Carnival’s VIFP Loyalty Club Changes (2024)

On March 21, 2024, Carnival Brand ambassador John Heald once again teased big changes coming to Carnival’s VIFP Loyalty Club. The loyalty club is Carnival’s way of recognizing and rewarding each Very Important Fun Person (VIFP) that sails with the cruise line. It’s been around in current state since 2012-2013 with few updates – and it’s become clear that changes are needed.

Carnival's VIFP Loyalty Club Changes (2024)

What does it take to earn status in the current VIFP Club?

Carnival’s VIFP Club is made up of 5 tiers. As a first-time cruiser, you’re in the Blue Tier. By your second cruise, you’ve already moved up in the club to the Red Tier. From here, the VIFP Club changes from number of cruises to number of nights. The Gold Tier is not far off from the Red Tier at only 25 nights. Then, the big jump happens: the fourth level in the club (Platinum Tier), requires 75 nights. Finally, and this one’s a whopper, to reach the top-level of the club – Diamond Tier – you need to sail 200 nights on Carnival Cruise Lines.

The table below summarizes each what you need for each tier:

VIFP Club TierNumber of Nights
BlueN/A – First-time cruiser
RedN/A – Second cruise on Carnival
Gold25 Nights
Platinum75 Nights
Diamond200 Nights

Why change is necessary – and probably overdue

John Heald shared today that, “there is no doubt it needs a massive refresh” while speaking about impending changes. And while 75 and 200 nights may seem like a lot to some, the reality is the program has become overcrowded. When they give out the award for Youngest Cruiser at the Platinum and Diamond Party, it regularly goes to someone under the age of 10. In fact, we recently sailed with a Diamond cruiser that was just four years old.

More and more, we’ve seen Carnival limit the benefits to Platinum and Diamond cruisers as the cruise operator struggles to deliver based on the number of loyal cruisers on board. It’s really apparent with new ship launches, Journeys Cruises, and unique sailings, however, even on standard sailings, the Platinum/Diamond line for guest services sometimes is just as long as the standard line.

If you still wonder if change is needed or not – just read through any one of the many VIFP groups or message boards out there. Loyal cruisers have been requesting change for some time, and those voices are getting louder. For example, in today’s program there is very little to differentiate between Platinum and Diamond Tiers. Then, once you get to the top tier, there’s not a lot of incentive to keep you coming back. Sure, the free laundry is definitely a nice perk, but take a look at some of the top-tier benefits on the other cruise lines and you’ll begin to see why people are looking for change.

Carnival’s VIFP Loyalty Club Changes (2024)

While we don’t have the specifics yet about what will change, we know that Carnival will target the overcrowding that leads loyal cruisers feeling not very “important.” As Delta execs famously said last year, when everyone has status, no one has status. This could mean the number of nights to reach a specific tier becomes larger, or, it could signal an overhaul of the tier system altogether.

Could we see new tiers introduced? A lot of cruisers ask for a level between Platinum and Diamond to help bridge the gap. However, what we’d most like to see is maybe a Double Diamond or Triple Diamond Level to really differentiate, recognize, and reward the most loyal cruisers to the line (free WiFi each sailing perhaps?).

What’s likely not to change, however, is how they measure the program in number of nights. With that said, there is some chatter that Carnival could add cruiser spend into the calculation, in addition to nights. For example, those who book a suite accommodation or spend more on board could get more VIFP points for a given sailing. Whether or not one believes $$$ equals loyalty is likely irrelevant to Carnival as they look to bring in as much income as they can to pay down debt taken on during the pandemic.

We also hope they keep the Diamond Lunch! 😉

When will VIFP Club changes roll out?

Today is the third time Heald has referenced changes to the program. It’s also the third timeframe he’s shared for when changes would roll out. Originally, changes were set to roll out in the spring of 2024. In a future update, that got moved to end of summer. But that, too, was short lived. In today’s live stream, Heald shared that we would see a new program before the end of the year.

We’re hopeful these changes reflect wanting to get the program right the first time. I’m sure they’re taking a lesson from the backlash against Delta Airlines received when they overhauled their status program. We’re ok with the cruise line taking a little extra time to make sure they get it right.

VIFP Club Grandfathering

There’s almost as much speculation about what happens to existing VIFP Club members as there is about changes to the program! When Carnival announced changes to the VIFP Club in 2012, they gave cruisers until the end of 2013 to achieve status within the then current framework.

Cruisers who sailed more than 10 cruises by December 31, 2013 became Platinum in the new Club whereas guests who were previously Platinum became Diamond! As for the rest:

“All guests who sailed with Carnival fewer than 10 times were placed in the level that corresponds with their VIFP Points (i.e., cruise days). Guests with fewer than 25 VIFP Points were placed in the new Red level. Those who have earned 25-74 VIFP Points were placed in the Gold level.”

Will Carnival grandfather once again? Will the cruise operator give those working on the next level time to get there? What about those cruisers that have cruise days that far surpass the Diamond Tier 200 night requirement, will they recognize their tremendous status?

Lots of questions, but very few answers. We’ll be waiting and watching.

