Chase card services General Manager confirms that we are in the midst of aggresive credit card offers

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Million Mile Secrets reader Jerry (thanks!) forwarded me an article in the New York Times titled Practicing Prudence in Picking Travel Cards.  This article adds another data point to my view that marketing budgets for credit cards have been higher than usual, and that we can expect to see a reduction in the generous offers we are used to or an increased spending requirement to get those bonuses.

For example, the limited time Chase British Airways card now offers 50,000 points after your 1st purchase, and requires you to spend $10,000 within 1 year to get an additional 25,000 points and yet another $10,000 to get the last 25,000 points.  Compare this to the offer in 2009 and 2011 when folks could get 100,000 British Airways miles with only $3,000 in spending!

Similarly, the Chase Ink Bold now requires you to spend $10,000 within 3 months to get the full 50,000 point bonus.  However, you get 25,000 points after your 1st purchase and another 25,000 points after spending $10,000 within 3 months.

And we’ve seen a few 1-day American Express offers which had very high spending requirements as well.

While this is bad in comparison to what we’ve been recently used to, it isn’t all bad news.  This just marks a reversion to the level of sign-on bonuses which used to exist only a few years ago.  A 25,000 point bonus on the Chase Ink Bold or a 50,000 sign-on bonus on the British Airways card after your 1st purchase is only bad in comparison to what was available last year and early this year!

After all, why should banks give mega bonuses to ALL new customers?  It is much better for them – especially after recent regulations have cost them billions of dollars in profitability – to offer a minimum level of enticements to regular customers to get them to sign-up for the card.  But to offer further sweeteners to folks who spend lots of money on their credit cards and earn the banks fees.

The article starts by saying:

With all these frantic credit card merchants beseeching me these days, I feel as if I’m a tourist wandering the Marrakesh souk.

I know some readers feel overwhelmed about constantly reading about credit card offer, but that’s because there really ARE a lot of new credit card offers.  Here’s what the head of Chase Card Services has to say (bolding mine):

“I’ve been in this business a long time and there definitely have been times of very aggressive marketing of airline and other travel cards,” said David Gold, the general manager of Chase Card Services. “We happen to be in one of them now.”

So many of your hunches are confirmed.  We really are (or is it were?) in the midst of some great credit card offers.

He also confirmed that Chase wants to take market share from AMEX, which may explain why all the good offers seem to be only from Chase!

Meanwhile, Mr. Gold said that the new United MileagePlus Club Card was intended in part to take market share from the American Express Platinum card.

Many readers also mention that keeping track of so many credit cards can be a pain.  But don’t worry, the head of Chase card services agrees with you!

Although, as even Mr. Gold at Chase conceded, “it can all be a pain to keep track of.”

Bottom Line:  I don’t expect credit card sign-on bonuses to disappear, but it will be harder to get the full sign-on bonus on many of them.  But getting half a sign-on bonus is still better than NO sign-on bonus.  Sure it is not as good as it used to be, but it will still let us have Big Travel with Small Money!

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27 responses to “Chase card services General Manager confirms that we are in the midst of aggresive credit card offers

  1. Good point about the half bonuses better than nothing. I’m in the middle of a 10K AmEx Gold Open Biz spending challenge and it’s tough. I understand how the banks want the high value / spend customer, which I obviously am not LOL.

  2. I’m thinking of planning a churn, but I feel like I already have too many Chase cards. SW Per, SW Biz, Sapphire Preferred, and an old United Mileage Plus. I’d love to get in on Ink Bold, BA, United Explorer, etc but they’re all Chase! How much can we push it? A new Chase card every 4 months?

    • @MJLouise – Getting half the bonus still puts us where we were only a few years ago!

      @Matt MSP – You may be able to get 1 business and 1 personal card if you’re willing to call the reconsideration and negotiate approval by moving credit lines or closing a card.

  3. It might not be all that bad for the folks who actually use these cards. Rather than “waste” miles on churners, the banks may be able to sprinkle more miles on those who use the cards as their everyday card. If the spending thresholds get higher, and it eliminates some of the one-and-done crowd, then perhaps signup bonuses can grow higher too (or at least be higher than they otherwise would be).

  4. It’s the beginning of the end.

    I’d be willing to bet that if you compare the number of travel bloggers increasing to signup bonuses declining that you’ll see a direct correlation between the two.

