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The Princess Cruises® Rewards Visa® Card doesn’t grace our list of the top travel rewards credit cards on the market. But it is potentially irresistible to traveling individuals and families who enjoy taking the occasional cruise. It’s designed to reward spending on Princess Cruises, one of the world’s top cruise brands. The more you spend, the more points you earn – and the more they’re worth when you’re ready to redeem them for statement credits against cruise fares and other travel purchases.
This card favors spending with Princess Cruises – not just cruise packages, but onboard purchases, upgrades, add-ons, and more. There’s no limit to the number of points you can earn, and you’ll receive a sign-up bonus worth $50 for making your first purchase.
With no annual fee, there’s no downside to keeping this card in your wallet until you’re ready to spend with Princess. You can redeem your points for statement credits against purchases with nearly a dozen cruise lines, with a favored redemption rate for major Princess Cruises purchases.
The Princess Cruises Rewards Visa Card is a strong alternative to branded airline and hotel rewards credit cards, such as Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express and Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card. It also compares favorably with general-purpose travel cards like Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. If you enjoy spending time at sea, here’s what you need to know about this product’s features, benefits, drawbacks, and overall suitability.
You earn 10,000 bonus Princess Points simply for opening your account and making your first purchase. That’s worth up to $100 when redeemed for purchase credits with Princess Cruises and other travel partners, gift cards, and general merchandise.
Earning and Redeeming Princess Points
Princess Cruises Rewards Visa earns unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on all Princess Cruises purchases, including cruise package purchases, onboard purchases, upgrades, and more. All other purchases earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent. Your earning potential is unlimited and your points won’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
You can redeem your Princess Points for statement credits toward purchases made with Princess Cruises. To qualify, purchases must have been made within the past 180 days and must be equal to or greater than $50. Redemption values vary according to the amount you’ve spent with Princess Cruises within the past 180 days:
- $50 to $499.99 in Princess Cruises purchases within the past 180 days: 1.0% ($0.01 per point)
- $500 to $2,000.99 in Princess Cruises purchases: 1.25% ($0.0125 per point)
- $2,001 to $4,000.99 in Princess Cruises purchases: 1.5% ($0.015 per point)
- $4,001 or more in Princess Cruises purchases: 2.0% ($0.02 per point)
You can also redeem for statement credits against purchases with other cruise lines, including (per Barclaycard) “Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, The Yachts of Seabourn, P&O Cruises, P&O Cruises Australia, Ibero, and Aida.” To qualify, purchases must be made no more than 180 days prior to redemption.
All non-Princess redemptions value points at $0.01 apiece, regardless of the purchase size. If you can’t redeem for the full value of the transaction, you can redeem in increments of $50, up to a maximum of $5,000.
Separately, you can redeem your points for statement credits against airline purchases made within the past 180 days, as long as they’re worth at least $50. Airline redemptions always value points at $0.01 apiece. You also can redeem for hotel stays, car rentals, and other types of travel through Barclaycard’s LoyaltyEdge portal. Minimums and point values vary.
Princess Cruises Rewards Visa Card has a 15-month 0% APR introductory promotion for balance transfers. You must make your transfer within 45 days of opening your account to qualify. After 15 months, the regular balance transfer rate applies. There is no comparable promotion for purchases.
Introductory Balance Transfer Bonus Points
When you make a qualifying balance transfer during the first 30 days your account is open, you’re eligible to receive 1 bonus Princess Point per $1 transferred, up to a maximum of 5,000 points ($50 value).
Complimentary FICO Score and Credit Line Reviews
This card includes a complimentary FICO score that’s regularly updated with new information. Cardholders are also entitled to periodic credit line reviews, with the potential to increase their spending limits as their credit profiles improve.
Princess Cruises Rewards Visa has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Late and returned payments cost up to $37.
This card requires good to excellent credit. Any noteworthy credit blemishes are likely to disqualify your application.
- No Annual Fee. Princess Cruises Rewards Visa has no annual fee. This is great news for occasional users who pull out this card only when they’re ready to make a purchase with Princess Cruises. It costs nothing to keep this card in your wallet, even if you go months without using it.
- Long 0% APR Introductory Promotion for Balance Transfers. This card has a very long 0% APR balance transfer promotion: 15 months. Some cards designed specifically for balance transfers, including Chase Slate, have comparable balance transfer promotions. If you’re facing down high-interest credit card debt elsewhere and want to earn solid cruise rewards while you deal with it, Princess Cruises Rewards Visa should be on your credit card shortlist.
