2013 Review: Sandals Credit Card Rewards Are Terrible

About a year ago I did a review of their card and couldn’t believe how crappy the rewards were. I was hoping they would be improved for 2013 but that definitely didn’t happen…

When you’re a repeat customer of a certain brand – whether it’s a store, airline, or hotel – a lot of times it will make sense to get their branded credit card, in order to pick up some extra perks.

But with the Sandals Resorts credit card you get no special benefits. Here are the “great benefits” they list on the application:

Sandals cardholder benefits

With a lot of hotel credit cards you get meal discounts, priority check-in, late check-out and other red carpet treatment. But with Sandals, the only thing they’re offering you is the rewards program, which is:

  • 1 point per dollar on regular purchases
  • 2 points per dollar at Sandals and Beaches resorts

Not all credit card points are created equal. For example on Virgin America, 1 point = 2.2 cents value towards airfare. So earning 1 point per dollar with them is a good deal.

WorldPoints cash value

WorldPoints cash value

But the Bank of America Sandals credit card uses WorldPoints. That’s bad news because the WorldPoints program gives you some of the worst values per point, depending on what you redeem them for.

For example if you redeem them for cash back, it takes 5,000 points to get $25 worth. That’s a value of a half-cent per point!

If you’re only earning 1 point per dollar, that’s like getting 1/2% cash back.

As you see it takes a massive number of WorldPoints just to get the typical 1 cent value. Redeeming them for merchandise, restaurant/store gift cards, and other options are equally disappointing.

Any better using points for Sandals & Beaches?

Obviously most people who apply for this card don’t want cash back or gift cards. Instead they will be redeeming their WorldPoints for vacations at Sandals and Beaches. Here are the redemption options listed as I write this review…

  • 1,800 pts = All That’s Good Book
  • 2,500 pts = Sesame Street Character Breakfast
  • 7,500 pts = $75 discount
  • 9,000 pts = Island Routes Canopy Tour (per person, in Jamaica only)
  • 10,000 pts = $100 credit for spa
  • 12,500 pts = $125 discount
  • 15,000 pts = $175 discount
  • 16,500 pts = candlelight dinner
  • 25,000 pts = $300 discount
  • 75,000 pts = 3 free nights at Beaches during month of September only
  • 100,000 pts = 3 free nights at any of the following resorts: Sandals Halcyon Beach St. Lucia, Sandals Carlyle, Sandals Montego Bay, Sandals Grande Ocho Rios Beach & Villa Resort, and Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island.
  • 125,000 pts = 3 free nights at any one of the following resorts: Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa, Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort, Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa, Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort & Spa in Lucia, Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa.

Are these worth it? Do the math…

The first 6 options will yield around 1 cent per point. To get more than that on your vacation expenses, you’re going to need 25,000+ points and even then the bump in value is minimal:

  • $300 discount for 25,000 pts = 1.2 cents per point

And what about the value of 3 free nights? As an example I priced out the cost of 3 nights for their Antigua resort…

my quote for Sandals Antigua

$1,548 is the cash price if I were to buy it out of pocket. Or I could redeem 125,000 Sandals credit card points for it.

$1548 divided by 125,000 = 1.24 cents per point

Now getting 1.24 cents per point is better than average, but look how many points you need to do that… 125,000!

If you’re only earning 1 point per dollar (2 pts on Sandals purchases) then you will probably have to spend upwards of $100,000 in order to earn those 3 free nights.

Is that possible? Yes. Is it realistic for most people to do that in a reasonable amount of time? Definitely not!

Conclusion? Look elsewhere!

Sure it has no annual fee and Bank of America is offering 10,000 bonus points for applying, but those are hardly compelling reasons to get the Sandals card.

Written or last updated April 2013

 
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