Sunday, June 19, 2005

American Express "Rewards Options Program"

I have an American Express card, and now for about a year they bombard me with invitations to join their "Rewards Options Program" So, my natural reaction is "What's the catch?"

I checked their invitations several times and it seems that there are nothing. No enrollment fee, no annual fee, no minimum purchase requirements... Simply put it looks like a regular credit cards with partial rebate, and this rebate is also not in a very usable form. So, why do they need my signature? They even promise a 2,500 points on a sign up, that is $25, so, what's the catch? Cannot see any.

Even better, it seems like their promotional materials are written by some mentally challenged lawyers who have a special pride in making you to believe that there is some catch. Check the statement on the enrollment form: "By signing below, I understand my enrollment is subject to the Membership Rewards." Do you get it? I don't.

Anyway, why do they need my signature to give something back? And if they want me to join so badly, why do they design it in the language that would make people want to throw it away?

I'll tell you what I think it could be about. It's not about us -- the customers. Nobody gives a damn about us. It's just a byproduct of some internal office politics where some guy builds a career by simulating being "customer oriented". And the people who execute the program, they just don't give a damn about us, or the program, or the whole company. That's how such materials are normally created. We are but innocent bystanders in these battles. I may be totally wrong, but that's the only explanation that I can come up with.


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