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« They're not playing games | Main | Prepaid could be, should be, great »

Top and bottom

By Dave Birch posted May 4 2011 at 2:18 PM

I just applied for yet another credit card, this time because I fancied a contactless Amex ExpressPay card to play with (I already have contactless Visa PayWave and contactless MC PayPass cards). When I read this...

MBNA today announced that the first American Express-branded, contactless credit cards in the UK will be issued for use by MBNA's customers.

[From MBNA introduces contactless Amex card in UK]

...naturally I couldn't resist applying. The online process was pretty painless, I have to say, and my card is apparently going to arrive in 5-7 business days. Excellent. American Express marketing has been a bit of a theme for me recently. A few days ago the morning's junk mail included a new special offer from American Express. Now, my British Airways American Express card is my top of wallet card, for about the first four months of the year. That's because it gives you BA miles -- which are not much of an incentive -- and a free BA companion ticket -- which is a great incentive -- once you have spent £10,000 in a year. But you can only have one. So like, I'm sure, many other who travel on business, l spend £10,000 on the BA Amex card to get the companion ticket and then I go back to using my "Middle-Class Maestro": the John Lewis MasterCard that I pay off in full every month. This delivers an excellent 1% cashback in the form of John Lewis vouchers that are valid in Waitrose.

Anyway, I got some junk mail from Amex which says that if I go and register my Amex card at some website and then use it in eight different stores before the end of June then... sorry, I lost interest at this point and threw it into the recycling bin. It was only when I got home in the evening after a meeting with a card marketing specialist today that I determined to retrieve it and read it. As it transpires, the offer was that if I go and register my card at a particular web site and then I use it in eight of the stores listed in the leaflet before the end of June then I get a bonus 2,400 BA miles. But surely, I thought, their computer would have noticed that I stopped using the card as soon as I had the companion ticket. If BA miles were an incentive to me, then I'd still be using it, so clearly they are not. The bottom line is that I don't understand card marketing and have absolutely no idea what the marketing people are thinking about when they come up with their special promotions. For example...

KFC outlets have been promoting the cards, ranging in value from $10 to $500 and to be used within 12 months, as a "thoughtful gift idea for any occasion''... Preventative Health Taskforce chair Professor Rob Moodie said he was shocked when he learned about KFC's latest marketing ploy. "It's marketing gone berserk,'' he said.

[From Fury over $500 KFC gift cards as nation battles obesity crisis | News.com.au]

Personally, I think that marketing may well have started off beserk, but I get his point.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

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