  5. I actually do use these cards but mainly for the categories I do use. Of course the last 12 months I went from owning 6 CCs to a total of 11, I canceled 1 of my original 6. Basically I opened 6 new CCs and went through 2 refi with an excellent credit score as of last year, not sure what’s it now with 6 new credit and 2 refi inquiries, but the last Chase CC I opened, the Chase Freedom was the first time I didn’t get auto approved online. Because of this I decided to cool down till at least a year. I was tempted to open the Chase Saf Prefer but this would have been my 4th Chase cc within 6 months so I doubt I’ll get approved plus I had the FIA Fidelity Amex card that gave out 2% if you put into your retirement plan and I couldn’t pull the trigger on paying 95/year to get 1.07% back

    I normally looked at the long haul of the CC at least 3-4 years of usage to see the categories with the highest pay out and then turned to the signing bonus and annual fee as the final deciding factor. That’s just me b/c I’m really too lazy to cancel credit cards =)

    • @Grant – I’ve applied for the Chase Hyatt and then the Chase Sapphire Preferred a few days later. I did have to call the reconsideration line, though. You can buy Priority Club points for 0.6 cents per point, so you may be better off transferring points from UR to cash since you get a 1 cent per point cash back.

      You could open the card in the branch and if you have a good relationship with the banker, he could call in to help get you approved. But you could also do that yourself. It’s been strongly hinted to me that the Chase Freedom bonus will decrease to $100 or 10K points on Monday, so you may want to do that sooner rather than later.

  6. CanadianMillionMiler

    The regular MileagePLus Explorer card comes with 50K miles, I wonder why the United MileagePlus Club Card which charges about $400 gives no signup bonus miles at all. I understand that the Club Card gives out unlimited lounge uses and waived close-in fee for booking award tickets less than 21 days. However, if they really want to compete for the market share against Amex Platinum charge card, I think they should consider giving out a limitrd time 100K UA miles signing bonus that Amex Plat has run in the past. If they do, I don’t mind paying the annual fee.

  7. @CanadianMillionMiler- I’m with you 100% on the United MP Club Card. Where’s the bonus?
    Great post Daraius! I enjoyed the read.

    • @bluto – I suspect we’ll see additional sweeteners (bonuses) for the really high spenders or bonuses tied to multiple purchases above a minimum level.

      @ji – I’d say the beginning of the end is when credit card bonuses makes the front page of TIME magazine. But I see your point!

      @Grant – Do whatever works best for you. It does take a bit of time to track the cards and cancellations which is why a lot of folks don’t do it.

      @CanadianMillionMiler @Noob Traveler – I agree – show us the miles! But I still think a lot of folks will get the cards – especially folks who use United lounges and find the fee waived offer for the 1st year in the lounge.

      @egwg – You could do them a few days apart too or together. Either way, you’ll have to make separate calls to the reconsideration line to get approved. And you may need to reallocate credit lines or cancel a card to get approved for another one.

  8. @Daraius – for Chase cards, do you recommend applying for a business & personal card on the same day? for example, the Ink Bold + Hyatt/United. I already have 4 personal cards from chase and the last chase application was in September 2011.

  9. I’m a bit curious has anyone applied to the Chase Freedom card then a few days later do the Sapphire Preferred? I’m hoping to make the Sapphire Preferred my last card to apply for a bit but I”m also tempted to walk into a Chase branch to open a checking account (mainly to get the 10% bonus on Freedom base pts and 10 pts each transaction) but also want to move the UR pts from Freedom to Sapphire to Priority Club. I’m thinking of just opening the checking acct now and have the personal banker open a sapphire preferred.

  10. Thanks Daraius. I actually got the Freedom approved from the recon line (after 3 calls over a 4 day span) but think I’ll have to do this over again with the Sapphire. I was thinking I could by pass that by using a Chase banker to open a checking and sapphire for me. =)

  11. Chase has been very good about working with me to get new cards approved after initial rejection. Mainly I have been willing/happy to move around credit lines or close cards I wasn’t using anymore. Plan to apply for the Hyatt card at the end of the month and close the BA card since the annual fee will come up in May.

    Citi has been good about waiving annual fees. I called to close both the AA visa and amex cards this month and they offered to waive the fee on the amex card if I made 5 transactions within 3 months. The AA card they just offered me a straight out $85 statement credit and some sort of convoluted bonus miles thing…I think it is 750 bonus miles for every month I put $750 on the card. So basically 2x miles. But I prefer these days to use my Sapphire.

    Having a bunch of cards does require some vigilance. But if you are a “good” customer they seem to be willing to do things to keep you as a cardholder.

  12. I recall one tip from an OG blogger to keep track of cancelling cards before the anniversary is to just look at the expiry month and call the retention dept the month before, seems simple enough. One question I have though is, if you are going to apply for a new card near the time an annual fee is due on an unrelated card (different bank/airline/etc.), is it better to close that card before or after you apply? CW says the higher avail credit the better, but it also says the more cards you have, the higher credit risk you are.

