Earlier this weekend, my wife was saying that she’s not so much fun any more. I think she was alluding to the fact that she’s in her early 30s now and can’t party like she could a decade ago. I said, “It could be worse, you could be a curmudgeony, old man of 33 like myself.” I was half kidding. Well maybe 20% kidding as of late. If you’ve had one of those weeks, where every step forward puts you three steps backward, you probably know how I’ve felt.
So it was with great joy that my wife opened up her e-mail on Saturday and saw a new credit card – Chase Freedom. She had never applied for a Chase Freedom card, so how it arrived in her mail was a mystery to her, and to me. In looking closely, we noticed it was the same number as the Chase Rewards card she has used for years. This really confused my wife, because her card doesn’t expire for more than a year. I use the same credit card, and figured that whatever if happening to her, is going to happen to me. It was time to call up Chase and get the story, however, before I do, let me give you a little background on the Chase Rewards card we have.
The Chase Rewards is one of our best financial tools. It gives you 5% back on gas, groceries, and drugstores. Not only that, but Chase Autopay allows you automatically have money taken out of your bank account when a payment is due. Since I always keep enough in my bank, I would pay off the card completely, at the last possible day, saving money in interest and stamps. More importantly, I would never face a late payment, and I could be as Lazy as I want to be. Unfortunately they stopped offering a couple of years ago, so if you didn’t get in, you lost out. If you were part of the program like we were, you were grandfathered in… until now.
We called up Chase and got the story. Chase is migrating people from our reward program to another one, “with great additional benefits that we think you’ll enjoy.” I explained that I preferred the reward program that we signed up for and would like to decline the migration to the new reward program. (I told you I’m a curmudgeon.) Apparently they are really set in their belief that I’ll enjoy this new program. They declined my decline.
So now it looks like we are stuck with the Chase Freedom program. A good deal of both of our credit history is on this card, so I tried to convince my wife not to cancel the card (it’ll help us retain our credit scores). It seems like an uphill battle as she doesn’t seem to want to deal with them at all – or leave an orphaned account. The bigger question for me is which card do I turn to now to get the best rewards? (If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment.)
I can see why Chase is migrating people from the rewards program we were in. It was started in a different economic environment as well as under different credit legislation. Back then, banks had to lure people with big rewards program. With the credit change and the new credit card laws going into effect, a product that once made them money, probably either loses them money or doesn’t make them enough. In either event, it’s apparently bad enough to risk the anger of a lot of their customers. I think those customers have an idea for Chase’s new slogan, “Chase Freedom – two words for nothing to left to lose.” I wonder if Kris Kristofferson would sue them for copyright infringement (though trademark infringement is what all the people are doing these days)?
So I understand why Chase is doing what they are doing. I’d like to be put in some other exclusive program that retained some of the benefits (maybe 2% on the things we were getting 5% before) that new customers don’t get. Throwing out a little bone would do wonders for making us feel like we’d want to still be Chase customers. However, it looks like that wasn’t something Chase was looking to do either. It was a good ride while it lasted, and I knew, like everything, it wouldn’t last forever.