Meeting the Chase Team in San Francisco

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On Tuesday, I (along with few other affiliates) was invited to meet with the folks from Chase at the Top of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francisco.  Gary from View from the Wing and Geoff from Noob Traveler also attended the event and it was nice to catch up with them and trade notes!

I redeemed 25,000 United miles (no prizes for guessing how I got those miles!) for a coach award ticket to San Fransisco and the retail price of that non-stop flight (Only United flies non-stop from Kansas City) was $1,000+.


I’ve always thought that Chase was the bank which most understands what consumers want and which designs credit card products in such a way that even if your intention was to get the card for just the sign-up bonus, you invariably end up using the card because of a good category bonus (like 2X points on travel or dining with the Sapphire Preferred) or features like no foreign transaction fees.

It turns out that this isn’t a coincidence and Chase specifically designs products to get consumers to apply and use their cards (engagement being the marketing buzz word used).  I know that there are lots of good Chase cards which I still have to apply for!  And I use my Chase cards more than my other cards.

Over the past few years, Chase has assembled a team of American Express credit card veterans right from Gordon Smith (co-head of consumer & community banking) to Eileen Serra (CEO of Chase card services) and the general managers of some of their credit card businesses.  And the results have been phenomenal.  Chase is the #1 Visa card issuer in the world and the leading card issuer in the US.

There’s also been increased funding for customer service and getting as many  customer questions resolved in their first contact with Chase.  I’ve been very impressed with the Chase customer service & reconsideration telephone representatives together with the secure message responses, and it looks like this investment has been paying off.  Readers also comment that Chase is usually very responsive to their queries.

The big takeaway from the meeting was that affiliates would be held to higher standards than before to ensure the accuracy of the card sign up bonus, spending requirements, etc.  This makes sense because Chase wants to ensure that the consumer is not mislead.  Capital One and AMEX recently settled with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for millions of dollars for misleading offers, which certainly helps concentrate the mind.

This means that affiliates can’t share information on when an offer will be updated or of upcoming changes unless those changes are publicly announced on the Chase website or application page as well.  I only hope that Chase makes these details public on their website so that I can then share them with you!

To be clear, Chase has not had and will not have any control over what I write.  And I will still promote offers which are either better than my affiliate links (like the statement credits with the Marriott and Hyatt cards) or which are the best offers available like the 50,000 point Southwest card.

More and more consumers are using mobile devices to access the web and Chase is developing specific links and application forms for folks who want to apply for a credit card using their phone!  I’ve been working on the Million Mile Secrets web app for the iPhone and mobile website for smartphones as well, so please email or comment with your feedback!  I’ve been surprised at how many folks access Million Mile Secrets primarily through a smartphone.

I also learned that Chase has a customer support Twitter handle @ChaseSupport.  I haven’t tested this out as yet, but folks who tweet with a question will get a response within working hours if the question is general.  Or you will get a direct number to the Twitter customer resolution team, if it involves personal information which can’t be tweeted.  Hmmm, I wonder if they will be able to reconsider applications as well!  🙂

I didn’t come away with any juicy tips on new offers or increased sign-up bonuses.  But I did come away impressed with the genuine curiosity & passion of the Chase managers at the event to truly understand their consumers and affiliates.  Often companies in leadership positions or who dominate an industry tend to be aloof and arrogant, but I didn’t get that impression from Chase.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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49 responses to “Meeting the Chase Team in San Francisco

  1. Chase sucks and I do everything in my power to not let them get a dime from me.

  2. @Daniel, everything in your power must include passing up tremendous signup and category bonuses. Nobody is forcing you to do business with anyone, but yours is distinctly a minority view at this blog.

    I agree with the comments about customer service. I’m always speaking to a live, informed human within a couple of rings when I call Chase, which is practically unknown among the many companies I do business with. There are some companies in some fields that I avoid because I know I would be sentencing myself to endless hold times trying to talk to anyone.

  3. Very well reasoned argument, Dan.

    You’ve convinced me–I will no longer partake in Chase’s numerous 50,000 mile promotions.

  4. In Daniel’s defense (why I’m doing that I’m not sure), Chase is one of the most expensive banks to have a regular old checking account with, charging monthly fees on their basic accounts unless certain standards are met that can be tough to clear if you’re underemployed, in college, or just plain broke.

