didn’t have the information on my other one. Did a status match at Atlantic City Hard Rock to the correct status. Then I went over to Oceans and got the match there. I called about 17 days after my trip and was able to book a cruise for June 7th in Europe 🙂 So hopefully I will be able to double dip as I matched around April 1st. By the way, I never got anything from Hard rock as far as free night offers. Is there somewhere in particular I should look for this?

Mike

On an MSC free cruise right now and was just charged $160 for 10 nights. So it looks like it’s $16/day now. They also counted my 12 year old as an adult and my 11 year old as a child ($8/day)

Thomas

Would I need to get two Wyndham business earner cards if it is just me and my wife?

Brendan

You can link / share MGM status with a spouse, so if you get Gold there she might be able to use it and match it to get a lot of the same statuses and cruises