Visiting the Banks in New York

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Facebook fans know that I’ve been in New York, taking in the sights with my mom and Emily, eating more than I should, and that I’ve been meeting with our favorite banks!

If you’re not following Million Mile Secrets on Facebook, you’ve been missing out on a few Southwest discount codes, real time updates of our travels, and the occasional “I can’t believe he said that!”

It is pretty clear that banks realize that they have to ratchet down the customer acquisition cost by lowering marketing expenses which means lower commissions to affiliates and also lower sign-on bonuses.  Banks independently talk about an unsustainable “arms race” of sign-up bonuses, but are aware that a high sign-up bonus is the easiest way to get folks to apply for a new credit card.

We’re also going to see offers which require higher spending to get the full sign-on bonus (think Chase British Airways & Chase Ink Bold), offers which require you to hold the card for a second year, limited time offers to persuade folks to sign-up immediately (AMEX Business Gold and Platinum), and cards which offer a benefit which makes the card worth keeping after the 1st year (think free bags or free hotel nights with certain cards).

But I don’t see this as a bad thing.  There has to be something in it for the card issuers as well, otherwise they wouldn’t issue travel rewards cards.  As always, nothing remains the same and we’ve still got it very, very good!

Some folks were asking about a public 100,000 Chase Sapphire Preferred offer, but that just isn’t going to happen.

I can’t share everything I know (a lot of conversation was off the record), but here are some intentionally vague details and informed speculation (I also won’t be able to answer many comments or email asking for more details)!

The sign-up bonus on the British Airways card really is going away on July 18, 2012.

There may be a new business credit card (as opposed to their current charge card) coming out soon in Q3 (July to September) with a decent sign-on bonus from a bank which offers the boldest business cards in the market.

If a credit card had a history of increasing the sign-up bonuses during a certain period, that pattern may be repeated again – as early as this summer.

Banks are aware of unofficial links which offer a higher sign-up bonus (they read the blogs AND the message boards) and you may see them disappear faster than usual once their IT infrastructure is streamlined – so prioritize those offers when you apply for cards. No, I don’t earn a commission when you apply through an unofficial link, but you get more miles!

Executives realize that cards which offer points which can be transferred to airlines and hotels are attractive to consumers, so perhaps there may be some innovation in that area.

Bank are aware of “gamers” and build measures such as caps on points earned to prevent abuse by gamers, or blacklist gamers from future products.

Savvy miles and points users make up a very tiny proportion of the US population, so not all offers are designed with us in mind.

I’ve got more meetings in the morning, before I head back to Kansas, but I’ve had a wonderful time in New York!

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21 responses to “Visiting the Banks in New York

  1. Would you recommend that folks not earn too many points by spending in categories that earn 5x points? I am thinking about your comment about blacklisting gamers.

    • @bluto & @TMA – I don’t know the specific criteria which triggers these reviews, but 5X on the Freedom should be fine because of the low cap. But I wouldn’t open 6 Ink cards and max out the 5X purchases and immediately transfer the points to someone else’s account. Chase shut down a lot of AARP 5% accounts for suspected misuse of the promotion terms. At the end of the day, banks want profitable customers who use their cards, but buying gift cards to take advantage of category bonuses should be fine. Just don’t overdo it and mix in regular spending on the card.

  2. Yes, could you just elaborate on what you mean by “gamers?”

  3. Did they fly you out to NY or did you go out there anyways and just happen to stop by one of the large banks? Were there other affiliates/bloggers there too? Pretty cool either way.

  4. Nice work getting the meetings and doing some real journalism. Very interesting information.

  5. So, would say spending $1500 in a 5x category (capped at 50k annually) with $2200 monthly spending (over 25 mixed transactions/month) be considered “overdoing” it? Don’t know how people feel on that one way or another…perhaps it’s not conservative enough, perhaps it is.

  6. Ask Chase if they’ll give me some extra UR points if I don’t sign up for the MileagePlus Explorer they keep shoving in my face/inbox/mailbox. It seems too easy to just take 55K miles from them, and keep on spending on my (much better) Sapphire Preferred.

    I’m thinking of writing to them myself.

    As a general point, as a card for everyday spending, the MileagePlus Explorer has almost no appeal to United elites vs. its cousins.

  7. Have fun during your free time in NY and don’t forget to explore the outer boroughs too!

  8. Thanks for the reply, and I agree with Doug that this was an interesting read and a good example of bloggers obtaining primary news/info.

  9. I have the laugh at the “off the record” comment. you are no journalist. journalist do not take money from the people they cover.


  10. Don’t know if I agree LU, auto writers get to take the cars home all the time, drive them on a track for free, etc. Plus Daraius will tell you when his link is not the best deal, unlike some of the others.

  11. @dbest

    Does auto writer get paid for each car GM sells from
    his/her referral?

    I gave him credit for disclosing payments from banks and share better deals. (as any CPA should…..try to avoid actual and Perceived auditor independence.)

    But that doesn’t make him a journalist. It makes him a good/lucky businessman.

    the blOg provide mutual benefit to the reader, banks and the blogger.

  12. By that standard, Bloomberg doesn’t do journalism either, offering executive profiles in Business Week in exchange for exclusives on product launches. Print journalism standards don’t translate well to digital.

  13. Cool to hear the inside scoop.

  14. Was anyone you met with from Citi?

  15. This is why I don’t understand why you guys always propose these churns.

    Daraius, If you look back at my comments under calling the Reconsideration — Well, you have no idea what Chase did to me 10 days later. No idea. And no calls to any Executive Office or Portfolio Review or anywhere solved any of what was just an honest and innocent endeavor. Keep in mind, I had a great history with them and had a basic card which was always paid off since 2006 and they had approved me for all those cards they gave me in January.

    As a blogger you might be immune to such actions but others are not. I do not condone Chase doing business like this. If you have any contacts let me know.

  16. @Thunder – What exactly happened?

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