    Checking accounts are most people’s first experience with a bank, and most people fall into one of the aforementioned categories when they open their first checking account. If you have the perception that you’re getting gouged by a business at a young age, your opinion of said business is likely to never improve.

  5. I have a question on engagement: have they figured out how to make those of us with CSP and, say, the MP Explorer, use the latter beyond the bonus? Ie, could the category bonuses or promotIons change? Genuinely curious on this.

  6. That’s the point, I have 6 Chase cards and I totally screw them by not paying a cent of interest or fees.

  7. I’m not a big Chase fan either but I will certainly apply for their credit cards.

  8. Everyone’s situation is different. With that being said, I have be completely impressed and satisfied with Chase from a product standpoint and a customer service standpoint. They have matched all signup offers if I received a lesser offer than someone else and always helpful and friendly on the phone. Let’s face it, Chase is a lender and if you are responsible borrower then it works out to be a great relationship. The signup bonuses are killer and the cards are great! For example, i signed up for the United Mileage Plus card and have amassed 65K bonus miles from the card which I am now taking a RT flight to Thailand with a nice stopover in Dubai all for the signup bonus! Cheers to Chase!

  9. Hi D,

    Have u now been a chase affiliate – working for Chase?
    Are we expecting that you will not share links and tips anymore?

  10. I was having the same thought as Paul – if you’re considered an affiliate now, and you’re not allowed to share any Chase info that they don’t make public anyway, doesn’t that kind of eliminate the “Secrets” part of MMS?

    I’m a fan of the website and find it to be extremely useful, but from the sound of this post I’m worried that your affiliations may lead to watered down content in the future.

  11. Chase is not a user friendly company. Their personnel read from scripts in a monotone voice and can’t answer any questions that there isn’t a script for. About 5 years ago after the birth of my son I missed a payment with chase and got a late fee. I called to have the late fee reversed since I had never been late on a payment in my life. Instead of reversing my late fee I got a lecture on how Chase is a bank and banks are in the business to make money and if you look at their last quarter report they were the only bank to make money. Needless to say about 6 months after that the stock market crashed thanks to banks like Chase.

  12. It sounds like he just cannot say if offers will be changing or when offers have to be pulled from his site/expire thats all. Doesnt appear to be any major change to his content due to this meeting folks.

  13. I’ve just signed up for a chase checking acct because of the $200 bonus offer that I have gotten in the mail several times over the last couple of years. I was indeed shocked to see the fees. Basically you have to park $1500 in an account to avoid quite a hefty fee. They do have an acct that is free if you are an enrolled college student, though.
    The reason I finally took advantage of the offer is that I keep randomly hearing people say nice things about chase. I know it’s totally anecdotal, but after hearing a few people tell stories about particularly nice chase employees who helped them through a problem to the extent that they considered above and beyond, I figured it was worth the hassle to get the $200. If I like them as much as some do, then I might just want to move my banking there.
    Obviously they haven’t seemed that great to everyone, as evidenced by comments above though. 🙂
    PS I think MMS has been an “affiliate” for quite a while. that’s what they call it when you get a little kickback from people using your referral link. So, I don’t think we’ll see any change except that all bloggers that have referral links seem to be forbidden from explicitly giving an end date on an offer.

  14. Jamie,
    The only “catch” to that free $200.00 is that at the end of the year you receive a 1099-INT form from the bank to claim that money as income.

  15. Daniel (not the same as above)

    @L Isn’t all interest considered income?

  16. Daniel (not the same as above)

    Scratch that, I see now. They’re counting the $200 on the 1099-INT

  17. Chase as a Bank…… Not for me.

    Chase as a credit card company…… Been Great for ME. (As one who Always pays on time and never late)

    Chase and all other credit card companies…. SIMPLY Financially Devastating if you Pay Late, Go over limits, or miss payments….As my wife did before we were married. She paid HUGE Interest and fees. MANY MANY Thousands.

    Like anything else, if you have the money and are super responsible you win. Otherwise you lose. That’s life. Make it work for you.

  18. Maybe this is a bit off topic, but I started churning last July and I’m curious why banks allow people to get thousands of dollars of benefits through sign up bonuses and not pay a cent in interest or late fees and do it all over again every 18-24 months. Although we’ve had Chase checking and savings for years, it sure seems like I’m getting a lot more than they’re getting from use of my savings and transaction fees on my cards. And all Citi and Amex get from me is the transaction fees for the minimum spend which certainly don’t pay for the signup bonuses. Anybody know why they allow churning?

