Tuesday, February 23, 2010

After 93 running-related posts, here's one about credit cards.

Sorry, runners, but I am just so amused (in a bitter cackling kind of way) by this letter I got in the mail from my Chase Freedom Card that I have to stop the running-related presses and blog about personal finance instead. Because this is a personal finance matter I'm taking very personally.

So this will not be a running-related post, except that it's (a) about how a bank is giving customers a "run for their money" (sorry, couldn't resist that pun, and (b) it annoys me so much I probably would benefit from a run right now.

This is what happened. Just checked the mail, and I got this pretty dark blue-and-cream letter from Chase saying that I've been "upgraded" from my current Chase Freedom Card (no annual fee; 3 points per dollar spent in your top three spending categories; redeem 200 points for a $250 check) to the new Chase Sapphire Account (1 point per dollar spent; no option to redeem 200 points for $250.) Some upgrade, huh?

I called the customer service line to refuse the upgrade (which fortunately, you can do) and had a little fun conversing with the woman about Chase's use of the word "upgrade." She explained that it was an upgrade because even though you were getting fewer points per dollar spent, you don't have to wait on hold for a long time when you call Chase if you're a Sapphire member. You get your very own "account manager" on the horn everytime! Well whoop-de-doo: I can count on my hand the number of times I've actually called Chase, today being one of them.

Also, you can get double points if you shop from Chase's Web site, which features an impressive 300 vendors. Yawn.

I said, "Yeah, but exactly how is that an upgrade? I'm busy. I already have my usual online shopping behavior. You're asking me to change how I shop, use your Web site instead, and meanwhile get fewer points for groceries, gas and Starbucks?"

Chirpily, she noted that Chase offered a price-matching system so if I found an item cheaper on another online store, they'd match it. If I called my own personal account manager to complain.

If I had time to do all this, I would really rather spend it on more important things. Like, um, my family. Sorry, lovely Chase account managers of the world, but I'd rather squeeze in another game of freeze tag with my kids than challenge you to top the deal I found on Turkish cotton sheets. No offense, of course.

I'm really annoyed. Does anyone have another no-annual-fee, high rewards yielding card they'd recommend? I'm staying "downgraded" at the Chase Freedom level for now, but they are taking away the $250 checks for 200 points for Freedom cardholders to as of March 10. So I'm looking to shop around.


  1. Ugh.

    They're all looking for ways to get around the new regulations. I'd be careful about any card I signed up for now.

    I've been happy with my Citibank Rewards card, their point system, and the customer service I've received from them ... but keep in mind they are a credit card company and therefore innately evil.

  2. I have the same credit card, although they have declined to "upgrade" me, thank goodness. I thought they already got rid of the 200 for $250 because I had saved up my points and got to about 185 before they nixed it. That really pissed me off. My mom has a Capital One card and she really likes it, she gets points/miles all the time. Maybe try that one :-/.

  3. Thanks, I'm definitely looking around for other options. Chase Freedom still does give you 3% back on the top 3 categories which might make it the best Visa, but Discover has 5%, so I might switch. It's just annoying when you have all your recurring bills on one card for many years!!