What do you think?

Are you ready for Carnival to change the program? We’d love to hear what you’d want to see in the new VIFP Club. Be sure to leave a comment below.

21 thoughts on “Carnival’s VIFP Loyalty Club Changes (2024)”

  1. I hope they gandfather everyone in it has taken me 10 years to reach the diamond status. Seems unfair to reward more expnsive rooms.. It creates a class system, much that you see on the Celebrity cruise line. You get 2 credits per night for inside/oceanview, 4 for veranda and 25 for a suite in thier “retreat”. You can go on just a “few” retreat sailings and achieve the Zenith status whereas if you just do inside/ocean/verandas it would take many years…WHO IS MORE LOYAL?, the “richest” or the ones that continuously come back?

    1. The last time they gave folks a grace period to achieve whatever level they were working on. We don’t know if that will happen again, but I’d imagine they’d want to give loyal guests that opportunity. In terms of benefits… I do think there will be changes to tiers/benefits provided. They currently can’t even honor the existing levels (Journey Cruises, Inaugurals, etc.) and so they’ve got to do something to address the ballooning of the system. In terms of how to earn points… most loyalty programs out there are related to dollars spent, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Carnival moved in that direction. At the end of the day, Carnival is a for-profit company; with that in mind, if someone spends 15x more than we do in our interior cabin, I do think the cruise line likely should provide that individual with additional perks/rewards. Yes, they may only have one cruise under their belt versus my 50+, but their financial “loyalty” would be worth a lot to any business. Will continue to post updates as we learn more about the changes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! -Mark

  2. My wife and I are very loyal to Carnival, in fact we have 4 cruises scheduled in the next year and a half. We have been scheduling cruises to reach diamond status for years. So, we are hoping that nothing changes to prevent us reaching this status by the end of these 4 cruises, or we get grandfathered in.

    1. Sounds like you’ve reached the wonderful stage of Platinum with the awesome perk of free laundry!! And it also sounds like Diamond is well within reach. 🙂 Last time Carnival made the change, they gave cruisers time to reach the next level. I’ll be curious if they do the same this time. Thanks for your comment! -Mark

  3. My husband and I have been working hard to reach the diamond tier. We took 5 cruises in 2023 and have 6 this year (2024). We already have 2 scheduled for next year (2025) and in February 2025 we will reach the Diamond level. I would surely hope Carnival would not change the rules for those who already have the required number of days scheduled.

    1. Wow! It sounds like you’ve got quite a bit of FUN planned the next year and a half; hopefully we’ll see you on a future cruise! 🙂 The last time they did this, they had a grandfather period, so hopefully they will do that again. With that said, we don’t even know what the levels will be as John Heald shared the program needs a massive update to better recognize and reward. Fingers crossed for all of us. I’m about to hit Double Diamond myself; hoping for free wifi! 😉 -Mark

  4. Will this affect picking times for arrival and departure? We’re on Sept 8 to Greenland ? We are platinum

    1. Hey there! According to John Heald, we shouldn’t expect updates about the program until the end of the year, so your September trip shouldn’t be impacted. With that said, due to the high number of Platinum and Diamond guests likely to be on board, there may be a reduction in services available (e.g., priority boarding, priority debarkation). We’ve experienced this a number of times on sailings like inaugurals, Journeys cruises, unique destinations. Have so much fun and enjoy Greenland! -mark

  5. I’m 11 days from Diamond, not including the cruises I had already taken or planned to take this year. After his announcement I went ahead and booked the needed 11 days to be safe.

    1. I mean, I think that’s a win-win situation for you!! Congratulations no your impending Diamond status – and on your additional cruise days to make sure you reach it! 🙂 -Mark

  6. By the end of 2025 we will have 30 to go for Diamond. We also noticed that RCB will all status to transfer to other brands under RCB starting shortly. Would like to be able to do same under Princess.

    1. Getting close to that Diamond white card; congratulations!!

      In terms of status matching across Carnival Corp. Brands… We’re curious how they’ll respond to Royal Caribbean Group’s enhanced Loyalty Status Match Program (if at all). We’ve always thought it would be nice to have our status recognized across the brands. Like Royal Caribbean Group, we realize it wouldn’t be a one-to-one match as the price points and ability to reach status on each of the brands differs. But even just general recognition of the brand’s most loyal consumers would be nice!

  7. What’s this about removing the $25 play in the casino? With that gone, there’s little left to benefit cruisers in that group. My last cruise, they didn’t honor platinum for priority perks, so now besides water, what’s left? Why bother?

    1. Yes! I just tweeted about this last week. It’s very disappointing. Another perk that we actually valued is just instantly gone. Poof. And, because we enjoy Journeys cruises and specialty sailings like inaugurals, more often than not we get the letter about Platinum and Diamond priority embark/debark not being valid for the sailing. For us, it leaves free laundry (a perk we love and would likely jump ship if others offered it!), a bottle of water, and our favorite Diamond Brunch.