  19. @ Paul … They allow churning as long as a person is responsible and pays their bills. We talk about paying on in full on this website, but honestly credit card companies don’t care about that. They care about the rate at which people pay them. If you pay them then they will give you as much credit as they are allowed to give you for your income. I just applied for the Chase SW reward cards to work toward my companion pass and they gave me an 11k credit limit. It is all about payment history to them. Remember, the majority of applications are approved by a computer using a formula based on your credit report. It is not until a glitch happens that you have to talk to a represenative to give a clarification that a human looks at your report.

  20. I just started with the credit card bonuses last year, but in my limited experience, AmEx is much more of a hassle to deal with than Chase, Citi, or Barclays.

    Chase has actually been really easy to deal with as far as moving credit lines around to open new cards, etc. As far as the credit cards go, I think Chase is far above and beyond the others in being the best for what “we” tend to do here.

  21. L,
    I don’t get why you’re furious with Chase for charging you a fee when you missed a payment. You claim you had never missed one before. What does that have to do with it? You knew the rules and agreed to abide by them. Why did you expect a free pass? Chase *is* a business, and not there to help the disenfranchised or those just starting out.

    Personally I have never paid a penny in checking account fees, and I just flew round trip to Europe on their credit card points. But I spent some years getting to this point, I didn’t expect this treatment when I was young and broke.

    • @harvson3 – That’s a good question and I suspect the additional 10K United miles after spending $25K within 1 calendar year (so 1.4 united miles per $1 spent if you spend $25K on the card) might be the enticement. To be fair, that is a lot of spending, but could be worth it for some folks to pay large tax bills or other expenses on the United card. It also offers primary car rental insurance which the Sapphire Preferred doesn’t. And most regular folks (that is not the average frequent flyer) prefer having fewer cards than more cards, so if they have a United card they likely use it without regard to other potentially better offers available. But the benefits on the Sapphire Preferred are tough to beat!

      @Paul E @Bob Roberts @Troy – I’ve been a Chase affiliate for over a year, but am not a Chase employee. What this means is that I get paid a commission if you’re approved for some (but not all Chase cards on the blog). I constantly promote offers which aren’t available elsewhere and which are better than my affiliate linked (like the statement credits with the Hyatt and Marriott cards & the Chase Air Tran 32 credit or Southwest 50K offers) and you can expect that to continue.

      As Troy & jamie commented, I can’t share confidential information on changes to future offers unless that information is publicly disclosed, but Chase has been enforcing that policy with all affiliates.

  22. “The signup bonuses are killer and the cards are great!” +1

    “Chase is far above and beyond the others in being the best for what “we” tend to do here.” +1

    “Instead of reversing my late fee I got a lecture on how Chase is a bank and banks are in the business to make money”

    I can’t speak about 5 years ago, but last year I missed a payment because the not waved annual fee hit before I had used the card. I didn’t know it was due because I was out of the country. The CSR was very nice and immediately waved the fee for me. He also made sure there was no record on my credit report and my Chase record of a late payment, which was my chief concern.

    Chase can afford to be so generous with their bonuses, and pay for such great CSR service, because they are also very very smart about how they run their business. And we are just now beginning to find out how true that is:

    “affiliates would be held to higher standards than before”

    Lets be honest about what this really means. Not unique to D, it means that Chase is now going to control, and ultimately censor, what affiliate bloggers post. They can do this precisely because their cards are so numerous and so generous in sign up bonuses that no major professional blogger can go without their affiliate links.

    If we want to hear about leaks of information about deals expiring, or better deals soon to be available, in fact anything Chase doesn’t want us to know about, we are going to have to find a non-affiliate blog for that sort of information. D, Gary, MP and all other Chase affiliate bloggers will no longer be allowed to alert us anything not Chase friendly.

    Does this mean that soon Chase will be telling them not to include links to unofficial and targeted apps? Probably to not even mention that they exist? And to not post work arounds like the two browser trick that they would prefer we not know about? A tough decision for bloggers, who used to be free to post whatever they wanted, since they don’t get paid anything to post about unofficial links. Yet those sort of posts are a major reason people are drawn to their blogs in the first place, and they know it. D and Gary tell us this on a regular basis:

    “I constantly promote offers which aren’t available elsewhere and which are better than my affiliate linked”.

