The Holland America cruise line travels to several hundred ports in more than a dozen destinations around the world. If you've got the Barclays-issued Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card, your points can eventually help you reach those destinations — if you're patient.
The $0-annual-fee card can make sense for Holland America super-fans, especially those who spend sizably on tickets with the cruise line. But its mediocre rewards and complicated redemption process may not float your boat.
Here are five things to know about this card before coming aboard.
1. Ongoing rewards are meager
The Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card earns 2 points per $1 spent on all Holland America purchases, including onboard purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else.
So unless you're setting sail with Holland America quite a bit, you'll have precious few opportunities to earn elevated rewards, meaning it may take a long time to amass a pile of points.
Other general travel cards can offer higher rewards in everyday spending categories, including things like restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and elsewhere.
2. The small sign-up bonus won’t take you far, either
The Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card does feature a modest introductory offer, phrased this way: "Earn 5,000 points after first purchase ." But that's not gonna be enough to put much of a dent in your travel expenses.
Plenty of other travel credit cards — even travel cards with no annual fee — offer much more generous bonuses that can help jump-start your next vacation.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, for example, has a rich welcome offer: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value. And you can earn a high ongoing rewards rate in a variety of spending categories that include cruise lines, hotels, flights, restaurants, gas stations and more. Terms apply.
3. Redemption is flexible but complex
The good news with this card is that you can redeem rewards for a variety of options, including for statement credits toward purchases from other cruise lines besides Holland America, such as Carnival, Costa, Princess, P&O Cruises, and several others.
The less-good news is that the redemption process can be somewhat confusing because the value of your points varies depending on what you choose and/or the amount of your purchase.
A statement credit redemption toward a Holland America Line purchase — which starts at 5,000 points for a $50 credit — can potentially earn the most value for your points:
Spend between $50-$499.99 and you’ll receive a statement credit redemption value of 1%.
Spend between $500-$1,499.99: Statement credit redemption value of 1.25%.
Spend between $1,500-$2,000.99: Statement credit redemption value of 1.5%.
Spend between $2,001-$4,000.99: Statement credit redemption value of 2%.
Spend between $4,001 or more: Statement credit redemption value of 2.5%.
The statement credit redemption value for cruise lines other than Holland America is 1%. You can also redeem toward airfare at the same rate.
Nerd tip: These tiered point redemption values are common among other co-branded cruise line cards issued by Barclays, including the Princess Cruises Rewards Visa® Card and the Carnival World Mastercard. But this is not typical of most travel cards, where points have a fixed redemption value no matter how much you spend on a specific transaction.
Other redemption options include things like onboard amenities, gift cards and merchandise, plus additional travel categories like hotels and car rentals.
Despite the flexibility, this redemption process isn't nearly as straightforward as those you'll find on other travel credit cards.
4. The card is fee-friendly ...
In addition to its lack of an annual fee, you'll pay no foreign transaction fees, meaning you can use the card internationally without racking up extra charges.
Plus, as a Visa, it will be widely accepted by merchants around the world.
5. ... But better travel companions exist
You can find all of the above features on cards with richer and less-complex rewards programs.
Consider, for instance, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. It runs on the Visa network, has no foreign transaction fees and a $0 annual fee. It earns a flat 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, and points are worth a straightforward 1 cent each when redeemed for travel credit toward airfare, hotel stays, cruises and more.
Moreover, it offers a bountiful sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
Information related to the Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.