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Priceline Credit Card: Only Good for Name Your Own Price Users

Priceline Credit Card: Only Good for Name Your Own Price Users

A poor value, especially when compared to competitors.
Editor's Rating: 3.0/5.0
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Editor's Rating

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3.0/5.0

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

The Priceline Rewards Visa is a poor credit card for the average Priceline.com customer. The card is only rewarding under limited scenarios and for a select group of people: power users who frequently use the website's Name Your Own Price Tool to book their travel. Everything else, from regular fixed or published price reservations on Priceline.com, to gas and grocery charges, get worse rewards rate than what you'll see from other travel credit cards.

Low Rewards Rate for the Average Consumer

Only NYOP auctions won get a meaningful earnings bump. Everything else, which will make up the majority of your purchases, just gets 1x the point, which works out to a 1% rewards rate. This is a subpar rewards rate in today's field of credit card offers, where you could be getting 1.5% for the standard cash back cards, or even 2% with other travel cards. If you use this card as your primary credit card to book Pay When You Stay hotel nights / other published rates on Priceline.com, or pay for the rest of your gas, groceries, and everyday spending, you'll be losing out rewards money (more below).

Other Credit Card Alternatives

It makes more sense to consider this other all-around travel credit cards over the Priceline Visa: the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: With a 2% travel rewards rate, the Venture maximizes what you can earn on an overall basis compared to the Priceline card, which only rewards NYOP purchases. With the Venture, cardholders get a simple and straightforward 2x the points on any kind of purchase without extra hoops vs the paltry 1% for all of your non-NYOP charges on the Priceline credit card.

Only Recommended for Power Users of Name Your Own Price Tool

If you're one of the targeted group of experienced and frequent Name Your Own Price users, then this Visa card can make a good supplemental card. With 5x the points for NYOP transactions, this card can net deal savvy users an easy 5% return if used correctly - a rewards rate that is on the higher side for a travel credit card. For these reasons, we recommend it as a rotational card for people with the credit bandwidth, the NYOP experience, and the willingness to maximize value by using the card only for NYOP transactions. Otherwise, we have a couple of other card recommendations that will get you greater flexibility and bang for your buck.

Credit Card Basics

Any vacation or travel reservations won with the Name Your Own Price service gets 5x the points. It's a nice way to extract extra value beyond the savings you're already getting with your travel bid. There's also a new cardmember sign-on bonus from Barclays' of up to 10,000 points (worth $100) to spend, and no annual fee. If used correctly, this credit card can get you a 5% rewards rate, which ranks on the higher side for a travel credit card (more below).

Here are the key specs and features of the credit card that you need to know:

Sign-up Promotion5,000 Points for first purchase 1,000 points for balance transfer
  • Up to $100 value for signing bonus
  • Five times the points on Name Your Own Price bids won on the website
  • One point per all other Priceline.com charges, including "Pay When You Stay" hotel nights, published-price airfare, cruise bookings, and non-NYOP car rentals
  • One point per other dollar of net purchases
  • Redeem as statement credits for transactions $25
  • Targeted offers of bonus categories available by invitation
  • More info on the Priceline Visa

Earnings Rate

5x points for Name Your Own Price travel 1 point per other dollar of spending

Rewards Rate

1% - 5% (NYOP)

Annual Fee

None

FX Fee

3%

APR

Min - Max: 14.99% - 21.99%

Issuer

Barclays

Network

Visa

Note: Contrary to what may be indicated on Priceline.com's website, only the no-fee credit card is being marketed now. The $29 annual fee version, which gave cardholdlers extra bonus points for special categories, is discontinued according to Barclays representatives.

The Value of a Point

A point is worth 1 cent at a minimum - that is, 100 points = $1. This is fairly standard for most credit cards, along with the terms of redemptions. You need at least 2,500 points to begin redeeming, which equates to $25, so your posted transaction has to be at least $25.

Points could potentially be worth more in larger quantities though. The Visa card's terms & conditions refer to a tiered redemption system ("the amount of Points needed will vary by transaction"), but our calls to Barclays representatives did not confirm this.

Name Your Own Price Bonus Points

You only get extra points for NYOP transactions with this card. Charging your card for NYOP bids gets you five times the rewards points, which no other credit card can do for the same type of transaction. Roundtrip tickets, a weekend hotel stay, and a car rental can easily add up to hundreds of dollars and sizable savings. After charging your Priceline card $500 for your vacation, you will have gotten $500 x 5 = 2,500 points, good for a $25 rewards redemption. This statement credit gets you a 5% return ($25 award / $500 of spending).