    Apparently D hasn’t been forced to agree to stop doing this yet, but my guess is that he and every other Chase affiliate will be brought in line soon. And then forbidden to even tell us about it. :>(

    Instead, I’m afraid we are going to be reading more and more of this sort of thing: “I use my Chase cards more than my other cards”…. 😀

    @RomsDeals: I recommend you change the name of your blog to RomsNonAffiliateBlog. Then we can all go there for the info that Chase won’t let their affiliates post. Until that brings you so many readers that Chase makes you an offer too good to turn down. Then we’ll have to look elsewhere again. Sigh……

  23. So, still whoring yourself, eh? Nothing like a few $ to turn somebody into a corporate flack…

  24. @ Doug

    Excuse me for having a baby. Stupid me! Get your story straight. I am not furious with them nor did I act furious with them in my post. I just think it is a little bit funny them giving me a lecture about their company and then them being part of the stock market crash for writing loans they should never have in the first place.

  25. @Ron
    What is wrong with D making some money for the advice he writes here? He is among the best about being consistent with providing the best possible offer even when it does not bring him money. Of all the big bloggers, I think he is at the top with original content and research. That takes a lot of time to do that and there is no reason he shouldn’t get reimbursed. Do you want to give Google the money for the app? Fine, because someone is always making money from your credit app.

  26. First, even as a “competitor”, I love MMS. Darius really does it right.

    Maybe I can shed a bit more light on the situation a a former Chase affiliate. Chase pays well and I don’t fault anyone for taking their money. Chase is also one of the biggest and best provider of bonus cards so running a travel/card blog without them is very difficult economic proposition.

    I was an affiliate for a while before they changed their definition of “compliance”. Chase, very reasonably, wants to ensure that their affiliates aren’t providing incorrect information since it is bad for their brand and they can be considered responsible for what the blogger writes. Originally, this was mostly focused on interest rates. Since bloggers like Darius and myself don’t focus there, I just didn’t talk about interest rates and was pretty much left alone. Over the past year or so, they have started requesting that affiliates use Chase’s exact marketing copy to describe an offer. This makes sense for the credit card list sites out there that are don’t add value other than simple sorting algorithms. For the ‘hacking’ blogs, this is a big issue.

    For a long-time they had very inconsistent enforcement of what that meant. I sucked it up for a while and always tried to make sure that I quoted their marketing copy in addition to my analysis. You will notice that my site still has “Issuer’s Highlights” which is a direct feed of the bank’s marketing copy. Chase would often send me compliance requests. In cases where I was able to reword something without losing any of the meat for my readers, I would. For example, something like “if you cancel in month 11, there is no annual fee” would become “there is no annual fee the first year and no requirement to renew”. Eventually, I had to stop complying with their requests to maintain the site’s integrity and we parted ways. I was also disappointed that Chase kept putting better offers in the non-affiliate channel, leaving honest bloggers like Darius and myself to promote the non-paying offer for free.

    Note that I still believe (up to today, at least) that MMS has extreme integrity and I think Darius has been able to leverage his greater size to fight back against some of Chase’s more unfair requests. I do worry that it will be more difficult for him to do so in the future and he may face a similar difficult choice one day.

    In my case, I have curtailed my postings a lot since losing Chase since my blog has effectively become non-profit and, as much as I love writing about travel hacking, I need to focus on providing for my daughter. Hopefully, we can find a better revenue model one day.


  27. “To be clear, Chase has not had and will not have any control over what I write. And I will still promote offers which are either better than my affiliate links”…

    Gosh, I didn’t see this the first time I read this post. Did I somehow just miss the most important paragraph in it, or was it added due to my prior comment? If the latter, it seems a direct response to my comment would have been called for instead. Now my comment seems to be in direct conflict with the post, which was not intended. However, we all know this statement is not completely true. Chase will not allow you to post how much compensation you receive from signups. That’s in your contract with them. Probably not to keep that number from your readers, but from other affiliates who may be getting less. Not to mention other banks they are competing with for signups.

    As you just commented: “I can’t share confidential information on changes to future offers unless that information is publicly disclosed”. So, yes, Chase DOES have some control over what you write. Which up to now was limited to “confidential” details they directly disclosed to you. But reading between the lines on this post, I think Chase just told you that is going to change. They had you fly cross country to talk with them in person ie. no paper trail, and no email record of it either. As you said: “The big takeaway from the meeting was that affiliates would be held to higher standards.” And we all know you have had impecible standards in your presentation of cc deals. So obviously they meant “Chase’s standards”, as Chase chooses to define them. And neither you nor I know exactly how far they intend to go with this.

