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Regular Contributor

Be Wary of Royal Caribbean Virtual Gift Cards Purchased through AARP

After several attempts to pay for my upcoming cruise using Royal Caribbean virtual gift cards purchased through AARP, they keep getting rejected as "invalid." I followed all the procedures for submitting them to Royal as shown on the certificates and they keep getting rejected such that they will not pay for my upcoming cruise. I spent more time on the phone with Royal today and they told me to check back in another 3 - 5 days as their team works on the problem. My advice to anyone thinking they may save a few bucks by purchasing the discounted gift cards is to think twice about it as you may just be out several hundred dollars as well as wasted time on the phone with nothing to show for it. Just be wary of purchasing the Royal Caribbean virtual gift cards through AARP as they may end up showing up as "invalid" after you have already paid for them.

Regular Contributor

My problem with the Royal Caribbean gift cards has now been resolved. Their value of $600 has been applied to my cruise reservation today, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. However, I don't intend to purchase anymore of the Royal Caribbean virtual gift cards. The process for redeeming them is too burdensome on the purchaser. Even when you follow all the steps exactly, all the work that is necessary to have them applied is hardly worth the effort it takes. This process should be streamlined if AARP really wants to benefit their retired members.

Thanks for all the discussion that this matter generated. However, the purchase was made in good faith as instructed on the site. The redeeming process is to blame and not the fault of the purchaser who happens to use a credit card to purchase the virtual gift cards. It is customary and the usual practice to use a credit card for any internet purchase.

Contributor

I made the mistake of buying the Royal gift card, believing it would be as easy to redeem as Carnival. Boy was I wrong, what a headache trying to navigate all the ridiculous rules and procedures for redemption. 

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Regular Contributor

As the original poster of this particular topic, I feel your pain. I do want you to know that I did eventually get credit for them to pay for my cruise. Good luck to you!

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Honored Social Butterfly

Bon Voyage!!

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Regular Contributor

Thank you!

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Conversationalist

I am glad you were able to solve the problem.

Regular Contributor

Me too! Thank you.

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Community Concierge

@cm7407640 Thank you for letting us know. The Royal Caribbean gift card can only be applied to a new individual reservation; it sounds like you may be trying to apply it to an existing reservation. Check out the terms & conditions for those cards below:

 

Gift Certificate must be redeemed through Royal Caribbean International for the US dollar value as outlined on the face of the certificate.

1. Certificate must be used as a form of payment towards a new reservation made directly with Royal Caribbean. Once the gift certificate is applied to the reservation made, the reservation may be transferred to your preferred travel agency.

2. Certificate is valid only for Royal Caribbean International sailings in USD and is not redeemable for cash. It may be applied to all ships, departures and stateroom categories.

3. Certificate can only be applied to a NEW individual reservation in USD.

4. Certificate may not be applied to a group reservation, charter or customized group program.

5. Certificate may not be used towards onboard credit or to settle any shipboard charges.

6. A deposit is required at the time of booking.

7. Certificates may be used in multiples and may be used to supplement cash payment or credit card.

8. All reservations are subject to availability.

9. Once a reservation has been made with a Certificate, normal cancellation policy, schedules for deposit and final payments shall apply.

10. Changes to the reservation may be permitted, subject to availability.

11. Certificate is transferable only when gifted and bears no expiration date.

12. Certificate is nonrefundable and not replaceable whether lost, stolen or if booking is cancelled.

13. Certificate shall be void where prohibited or restricted by law and if sold for cash or other consideration.

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Regular Contributor

As of today, Friday, June 24, 2022, the representative with Royal Caribbean says progress has been made to apply virtual gift cards to my upcoming cruise. In the latest call, I was told they were applied on Thursday, June 23, but to wait 7 - 10 more days to see them show up on my cruise reservation. Even if these end up working, there is still a problem on how long this takes to get these virtual gift cards purchased through AARP to be applied to a Royal Caribbean reservation. It has now been 18 business days since Royal Caribbean said they received the cards by email and that they would be applied in 7 - 10 days. Now, I am supposed to wait even longer. The final payment is due July 8. My partner is scheduled for outpatient surgery on July 7 for which I will have to drive him to and from the hospital. I will be l leaving on another cruise on July 8. I won't have time to mess with this if processing takes any longer. This should have been wrapped up long ago. This is giving AARP and Royal Caribbean both a bad name as far as these virtual gift cards go. They definitely need some improvements. It shouldn't be this hard to use them!