      Oh, and I can’t forget the “free drink” we MUST use at Sea Day Brunch on the final day. From Carnival’s VIFP Perks page: “Redeemable in the dining room on the last day of the cruise; On ships where brunch is not available, a complimentary beverage will be offered at breakfast or lunch in Main Dining Room.” Just book 75 or 200 nights to get a $9 voucher that can only be used at a very specific time. Really silly. 😉 -mark

  8. All loyalty programs change, and usually devalued benefits are the result. Carnival’s problem with being unable to give platinum and diamond members their earned benefits has little to do with their being too many platinum and diamond members and much more to do with them selling those benefits to anyone that is willing to pay $50 for the fastest to the fun program. If they stopped selling the fastest to the fun (priority boarding, early access to their room, the platinum and diamond line at guest services) they wouldn’t have a problem providing those services to their loyal customers. Since they started selling FTTF, it sells out every cruise, earning Carnival extra revenue at the cost of their loyal base. Now Carnival has an income stream they don’t want to lose. They also know they have overpopulated the services. It seems that they want to keep making money off FTTF, so now they revamp (devalue) their loyalty program saying it is too popular. Just a thought, if it’s popular and bringing people back time after time, why do you want to change it?

    1. Unfortunately, I wish it were going to be that easy. Little known fact: The cruise line doesn’t offer Faster To The Fun on Journeys cruises or within the first 90 days of a new ship due to the number of Platinum and Diamonds on those unique sailings. It’s these cruises that Carnival sends the letter saying they can’t honor the benefits. On non-specialty cruises, we’ve never had them “take away” benefits thankfully. I do worry, however, that with the continued increase in cruisers, it’ll eventually reach those as well. FTTF could still be a viable solution, however, Carnival would need to be willing to invest in additional crew to support that added revenue stream. Not sure they’re interesting in spending money to make money, however. 😉

      1. I was just on a cruise, 7 nights on an older ship. As far as early access to cabins, it was even printed on my boarding pass, Access to cabins will be at 1:30PM, even for platinum and diamond members.
        If the problem was only on Journey cruises or new ship cruises, they could simply minimize benefits for those cruises (easy fix), that would be acceptable and understandable. Unfortunately, it seems that there is going to be a mass overhaul of benefits, and if they follow the airlines direction, which is a tragic possibility… they will add a higher level say ultra diamond for example. That level will mostly get the benefits that diamond gets now. They will reduce diamond benefits to current Platinum benefits and current platinum members will get what is currently gold benefits. Money spent will determine the number of points you earn rather than days traveled.
        We have seen each airline change in this way one by one over the last 10 years. Each time there is a benefits overhaul, it is always a reduction in benefits or it’s more costly to obtain levels or both. I have enjoyed Carnival cruises over the years. I have enjoyed the benefits as well. It’s unlikely to change how many cruises I go on, almost no matter what they do short of dissolving the program, but it will make me feel less satisfied with Carnival if they reduce the benefits that we have grown to love.

        1. Indeed, the “early access” cabin benefit was killed with COVID and I don’t see them bringing that back ever again, unfortunately. With Carnival increasing the number of rooms each steward is responsible for, while eliminating several housekeeping positions, the team has to work much harder and it’s just not possible to have rooms ready early. What’s been removed from Journeys cruises is Priority Check-In, Priority Lounges, Priority Water Shuttle, Priority Debark. Laundry is still there which I very much appreciate.

          In terms of the overhaul, there’s more and more noise that Carnival is looking at the airline model that you mention where there could be a scenario that you have to “earn” your status again and again. This would be a dramatic shift and I don’t know how they’d do it without alienating a bunch of folks, but it’s certainly one possible scenario. And it will likely be a combination of points and dollars spent that will earn you “loyalty” going forward, similar to the airline model. Interior cabins will earn the least whereas Suites will earn the most “loyalty” points.

          Time will tell what are just rumors versus reality. We are watching and listening every day!! -Mark

          1. I am also diamond with MSC, they require you to cruise 1 time every 3 years to retain status. That would be acceptable. However, If they completely follow the airlines model and set your points back to zero every year, (putting you back to red from diamond on January 1st like the airlines do) that would be the same as deleting the program for me. I can’t imagine the backlash on that idea. I think Carnival would lose a lot of frequent cruisers. If they do that, I will guess a lot of Carnival Diamonds will status match to MSC diamond before they were reverted back to Carnival Red.

  9. I would like to see another tier for the cruisers with over a certain number of days. The issue is many diamonds now have over 700 days. Some have over 2000 days. We should have a new level for our loyalty. With this new level free internet should be provided. Excuse me I just woke up from dreaming

    1. I’m right there with you! I dreamt of a a couple new top-tier levels where you get to “pick your perk.” At 500 nights, you get to choose between WiFi, free shore excursion, or something of similar value. At X nights, you get to pick 2 and at Y nights you get to pick all 3 (where X and Y are based on current VIFP volume levels). The reason I don’t think Carnival will do this, however, is that if you have 500+ nights with the brand, they know you’re already hooked. If you’re Carnival Finance Reps, why give up perks unnecessarily when someone is going to sail anyway! Something needs to change, however, as they can’t keep up with current levels. Super curious to see what’s ahead!! -Mark

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