    To begin with, they want you to “ensure the accuracy of the card sign up” offers. How can you ensure the accuracy of “expired” or “targeted” links, that weren’t yours in the first place? Of course, you can’t, that’s why you always add the disclaimer “Not my link, so take a screenshot before applying.”. But I doubt they explicitly ordered you to not post those sort of links anymore.

    I doubt they will ever give anyone direct orders on what to not post. That would make it too easy for someone to sue them. Rather eventually, after discretely letting bloggers know about the things they don’t like to see posted, they will drop someone from the affiliate program without explanation. The way they cut off accounts to cardholders who overdo Office Depot purchases without telling them why. The same way that AMEX puts the “fear of God” into us with their unexplained financial reviews. This will “certainly help concentrate the mind” of every other affiliate blogger. Not knowing what the actual limits are, but feeling the pressure from Chase, they will begin to self-censor in order not to be dropped from the affiliate program themselves. Every post about Chase will be preceded by the thought: ‘will this get me dropped?’ Not just on MMS, on every blog with Chase affiliate links.

    I certainly didn’t mean to disparage your integrity. My comment was about what I expect Chase to do, not any dishonesty on your part. In fact, I should have added: ‘Props to D for at least posting about this. Since both Gary and Geoff were there too, and haven’t mentioned it.’ In fact, Gary did a long post yesterday on “Travel Blogs and Credit Card Signup Bonuses”, which would have been an obvious place to mention it. But he didn’t, and you did.

    Update: While I was writing the above, Dave posted about his having to drop out of the Chase program, due to their heavy handed “compliance requests”. And how that basically killed his blog due to greatly reduced income. Exactly the sort of thing I was expecting to see happen in the near future. But turns out to have been already going on for some time. Which of course reinforces everything I’ve said in my comments. Sigh….

  28. I didn’t mention the event in that post because I wrote the post before the event 🙂 Actually I wrote it on the plane to SFO, just set it to publish the next morning because it wasn’t time-sensitive. Hah.

    And I didn’t decide to do a post on the event because it wasn’t all that enlightening, mostly social (I had one glass of wine, never got around to any of the food, and did receive a gift bag out of which I only brought back the Chase thumb drive and Chase hand sanitizer).

    No real revelations. No efforts to influence content, in fact I’ve been explicitly told that as long as everything is accurate that’s fine (with the exception that if they share in confidence that a link will not work after X day because the offer will no longer be available, they ask that it not be shared, which strikes me as reasonable).

  29. @Gary: I’m not questioning your ethics, I have no questions about that at all. Over and over I have seen how even when you get a special rate, such as RC in Grand Cayman, you are quite willing to tell it how you really see it. In that case, it’s not worth a fraction of what they charge, and probably not a place I’d want to stay at any price. I actually think you could easily get more minor benefits than you allow yourself without being biased at all. And I certainly didn’t think you got anything of value from the affiliate meeting. On the contrary, it sounded like Chase was calling affiliate bloggers in to read them the riot act.

    So I do have a question about that meeting just being a social get together of no consequence. Did Daraius really fly halfway across the country for a social get together? My intuition was that Chase was sending out a signal that Blogs had better get aligned with Chase’s way of doing things, or else. That suspicion seemed to be confirmed by Dave’s post. Then again, I don’t know Dave, and haven’t seen his blog. Maybe that was some of that disinformation I’ve read about people posting to discredit bloggers? His comment sounded pretty credible to me, but maybe I’m just being paraniod.

    Requests that you not disclose corporate information shared with you in confidence seem quite reasonable to me too. Are you saying that you haven’t experienced any of the “compliance requests” he posted about? I’d like to think you are so famous and successful they know they can’t push you around and so don’t even try. But what would be the point of going after the little fish, and letting the major blogs like yours continue on unhindered?

  30. I hear that there’s no attempt to influence the content….. but then you look at this post MMS wrote

    Couple it with the fact you traveled across the country (in Dariaus case, halfway), and the “obvious” in me thinks it wasn’t as innocent as you’re making it out to be

  31. Well, Chase customer service is definitely one of the best. I got Freedom card early last year and got 35K bonus points. But I was new to all miles and points at that time and immediately redeemed for $350 cash.
    Now that I understand it better, I realized I wasted 35K points. I sent a secure message to Chase and after few iterations, they refunded me 35000 points and deducted $350 from my account. Note that I got it reversed after about 8 months!!
    If you play it right, use the right words and expressions, they are helpful. If you go argue that they have to do it, they won’t.

