Princess Cruises has expanded the capabilities of its MedallionPay experience to more than 65 retailers, restaurants and shore excursion providers across the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera and Alaska. Cruisers who use their Medallions at participating merchants will receive an immediate seven percent cashback in the form of onboard credit to spend on their current cruise or convert into a future cruise credit.
“Guests can shop, they can play, they can eat, they can drink, and they can pretty much purchase almost anything in our ports of call and get seven percent onboard credit instantaneous with their purchase,” said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises, during an online press conference. “It breaks down the historic, institutional divide between ship and shore. It’s now seamless from the guest experience standpoint. Guests can literally leave their credit cards in the safe if they choose and shop away.”
Princess began trialing the system in St. Thomas shortly before the cruise shutdown in 2020, but has been working to refine it and bring merchants onboard since then.
“Being able to shop using my Medallion made purchasing easier and having a discount associated with it is fantastic,” said Lori Woodbury, a guest on Crown Princess who tried out MedallionPay during the St. Thomas trial. “You don’t have to remember your room key, and you never have to have cash or a credit card with you.”
For the first year of the land-based MedallionPay service, passengers will earn seven percent back on all their MedallionPay purchases in the form of onboard credit to be used on their current cruise. Cruisers may also choose to convert their cashback into a future cruise credit.
The cashback provided by Princess is on top of any rewards (including cashback) provided by your client’s credit card. If your client has a three percent cashback Discover card on file with Princess and makes a purchase using their Medallion at Diamonds International in Cozumel, they essentially get a total of 10% cashback.
Limited But Growing
Currently, MedallionPay, which guests already use onboard to make every purchase from drinks to items in the gift store, can be used with 65 participating merchants in St. Thomas, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, Puerta Vallarta and, coming this summer, in Alaska.
To pay, users simply tap or hold up their Medallion to a reader and the purchase is processed on the guest’s credit card already stored in the Princess system.
Participants include shops cruisers are familiar with, like Diamonds International, Del Sol and Cariloha, as well as shore excursion providers such as Ocean Surfari and Cabo Dolphins. Clients can even use it to pay for entry to the Pirate Museum in St. Thomas.
“This is the wave of the future,” said Wendy Tarapani, founding partner of Diamonds International, which was one of the first merchants to sign on for MedallionPay. “Contactless payment, who doesn’t love that today? Passengers have peace of mind. They don’t have to worry about carrying credit cards. They just leave the ship and all they have to do is wear their Medallion bracelet or necklace.”
MedallionPay is available to all retailers in any port of call that Princess visits with no setup or monthly fees to registers as a merchant. There is no long-term contract and the software is free to use. Merchants pay a transaction fee that includes all credit card processing fees and can cancel the service at any time. There is absolutely no additional cost to the Princess cruise passenger.
As with the use of the Princess Medallion onboard, no credit card or personal information is stored on the Medallion, so if your client loses it on land there is nothing anyone can do with it.
“The Medallion is created to be waterproof, sun proof, childproof, heat proof, and your wallet’s not,” Padgett told Travel Market Report. “It takes the stress out of ‘swimming with dolphins but losing my wallet’.”
Ocean Medallion Expansion Also Includes New Sportsbook
At the same time that Princess has rolled out the land-based MedallionPay across its fleet, the cruise line also unveiled new Sportsbook betting. Cruisers, who are often barred from making sports bets with their usual apps when at sea, can now bet on games while they’re onboard. They can even make in-play bets, which Padgett said is something that’s never been done at sea before. And, soon the line will add future betting so that cruisers who live in places where sports betting isn’t permitted can make bets on games that will take place after their cruise has ended.