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February 23rd, 2011

ultimate rewards

A tale of contrasts. We have an "ultimate rewards" credit card with Chase. It's up for renewal. We finally got the new cards. They did not come with a Truth-in-Lending disclosure sheet, but instead with only a long fine-print disclosure of the rewards program details. The cards did not include any annual fee, rate or APR information that we could find.

I called the toll-free number tonight to ask about the card. It turned out that the new cards they sent us, "sapphire" cards, were an upgrade, with a 60 dollar higher annual fee. I explained that I wanted my old benefits without the fee. It turned out that while my particular class of small-fee credit card was abolished, I could get a no-fee card that let me still accrue points in their program. The fellow on the phone explained that some letter had been sent last October to explain about the sapphire card. My wife, though, is one of those detail-oriented persons who keeps everything legal or contract-related. We got no such letter last October. I wonder how many other people got switched from card to card in this way.

The Chase rep on the phone was very nice, though, and fixed things. He signed us up for a card with the points but no fee. He was everything the printed materials failed to be. I am used to reading fine print, and to parsing through financial documents. Yet 5 minutes on the phone were more useful than the inadequate (though wordy) documents Chase sent to me. I wonder how many other people got an unwanted upgrade. I hope every one of them got that helpful phone rep to straighten things out.

I like a grilled panini with provolone cheese, diet root beer and the inviting look of a light rain falling as I leave my office at dusk. I failed at browsing with the mighty Konqueror browser on my 100 dollar Linux computer, probably through impatience. I close to go pick up the mail, well into the evening.