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Newbie

I had the same problem, I should have never purchased it.  AARP should not be selling them.  Royal Caribbean will not honor my gift card, and it is a new booking.  I followed directions as stated in Terms and Conditions.  Now I wasted money and have a useless gift card.

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Regular Contributor

Please see my latest reply above for the latest status of my virtual gift card purchase. Please keep trying to get your virtual gift cards applied. Royal Caribbean is now saying they are processing the payment for my cruise using the virtual gift cards as of yesterday, June 23. I wish you good luck with all this. I know what a pain it has been trying to save some money!

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Regular Contributor

So sorry you have had the same problem. AARP should not be selling such worthless cards to their members on their site. Since it has happened to both of us, it shows AARP is the source of the problem and it is not the purchasers!

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Periodic Contributor

AARP probably did not know until you and others let them know.  I have always found AARP willing to help solve a situation of one kind or another.  Things happen.  I feel your frustration.

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Regular Contributor

Thank you for your comments. If AARP did anything to help resolve this, they did it in the background. I was on my own as far as I know. AARP never offered to help me find a solution or help resolve the situation except to comment that I must have submitted the Royal Caribbean virtual gift cards for payment in error.

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Conversationalist

Hopefully those gift cards were bought with a credit card. Which gives you more power to protest and not pay at all.

My main problem with AARP is that they do not stand by the products they sell. 

 

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Regular Contributor

I did buy the virtual gift cards with a credit card. However, that $540 charge to the credit card company is already paid off. I was not expecting there to be a problem with use of the virtual gift cards as Royal Caribbean gave me the impression that it was only a temporary glitch.

Honored Social Butterfly


@cm7407640 wrote:

I did buy the virtual gift cards with a credit card. However, that $540 charge to the credit card company is already paid off. I was not expecting there to be a problem with use of the virtual gift cards as Royal Caribbean gave me the impression that it was only a temporary glitch.


I think this may be the problem - at least the immediate one.  As @170938b said below, there is a 60-day period to which you can dispute a charge - 

Has it been over 60-days since you purchased the virtual travel cards with your credit card?  It does not matter whether or not you have paid the specific charge - you could still dispute it for the legally stated time - This is covered in Regulation Z - Truth in Lending.

OCC.gov Help with My Bank - Credit Cards - Disputes & Unauthorized Charges

It could be that AARP doesn't activate the gift cards until this period is over - thus the request for the email copies - so Royal can follow the activation or whomever was the issuer of the gift cards (actually they are debit cards - per the link below)  - could be also be Expedia or Tango cards or even Bancorp Bank - since I don't know who issued them.  

AARP Travel Savings, Discounts and Offers - Disclosure

I am pretty sure that this is a processing problem - and I am sure you understand how this problem could happen.  I mean none of parties want to get stuck trying to collect on a virtual travel card that has been secured by a credit card that the person receiving it can dispute - so it seems that they (whomever they may be) may not activate the cards until the credit card funds cannot be reversed in a dispute.  

But on the other hand, your query to AARP CS should be followed up and the process explained to you.  Seems they are lacking in basic knowledge of their programs and benefits - 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Conversationalist

 "so it seems that they (whomever they may be) may not activate the cards until the credit card funds cannot be reversed in a dispute." 

I think this type of practice could be considered a scam. 

@AARPJanelleM please kindly look into this possibility and let us know the result of your inquiry. 

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Honored Social Butterfly

 


@a170938b wrote:

I think this type of practice could be considered a scam. 


This doesn't sound like a scam to me - it just seems like a processing procedure that all the parties may not be aware of when using these type gift card which they purchased with their credit card. 

Heck, who even knows what these cards are actual process as - gift card? - travel card?  Are they a retailer's card or a retailer branded VISA/MC/AE labeled ???? card - all that makes a difference in the processing and rules of use.


It is hard to determine because it also depends largely on the Card issuer and their policiies on gift card purchases.  Again who is the issuer of the egift card?  

Some Credit Card issuers will process gift card purchases with their card as a "cash advance" transaction thus there is no customer dispute time period at all.  That could be the case here but it doesn't sound like it because of the delay in affirming the gift card amount.

 

All I know is this sounds very much like a processing procedure and if so, the consumer needs to be aware of it so they can make their best decision in how to pay for the gift cards especially if time is of essence. 

 

As I have said, I don't have privy to the detailed info on any side of it - not the credit card policy of the person using it to pay for the egift card purchase and not how such a purchase is categorized, nor the classification of these type of virtual gift card for travel by the credit card company nor the egift card retailer.

 

It is always best to always read the small mice print.  In this situation, one has to figure out who might be controlling the process and what their mice print might say -  AARP ?  Royal?  The CC company on which the egift card purchase was made.   