  32. @Picmeup You got them to reverse your mistake 8 months later? That’s just awesome. I thought my experience with their CSRs was really good, but nothing like that. Wow ! They really want us to love them, and how could you not?

  33. @Lenny I have the greatest respect for both Daraius and Gary. Their blogs have enriched my life beyond anything I can express. I’d be willing to “bet dollars to donuts” that they are as honest as anyone I’ve ever known. My questions here are not about them, they are about Chase, which is the 800 lb gorilla in travel blog land.

    So, yeah, Daraius cashed in 25K miles, and flew not United, but United commuter SkyWest, for over 4 hours. Leaving, by the way, at 7:45 am. Meaning getting up at what, 4 am to make that flight? For a social gathering, that wasn’t, oh no, not mandatory. Just a chance to hang out with Gary, while Gary had one drink and despite a cross country trip, no food. Gary just got a thumb drive and a hand sanitizer.

    If I was a skeptical person, I’d think this was a command performance event, and they were ordered not to discuss the content of the meeting, and to downplay it’s significance. In line with what Dave told us in his prior comment. But I’m not that sort, so I’m sure Gary flew cross-country just to share a drink with Daraius and replenish his hand sanitizer supply. 😀

  34. Here’s why Chase is winning in a nutshell. The Sapphire Preferred is free, then $95, you talk to a human immediately and has great transfer partners that don’t charge fuel surcharges, for the most part. Meanwhile, the AmEx Platinum is $450 every year and you don’t talk to a human immediately, in fact they don’t even recognize your phone and you have to confirm them mucho information to start a conversation. Cheaper product, better benefits and better service – not hard to wonder why the Platinum is a no spend card and the Sapphire is a spend a lot card.

    The only reason I got the platinum was to use half of the 100k signal bonus and put that towards the annual bill. Otherwise, you are basically getting cash back rewards and lounge access which is decent.

  35. Chase can go ahead and suck a fat dick. they are the absolute worst company on the planet.

  36. This was just a social event. I did not have any meetings with Chase outside of the reception. I was not commanded to appear, I was invited and said sure. Hey, it’s early in the year and I need EQMs. I’ll have internet and seat power so I can work inflight. And a one-night stay is perfect to get me started on my hotel status, too. Plus I was in San Francisco a week and a half prior, I reviewed the Hyatt Regency. This time I would review the Grand Hyatt and compare.

    I went to a Chase event this past June, and it was great, heads of a ton of the different credit card portfolios and lots of learning out of those conversations, since there were so many great discussions there I figured this was worth going to also. There were fewer card reps in attendance at this one, the Disney team was there and someone from the Marriott Rewards cards for instance. Sapphire was there which was good but most of the conversation I had there was about customer service rather than benefits.

    The only notes I can recall getting regarding my posts are actually helpful — when offers have died but I still have dead links, hey could you remove those?

    They have never tried to influence my content and told me that they don’t intend to or believe it would be appropriate for them to try. I can’t speak to what conversations they’ve had with other bloggers. I do know they’ve stopped working with some bloggers, the explanation they gave me was that they reviewed the sites they were working with and felt some weren’t good fits for them. I don’t know what that means. As far as I can tell most were just smaller sites, hence talk of a ‘quota’ — if you don’t have much traffic you aren’t generating many signups for them and there is overhead in their paying attention to make sure posts aren’t misleading consumers (I have never heard of any kind quota myself). They really just seem concerned with making sure folks aren’t mislead about annual fees, interest rates, that signup bonuses aren’t oversold — there’s real risk to them right now in the new regulatory regimes it seems.

    I suppose it’s possible that there’s all this stuff circling around and no one has told me about it. But I haven’t experienced any of it.

    • Folks, you’re reading too much into the meeting. Like Gary points out, the only request was to not share confidential information provided to affiliates on when an offer may be changing. I like to travel and I like to eat so a few days in San Fransisco using miles to get there wasn’t the worst use of my time in winter. I also need Hyatt stay credits for Diamond status so I paid for a room at the Grand Hyatt (Chase didn’t pay for travel or for writing the post or to attend the event). On the way back, my flight was first cancelled so I got another Hyatt stay credit, and I got bumped on my flight back so I came back with $400 in United vouchers & $50 in food vouchers at the airport (SFO has nice airport food!) which made the net cost of my trip ~$200 including hotel, food and transport.

