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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.

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Bronze 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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Bronze 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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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! 

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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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Regular Contributor

Thanks for your concern. Yes, there is definitely a disconnect somewhere. I was on the phone Tuesday, at least, 30 minutes with Royal as they tried to figure out the problem. I would think they would have experience with such virtual gift cards as they have a specific department to handle them. No matter how much they tried and rechecked the numbers and PIN, the virtual gift card came up as "invalid." They said for me to call back in 3 - 5 days as their "team" continues to work on the problem. As it stands now, AARP has my $540, Royal Caribbean has my "invalid" virtual gift cards and I'm still left with the balance due on my cruise reservation as the countdown continues until the final payment is due on July 8.

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I am very surprised by these reviews I read here prior to purchasing one of these gift certificates. I read the rules, and only bought one $500.00 certificate to see if it would be applied. I sent in the information to the email address stated and immediately got a "we received your request" and three days later an email saying "your certificate has been applied and will appear within 7-10 business days. One week later, I saw the payment posted so I bought some more (1000.00 this time) and the same exact thing. Immediately "we received your request" three days later "it's been applied" and one week later I saw the payment post. Perhaps all the past complaints fixed the process or perhaps people did not read the fine print. I saw they do not allow these certificates for anything booked at "group" pricing, so if you are not sure, always check your reservation at the top to see if a group ID is listed after your reservation ID number. I had nothing but excellent results and saved $300 in total for my upcoming birthday cruise. 🙂 

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