Warning for 2013: This may not be the best choice. Don’t apply for the Royal Caribbean Visa card without seeing this review

Royal Caribbean cruise ship
Year after year Royal Caribbean continues to be one of the most popular cruise lines in the US, and just as the name implies, they are known for their cruises to the Mexican coast, Bahamas, and other Caribbean islands. Several years ago they came out with their Royal Caribbean credit card (a Visa card issued by Bank of America) which is geared towards their biggest customers.

Does this credit card live up to its expectations? Let’s take a look…

Rewards
You want this credit card so you can earn a free or discounted Royal Caribbean cruise as fast as possible, right? Well, here’s what they give you on your spending:
  • 1 point per dollar on your spending
  • 2 points per dollar for qualifying Royal Caribbean purchases
To me the Royal Caribbean credit card doesn’t sound like a very lucrative rewards program. Don't most cards already give you at least 1 point (or 1%) per dollar on purchases anyway?The 2 points per dollar on purchases from Royal Caribbean is far from impressive; a lot of cards out there give you 4 or 5 points when you buy from the affiliated company, and the best Royal Caribbean can do is only give you 2 lousy points?

Sure, it’s better than nothing, but at the same time you need to remember that Royal Caribbean travel purchases probably only make up a tiny percentage of your annual spending… so it probably won’t benefit you much at all.

details for double points
Then when I viewed the application, the wording makes it sound as if only "onboard" Royal Caribbean purchases count? If that's true, then it really sucks.

Redemption
It’s not that you can’t redeem your points for some decent things, it’s just that they require way too many points and you earn them way too slow.

For example, when I looked one of the options was a $50 onboard purchase credit you can get with 5,000 points. Well… if I’m only getting 1 point per dollar on my regular spending with the Royal Caribbean credit card, that means I need to spend $5,000 to get a $50 credit… that only equals a 1% rebate! Kind of vanilla, right?

Using the points for a room upgrade might be more beneficial, but again, the question is at what cost? On top of that, I come across deals all the time for upgrades (i.e. a balcony stateroom for the price of an oceanview stateroom) so does it even make sense to spend a ton of Royal Caribbean Visa points to do this?

My favorite travel rewards credit cards for 2013
There are several travel cards on the market that give MUCH BETTER rewards and benefits. Check out this ranking to compare the top rated travel rewards credit cards.