Going Through My Junk Mail
|November 10, 2011||Filled under Cash Back, Credit Cards, Frequent Flyer Miles|
Anyone with a permanent address can relate to the pile of “exclusive” credit card offers I have on my desk right now. I usually just shred them — I figure that if and when I want to apply, I will probably get a comparable deal. But it’s all speculation really. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve actually been saving them just to find the scoop.
I’ve finally taken the time to read these snail mail offers through and compare them to the offers I would have gotten had I applied for them online, over the phone, etc. without the “special bonus offer” or “RSVP code.” Either way, I prefer to speak with a customer service representatives. Companies like Capital One® actually have live representatives online to “chat” with you and send you all the right links and sign you up over Instant Messenger. It’s a pretty good system — I’ve used it a couple of times just to poke around and do research. The reps are patient and informative and know what they’re doing, like most customer service reps. Most of them will ask you general information about yourself (i.e. Are you married? What are your most common expenses? Are you a frequent flyer?) so they can match you to a card. The online service is particularly good if you’re busy and just want to ask quick question — there’s barely any wait time. There’s another thing we all can relate to: “on hold” music. Dreadful.
Anyway, most of the letters I received were “pre-selection” offers that offer the exact same conditions as a regular offer would. The ones you want to look out for are the special offers that actually give you a BETTER deal (i.e. more rewards, longer introductory period, etc.) than usual. This is obvious… but the point is to trick you into thinking you’re about to get a steal when actually, if you did your research, you’re not saving anything extra.
MY “SPECIAL” INVITATION:
Here’s a letter I got from AmEx a couple of weeks ago:
You’ve been pre-selected for the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
Become a cardmember and enjoy:
- $100 cash back after $1,000 spent int he first 90 days of Cardmembership
- 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases (then a variable APR, currently 22.24%)
- No annual fee
- Ongoing savings and extras with the Blue Savings Program
- $25 cash back for each friend approved for the Card
Simply earn unlimited cash back:
- Earn 3% at supermarkets
- Earn 2% at gas stations
- Earn 2% at department stores
- Earn 1% everywhere else
Experience the world-class benefits of Cardmembership:
- Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance — Use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for an auto rental, and you can be covered if the car is damaged or stolen.
- Extended Warranty — You can enjoy an extension of up to one additional year on the terms of the original manufacturer’s warranty when you use your American Express Card for eligible purchases.
- Purchase Protection — When you use your Card for eligible purchases, they can be protected from accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days rom the moment you buy them.
- Glbal Assist® Hotline — 24/7 emergency assistance when traveling more than 100 miles from home.
- Return Protection — If you purchased an item with your Card and the merchant won’t take your return, we may refund the full purchase price.
I called AmEx and did some snooping to see if I would have gotten a better deal, but it turns out it’s pretty much random selection. What a bummer, right?
HERE’S ONE THAT WAS ACTUALLY WORTH THE RESEARCH:
… Oh, wait. There wasn’t one.
I guess junk mail really is just junk mail sometimes. We’re all better off scouring the web and finding out strategies to get around all those terms and conditions. Loopholes!