- Up to 2% Redemption Rate for Heavy Princess Cruises Spenders. When you splurge on a cruise with Princess Cruises, you automatically increase the redemption value of your Princess Points – up to $0.02 per point when you spend at least $4,001 in purchases within a 180-day period. That’s a 4% return on Princess Cruises spending.
- Easily Attainable Sign-Up Bonus. Princess Cruises Rewards Visa has an easy-to-attain sign-up bonus – you just have to open your account and make a single purchase to claim 10,000 Princess Points. That’s a $100 value for spending next to nothing.
- Up to 5,000 Bonus Princess Points for Introductory Balance Transfers. When you make a balance transfer within 30 days of opening your account, you’re entitled to 1 bonus point per $1 transferred, up to 5,000 total bonus points.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. Princess Cruises Rewards Visa Card has no foreign transaction fee. Since many of the line’s ships trawl international water, this could save you a significant chunk of change at non-U.S. ports of call.
- No Penalty Interest Charges. This card doesn’t charge penalty interest. That’s great news for cardholders who occasionally miss statement due dates because of unexpected expenses or unpredictable cash flow. If you regularly carry a balance, you don’t have to worry about paying on time – though you still should, as failure to maintain timely payment patterns can hurt your credit score.
- Limited 2x Categories. Princess Cruises Rewards Visa earns 2 Princess Points per $1 spent on Princess Cruises cruise packages and onboard purchases. It earns 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Even for devoted cruise-goers, cruise spending typically accounts for a small share of total household spending, meaning this isn’t a very generous rewards program. If you prefer to earn rewards on a wider range of spending, consider a general-purpose travel card, such as Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which effectively returns 2% or more on all purchases – regardless of category.
- No Automatic Loyalty Status or Benefits. You won’t earn automatic loyalty status or members-only perks simply for carrying this card around in your wallet. This is a big drawback for frequent Princess Cruises customers, especially given that most hotel and airline credit cards provide frequent traveler perks, such as free checked bags or room upgrades. Some popular credit cards go one step further and offer automatic elite status at no additional charge. Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express and IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card both extend elite status to cardholders, with benefits like accelerated point earnings and flexible check-in and check-out times.
- Few Value-Added Benefits. This card has very few travel or shopping benefits. Pretty much the only value-add you’ll get here is a free FICO score that updates regularly as your credit profile changes. Most competing travel rewards cards offer general perks, such as complimentary travel insurance or extended warranties.
- No Point Transfers. The Princess Points rewards program doesn’t allow for point transfers to other travel vendors, such as hotel families and airlines. Though you can redeem your points for non-Princess travel purchases, you can’t extract the potentially juicy per-point values that point transfers sometimes make possible. Some general-purpose travel rewards cards, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, allow transfers at 1-to-1 ratios that can double, triple, or even quadruple the value of earned points. Some branded cards do as well – Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is a popular point transfer vehicle, for instance.
- Low Redemption Rate on Non-Princess Redemptions. If you want to redeem your Princess Points for anything other than statement credits against prior Princess Cruises purchases, you’ll have to accept a $0.01-per-point value. That caps your rate of return on non-Princess redemptions at 2%, though the average is likely to be closer to 1%.
- Low Baseline Rewards Rate. Princess Cruises Rewards Visa Card has a low baseline earning rate: just 1 point per $1 spent on most purchases. That’s a 1% return on most spending, unless you redeem for statement credits against major Princess Cruises purchases. If you’re looking for a higher, more predictable rate of return on everyday spending, look for an unlimited cash back card, such as Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (unlimited 1.5% cash back), Chase Freedom Unlimited (unlimited 1.5% cash back), or Citi Double Cash Card (unlimited 2% cash back).
I’m not a big fan of cruises. In fact, I’ve never been on one. I’d much rather prefer to sit on a beach in a beautiful honeymoon destination or take a leisurely road trip along lesser-traveled highways and byways. That might change in the future, but for now, you can bet I won’t be rushing to sign up for this credit card.
Don’t let that stop you though. If you enjoy time at sea and don’t mind spending your hard-earned money with Princess Cruises, this card could be right for you. And, if you prefer another cruise line, that’s fine too: Barclaycard backs several other branded cruise rewards credit cards, including Holland America Line Rewards Visa and Carnival World MasterCard. Take your pick.