  13. @Dbest- the number of cards doesnt make you a higher credit risk its the total amount of credit they extend you on those cards. If you want to close a chase card NEVER do so without first moving the credit line to another card. You simply are taking a great option to hand the reconsideration team (moving back credit line to open a new card) if you do so

  14. Frankly I’ve been amazed at the amount of free-mileage deals, especially the ones without substantial spend requirements. And frankly I wish they’d cut back on them because it’s getting harder and harder to actually use the miles for anything.

    • @Grant – The advantage of opening it at the bank is that your banker will get a commission if you’re approved so it will help build a relationship with him/her. This may be important if you’re going to be in the branch often etc.

      @RakSiam – I agree – the banks seem happy to provide incentives to sign up new customers and to keep them as customers. And it does take time to track everything!

      – Having high available credit will lower your utilization ratio, and increase your score, but having a lot of available credit increases the likelihood that banks may be concerned that you’ll go on spending binge and not pay it back. I usually call the reconsideration line and ask them to close the card whose annual fee is coming due (I don’t fly British Airways any more so let’s close that card) and ask them to transfer the credit line to my new card.

      @mike fein – Thanks for helping out!

      @Killington – Another reason why it is getting harder to use miles is because of airline mergers which have reduced excess capacity which makes it harder to get award flights.

  15. Thanks Mike and Darius, but my question was about when the banks are different. For example, an AMEX card is coming up for renewal and you also want to apply for a new CHASE card. Obviously you can’t use the AMEX card as a bargaining chip with CHASE, so do you close it first? And how far in advance so it shows closed on your credit report? Thanks.

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  17. hi darius, im interested in doing the churn for two browser trick for the citi AA visa / amex. without question i think citi AA will definitely be one of the cards i use the two browser trick. do you recommend doing the second application also citi AA or would you recommend the citi premier thank you card? it is also listed as a hot deal under your page and i cant seem to make up my mind on which 2 cards i should do. please help! thanks!

    • @sash – I’d definately get BOTH AA cards at the same time. Otherwise you’re unable to get the 2nd AA personal card for at least 18 months. I’d do 2 Citi AA cards now and then do the Citi Thank You Premier later on. The AA cards are good for international travel while the Citi Thank You Premier will give you $665 worth of free flights without blackout dates which are good for flights within the US.

  18. that was a great answer darius, i never thought of it as not being able to apply to the same offer until 18months! it totally slipped my mind. thanks for the new perspective!! i applied to the chase ink bold monday with your link, and opted for the chase BA card at the same time through the flyertalk forum (the one without the spending limitations to get 100k points with $75 fee twice), but if it wasnt for the spending threshold i would have gladly used your link for chase BA as well! thanks again!

  19. I recently got a new MileagePlus Explorer card from Chase with the promotion of 50K bonus miles after spending $2000 in the first 3 months. As I applied for the card, the promotion got changed to 30K bonus miles after spending $1000 in the first 3 months. I tried to get numerous agents to make sure that I get the correct mileage reward upon signup, but none of them were willing to guarantee anything. After I got my new MileagePlus card, I spent more than $2000 in the first month, but got awarded only 30K bonus miles. The shortchange in the mileage meant that I was not able to get the Mileage Plus award ticket in time when I needed to book just one more ticket to travel with my family of four to Europe. I explained this to a Chase MileagePlus card agent Ruth Hayes, and got her to help me appeal for the correction in my award of bonus miles. She actually made it happen for me in 2-3 days, so that I was able to get the tickets I need. Ruth was professional and courteous on the phone and clearly someone who wanted to help out her customers. I wanted to commend her for that. People like her put out a good name for the banking industry. It is incidents like these which breed loyalty from customers, not just ads and promotions. I hope Chase bank can understand the importance of having agents like Ruth who really work hard to help their customers. Their service is invaluable.

  20. I am already a Chase Mileage Plus Club Card holder however I am trying to use the benefit of the LHRC hotel reservation system. I have been on hold for over one hour with various departments non of whom are aware of what this benefit is!!!!! I received my Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection directory yesterday and was trying to make a reservation for a hotel in Hawaii but had some questions and did not want to do it on line. The number listed in the cover letter that came with this directory is 1-866-973-2912, when I called it I waited on hold for 45 minutes and then the young man who answered said I did not qualify because they don’t do club cards!!!! I was transferred to three other departments including I have currently been on hold with some other department for and additional 30 minutes. Does anyone there know what department or who I should be speaking with? This seems like a lot of work for me to get one free breakfast!!! I just remembered why I never use the concierge service because I believe this was the same routine. It makes you wonder if there is such a department as the Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection or if this is just another gimmick to get you to sign up for this card
    If you have any insight into how to contact either of these departments please let me know. Thanks