 

There is also a difference in "open loop gift cards" and "closed loop gift cards".  Most likely these are "closed loop gift cards" - but there are so many possible go-betweens, it is hard to tell -

American Express.com 12/20/2019 - Can You Buy Gift Cards with a Credit Card?

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Conversationalist

You wrote earlier:  "so it seems that they (whomever they may be) may not activate the cards until the credit card funds cannot be reversed in a dispute." 

If this is true. it looks like a way of tricking people. Maybe scam is not the right word. But as said, if this happens at any level, it is a trick to negate credit card protection. How would you call such an intentional administrative processing procedure?

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Honored Social Butterfly

@a170938b 

Think about it - the "trickiness" could flow both ways.

1st I am only guessing here since I don't have access to all the details but because the purchaser in this case used a credit card to purchase the ecards rather than a debit card or bank account ACH there is that 60 day time limit where they could dispute the CC purchased depending on the terms of their credit card.  

IF this is the processing delay of the ecard problem, then that needs to be detailed in the disclosure when the purchase of the ecard is made as a possible outcome of using the credit card rather than a debit card or bank ACH.  

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Regular Contributor

Thanks for your reply. I called Royal Caribbean this morning, Friday, June 24. They said they applied the virtual gift cards to my reservation yesterday, but it would take 7 - 10 days more before it would show up on my reservation. It has been 18 business days since I was notified that they had received the cards by email. That is way over the amount of time that it should have taken the "cards" should have been activated. There is no indication anywhere of who actually issues the cards, so don't know that for sure. Following is a link to where the cards are available for purchase. AARP Rewards: Members Only Rewards

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Honored Social Butterfly

Since I am not a member, I can't access the details.  

What date did you use your credit card to purchase the virtual cards?  Has it been over the number of days (60 days from when it appeared on your CC statement) where you could do a chargeback?  I am pretty sure that this problem has to do with the processing and how you paid for the vitual cards initially.  

That's what the AARP CS folks need to find out - would the virtual cards have performed better for you if say, you had used a debit card or if it came directly out of your bank account?  If so, perhaps they need to disclose this in the routine of purchasing them.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Conversationalist

There is usually a 60 days period during which you can protest.

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Regular Contributor

If it comes to that, I will certainly dispute the charges with the credit card company.

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Regular Contributor

I was applying it to a brand new reservation as instructed on the virtual gift card instructions from day one. I made the reservation online and paid the deposit just as the instructions state. I then emailed a copy of the gift cards (one for $100 and one for $500) to pay for the remaining balance. This has been nothing but a problem ever since. They are not working! 

Honored Social Butterfly


@cm7407640 wrote:

 I then emailed a copy of the gift cards (one for $100 and one for $500) to pay for the remaining balance.


Never heard of that process before - 

That's how they told you to use the gift cards?  Inserting the unique number(s) of the cards when you put in your deposit amount would have been the better way.

Bu emailing a copy of the gift cards - anybody could use them - did you send front and back ?

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Regular Contributor

That is not what the instructions said to do. That probably would probably be a better process, however. I followed the instructions as they were written. There is nothing on the back of the page. You can't use the virtual gift cards for your deposit. Here are the redemption instructions:

 

REDEMPTION INSTRUCTIONS

 

STEP 1 Book your Royal Caribbean cruise vacation
Online: www.RoyalCanbbean com
Call: 866-504-3941
Deposit Required at the time of reservation.


lncomm Certificate Program - ID 302647


STEP 2 Redeem Certificate
After making your cruise reservation, email a copy or the
Gift Certificate along with your cruise reservation booking
number to
SharedServ1cesGlftCert1ficateRedempt1on@rccl com

The value of the Gift Certificate will then be applied to your
cruise reservation. Please allow up to 10 business days.
You will be notified once certificate has been applied to your
reservation.

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Honored Social Butterfly

@cm7407640 wrote

You can't use the virtual gift cards for your deposit.

+++++++++++++++++++

Yes, I realize that from the instructions - I'm just trying to figure out where the problem is coming from -  seems it may be a Royal processing problem.

\

Did you make the reservation, make your deposit with cash or credit card and then email the certificates?  Did they give you some sort of correlating number or tag to link the certificates to your reservation?

Seems like there is a disconnect - because it also says:

Certificates may be used in multiples and may be used to supplement cash payment or credit card.

Just sorry that this happened to you - trying to book an enjoyable trip - seems like stuff just keeps getting more and more complicated to get done.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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