Sandals Credit Card: Why To Avoid This Card for 2013
If you're planning a great vacation this year, the Sandals and Beaches credit card may have caught your eye. Sandals operates all-inclusive resorts with vacation packages available throughout the Caribbean and their branded credit card earns you rewards on your purchases at any Sandals and Beaches destination.
If you're thinking this is a great opportunity to earn awesome rewards while relaxing in the sun, think again: their rewards program is simply terrible. Here's the full scoop.
The Sandals and Beaches credit card comes with these "supposedly" great benefits:
No annual fee
1 point/$1 on everyday spending
2 points/$1 on spending at Sandals and Beaches
With most branded hotel cards, you'll earn nice perks like discounts on meals, priority check-in, room upgrades and late checkout. With the Sandals card, all you get is their basic rewards program.
Not All Credit Card Points are Equal!
The biggest problem with the card is you're earning WorldPoints, which has one of the worst values per point, although this varies depending on how you redeem your points.
If you want to redeem points for cash back, you're only getting 1/2% cash back, which is just abysmal. You need to spend 2,500 points just for $12.50 cash back, which means each point is only worth a half-cent! Compare this to the standard redemption rate of 1 point = $0.01 and you can see the problem.
You won't begin to get the regular $0.01 value for your WorldPoints until you can redeem a ton of points at once, starting at 25,000 points redeemable for $250. Unfortunately, redeeming your points for merchandise and gift cards has the same very low redemption value.
Using WorldPoints for Sandals and Beaches
If you're like most people, you don't really want to redeem your points for cash back and you'd prefer to redeem them for vacations at Sandals and Beaches resorts. The bad news? Most options still yield just 1 cent per point.
Here are some examples of redemption options available:
1,800 points = All That's Good Book
7,500 points = $75 discount
9,000 points = Island Routes Canopy Tour for one person
16,500 points = candlelit dinner
75,000 points = 3 nights free at Beaches during September
100,000 points = 3 nights free at many resort locations, including Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island
Most redemption options have a value of 1 cent per point and you need to redeem at least 25,000 points to see a minor bump in value to 1.2 cents per point.
Just to demonstrate what a poor value WorldPoints are, here's an example. Booking 3 nights at the Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort would cost $1,500 out of pocket.
Assuming you redeem 100,000 points, you're getting a pretty decent 1.5 cents per point value ($1500 divided by 100,000). Consider how long it takes you to earn those points, however.
Assuming you're earning 1 point per dollar, you'll need to spend $100,000 to earn three free nights at a resort. While that's certainly possible, it would take years for most people.
How it Stacks Up
Now let's take that same example and compare it to another popular rewards card, the Capital One Venture Rewards card. With the Venture Rewards card, you earn 2 miles per $1 on everything, and 10,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 during your first three months.
You can redeem your miles for any travel expense and there is no annual fee the first year ($59 afterward).
If you wanted to book that same package in the example above, you would need 150,000 points with your Capital One Venture card. The difference? After the $100 sign-up bonus, that's $74,500 in spending compared to $100,000.
Plus, you can watch prices for awhile and take advantage of promotions, like their current 50% off promotion on select rooms and resorts.
This means you could pay as low as $1,335 for a 3-night stay, or only 61,750 points with the Capital One Venture card. This ability to find the best deal BEFORE applying your rewards points means they give you more bang for your buck.
The Bottom Line: Avoid The Sandals Card!
While the Bank of America Sandals and Beaches card has no annual fee and a 10,000 points sign-up bonus, there are not good enough reasons to get the card. WorldPoints are simply not worth it and you can do better.
If you want to save up for a Sandals package, try the Capital One Venture Rewards card instead. Their sign-up bonus of 10,000 points is the equivalent to $100 and you'll earn 2 miles per $1 on everything with the ability to redeem it against any travel expenses or use it to fly on any airline with no blackout dates.