      I understand your concern over the blog content, but why don’t you wait and see if I stop writing about “other” Chase offers, or if I still mention them etc. I don’t intend to change (nor have I been asked) to curtail any type of content on the blog, so you can expect no changes.

  37. @Robert – you can fix that by checking out my blog at (sorry Darius, I know its bad form to put it in a comment, but he gave me a lay up).

    Sorry if my tone implied anything bad about Chase or MMS, that was no my intent. As a consumer, I love Chase (not every interaction with them, but on the whole).

    As a blogger, there just is a major difference in how Chase handles large and small sites. They are probably willing to have someone with a brain actually read MMS looking for inaccuracies. With a more medium size site it would be a more automated check by an intermediary to verify that you weren’t saying anything outside their marketing copy. They also certainly have sales expectations and will cut you for not hitting them.

    While, I think this will be a challenge for Darius going forward, his integrity has been so high to date, that I think he will make the right choices for his readers in the future. In cases where he is being influence, he will probably let us know through articles such as this one or with his post headings on what he is getting paid for.

  38. Chase may never have ” have any control over what [you] write,” but there is an effect on how you review the hand that feeds you. Would you ever lash out against Chase if they wronged you in a customer service scenario? I doubt it. Would you ever be put in this scenario? Probably not, since you undoubtedly get preferential treatment as a prominent blogger. Just saying, the big banks know how to play the game of marketing their products. You have a great blog, but if a high proportion of your income comes from one bank, you will be biased. I would be.

  39. @Dave: “his integrity has been so high to date”

    You know, besides ripping stuff off from Frequent Miler, FlyerTalk, etc. and not crediting, and breaking a trip down into 40 parts to maximize the opportunity to post CC affiliate links. So besides that, yes, his integrity is unmatched!

  40. @ Gary and Daraius OK, if you say so, I’ll believe you as long as the nature of your blogs remain the same as now. I of course want to believe that all is fine, and that I will continue to get the same high quality, life enhancing miles and points info that I have gotten from both of you the past several years. Since it appears my concern was indeed misplaced, I apoligize for your having to take time away from more productive pursuits to answer my comments. Even though I use your links whenever possible, that doesn’t begin to repay the value I’ve gotten from your blogs.

  41. I can’t recall where I first saw this link, I think on FT, but it may inform the discussion:

  42. I have nothing better to do with my life…

  43. Sorry guys, you all are reading way too much into this.

    I personally know that other bloggers who have affiliates with Chase, and these social events are huge networking opportunities. Perhaps Gary and Geoff didn’t post about it because it literally wasn’t that big of a deal. It’s not every readers’ business to know every single social even these bloggers go to -whether it’s just business or social. The fact is, the bloggers do inform you that they are getting paid (even if they are legally obligated to), and thousands of readers ARE benefiting from their content. They could easily sway readers to get into debt, screw up their score, and jus try to get as many signups as possible. But if you do that – they’re out of a long-term customer. They want you to stay so why would they jeopardize your opportunity to get signup bonuses for a really long time? If they were sketchy and only in it for the money, it would be a dumb business move.

  44. hey Darius, I have been a fan of your site for some time now and find it very helpful and informative (you should have received a few referrals from my apps..:)
    I think you’ve always been fair and upfront on any referrals for your links.

    But I do have a question though, I’m sure they know about your postings on vanilla cards, wells fargo and others like that to enlighten others on the ways of “perks abuse”. Was there any mention of that during the meeting? If so, can you shared what was discussed?

    • @SC – Thanks for reading and for using our links! I spoke with the marketing folks, and they didn’t bring up any of those issues. I’d guess that the folks who shut down accounts and in charge of risk management make those decisions on their own.

  45. Pingback: Vanilla Reloads Save Mart | Million Mile Secrets

  46. Brooke S Babcock

    Daraius, I really appreciate your writing! I’m aware that you take the time to study the fine print and summarize to us what we need to know. We shouldn’t expect you to reveal upcoming bonus deals before they’re officially announced. Besides, your writing is so much clearer, easier to read than that of your critics. Keep up the good work!