Q: My husband and I splurge on a Princess cruise every year or two, but lately, it’s becoming harder for us to afford it. Would it make sense for me to get their Visa credit card for the rewards program?
A: According to Good.is (a website with a weird name) the average cruise ship with a capacity of 2,915 passengers only gets 0.009 MPG (or in other words, a gallon only moves the ship a few dozen feet!). Given the high fuel prices these days, it’s understandable why it costs more to book a cruise!
But is the Princess credit card for cruises going to help make them more affordable? Well, here’s how the rewards work…
- 1 point per dollar on regular spending
- 2 points per dollar on purchases from Princess Cruises, including those made on-board
But that information is useless unless you know what the points can buy! I did some research to find out the redemption options available and here are a few examples…
- 10,000 points = $100 off
- 20,000 points = $200 off
- 40,000 points = $500 off
- 60,000 points = $750 off
As you can see, the lower tiers give you 1 cent value per point. The higher you go, the more bang for your buck. It goes up to 160,000 points which equals $2,000 off… that’s a 1.25% rebate
- 200,000 points = free cruise up to $3,000
- 265,000 points = free cruise up to $4,000
- 375,000 points = free cruise up to $7,500
The 200k points gets you up to a 1.5% rebate. Keep in mind though, that’s on a cruise “up to” $3,000. So if the price was only $2,000 you would only be getting a 1% rebate.
At the top of the tier, the 375k points equals up to a 2% rebate. But again, keep in mind that if your cruise was only $5,000 you are only getting 1.33%.
The credit card rewards can be used to buy onboard services, meals, merchandise, etc. They can also be redeemed for airfare credit at a rate of 1 cent per point (25k, 40k, or 50k points can be used at a time). While these additional options are nice to have, it appears the best value is by using the points for higher tiered discounted/free cruises.
There’s no annual fee, which is a plus. The rewards value is good but mostly at the higher tiers. I would only consider the Princess Cruises credit card if you are a big spender and can rake up hundreds of thousands in points.
More lucrative option for 2013…
As mentioned above, 160,000 points (which would require $160,000 in regular spending) will only get you $2,000 off which works out to a 1.25% rebate. This means the Princess Visa card is ironically, NOT the best choice for earning cruises.
This review was updated for 2013