How the NYOP Auction works

Some basic info on the NYOP auction: You set a price you want to pay ("a bid") for a hotel, flight, or car rental booking. For example, with airlines, you only get to specify the date and arrival and departure airports - Priceline gets to fill in the remaining details of the reservation, including what airline you'll fly on, the number of connections, etc., and you don't reap the benefit of frequent flyer miles. The best way to get a deal out of the NYOP tool is to research what the market price is, undercut it by some percentage points, and start bidding low early in advance. In exchange for these savings, you give up control over certain details of your itinerary, and airplane miles.

The tool, and therefore the credit card, only make sense for people who have a large window of time to make their reservations, are willing to hunt aggressively for the right price, and do not care about logistics. Any bid that gets declined freezes your account for 24 hours from submitting another bid for the same criteria, which will be inconvenient for those without the luxury of time. We recommend that you be prepared to pay your bid, as any price that gets accepted by the website will get charged to your credit card automatically, and cannot be canceled.

Maximizing Rewards on the Priceline Credit Card

We recommend that the Priceline credit card be a supplemental card you use only for Name Your Own Price travel. NYOP transactions get 5x the points, which can equate to a 5% of a rewards rate. However, when you pay for other purchases with this card, like charging for gas, dining, and groceries, you only get 1 point per dollar. These 1 point transactions wind up reducing your rewards return, and earns you less compared to what you could be earning elsewhere.

This table illustrates some sample spending, and how your reward returns can be diluted:

NYOP PointsRewardsAll Other PointsRewardsRewards Rate

Maximized Case

$10,000 x 5 = 50,000$500$0 x 1 = 0$0$500 / $10,000 = 5%

Diluted Mid-Case

$5,000 x 5 = 25,000$250$5,000 x 1 = 5,000$50$300 / $10,000 = 3%

Diluted Low-Case

$1,000 x 5 = 5,000$50$9,000 x 1 = 9,000$90$140 / $10,000 = 1.4%

The non-NYOP charges get just a 1% rewards rate, and could have earned you more at other credit cards. This is why we recommend using the Priceline Visa as a secondary card in your wallet. If you decide to do this, then be sure to keep your card active by making at least one purchase or carrying some balance every six months, and paying your bill on time. Failure to do so can get your rewards revoked.

Stacking Deals with Cash Rebates

One other way to get even greater rewards out is to navigate to the Priceline website from cash back shopping sites such as Ebates. As of Feb 2014, Ebates is advertising a 5% cash rebate on Name Your Own Price hotels. Stacking deals such as this can grow your return from the card's 5% to nearly 10%.

Other Credit Card Options

Given that only a select subset of people can realize the potential of the Priceline Visa, here are a couple of other travel credit card options that will get you a better return rate overall. Explore our visualization tool, read our summaries, and see our table below for three comparisons.

Image
Assumptions based on $1,430 monthly spend
Monthly spending:
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
$
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Priceline vs. Travelocity

If Priceline is just one of your many online travel sources, then consider the Travelocity card. The two cards share similarities, but differ in scope and maximum rewards rate. All transactions paid for on Travelocity's website with their credit card are eligible for bonus points, in contrast to just NYOP purchases. You do trade more types of transactions for a lower earnings rate of 3x. Furthermore, when redeemed at higher quantities, Travelocity's points are worth almost double - up to 6%. Both cards get a vanilla 1% return on all other purchases.

Compared to the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

We like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card since it's a great all-around travel credit card with minimum fuss and a higher than average rate of return for travel rewards. We recommend this over the Priceline Visa if the portion of your NYOP spending is low compared to all of your groceries, gas, and entertainment expenses - the 1% earnings on the bulk of your purchases will drag everything down compared to the 2% you could be earning on the Venture. If you're an expert NYOP bidder without credit concerns, then consider this as a simple primary card for all other purchases, and the Priceline Visa only for NYOP charges. You can have your cake (5% on NYOP) and eat it too (2% on all other expenses). While there is an annual fee of $95 (waived in year 1), we think the bonus points on all purchases, the simplicity of earnings, and the generous sign-up promotion tip the scales in favor of this card.

PricelineTravelocityCapital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Priceline Rewards™ Visa Card
The Travelocity® Rewards American Express® Card
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Sign-up Bonus

10,000 points ($100)10,000 points ($100)50,000 miles ($500)

Earnings Rate

5x NYOP purchases, 1x all other3x Travelocity.com purchases, 1x all other2x all purchases

Rewards Rate

1 - 5%1 - 6%2%

Annual Fee

NoneNone$95 (waived Y1)

FX Fee

3%3%None

APR

14.99% - 21.99%14.99% - 24.99%17.99% - 25.24% (Variable)

Good for People Who:

Book vacation travel on NYOP frequentlyUse Travelocity.com frequently for travel purchasesWant a simple travel credit card with higher overall rewards

Information current as of February 2014

Comments and Questions

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).