New Credit Card…

A very ordinary envelope came in the mail today.

It looked suspiciously like junk mail, you know, the sort that comes in mufty and tricks you into opening it!

Addressed to both of us Hubs opened it (he gets junk mail duty) to find a pair of gold MasterCards.

“Our cards don’t expire until 2019,” I said, “I bet it’s a scam.”

“No, I don’t think so…” he said, “Let me call the number on the back and I’ll find out what’s going on.”

I grabbed the innocuous white envelope and found a glossy insert tucked inside and started reading,

“Your new card has arrived with a new account number, expiration date and security code to replace your current Visa card.”

“‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello!”  I said in my best Mr. Plod the policeman voice.

“These are replacing our current Visa card…”

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Hubs was on hold.

“The one we have all our direct debits on…”  I whined.

Hubs raised an eyebrow.

“The one we don’t use for everyday shopping at the mall…”  I hissed.

Hubs shook his head and rolled his eyes.

“They are not replacing the gold MasterCard we currently have for groceries and impulse buying…”  I whispered in his ear.

Hubs put a finger to his lips and began to talk to an operator.

I continued reading the glossy information sheet that instructed me to,

“Activate your card ‘in no time’ and destroy your old plastic.”

What? I thought…

“And remember to contact all the merchants who automatically bill your replaced card…”

There had to be a couple of dozen.

This wasn’t a sales pitch then, it was a done deal without my authorization.

I was not a happy camper.  :-(

A year ago, after our card had been compromised for the fourth time in an 18 month period, we decided to dedicate our trusty Visa to direct debits and recruit a new, shiny, gold MasterCard for all our casual shopping.

The reasoning behind this addition was,

the next time we were pilfered I wouldn’t have the hassle of informing our numerous merchants.  We would be issued new cards and carry on with life.

This pro-active solution worked for more than a year…our cards lived peacefully side by side in our wallets,

the blue for emergencies, the gold for everyday necessities.

They were as different as chalk and cheese.

Until today.

Now, at first glance, it looked as though we were being lumbered with the long lost identical twin.

Without looking carefully at the numbers at checkout or the petrol station how were we going to quickly distinguish between the two?

“I’ll wrap a ribbon around mine to remind me not to use it,” said Hubs bravely.

“I’ll leave mine at home!”  I declared, afraid I’d get confused as to whether the ribbon meant ‘use me’ or ‘don’t use me’!

“Do the powers that be even know what they have just done to us?”  I raved.

Hubs made lots of phone calls and spoke to supervisors and managers who were sympathetic and powerless,

“American Airlines are no longer dealing with Visa, it’s to do with Branding,”  he was told.

I know, I know, what does American Airlines have to do with any of this?

Everything!  We have been earning Advantage miles through Visa for decades.  We have taken the whole family on vacations across the Atlantic more times than I care to admit.

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Recently we were able to add the mortgage to our merchant list thus increasing our monthly miles substantially.

Hubs dutifully made a call to American Airlines.  They promised to add him to the complaints list, send him a gift voucher for $25.00 and issue him with 5,000 miles.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience,” their representative said, “Your current card doesn’t expire for a couple of months.  Perhaps you could select another Visa.”

That said none of them are AA Advantage.

As I mentioned the mailing was very low key and nonchalant but its message was loud and clear,

We Are in Control!  Check your Choices at the Door.

I suppose I do have a few weeks to let my irritation subside and figure out how I’m going to keep the two golds from vying for attention every time I open my wallet.

This kind of corporate behavior, where the bottom line loses sight of the human element, had me bailing from Ticketmaster many moons ago…

If I didn’t travel so much I could bail again.

And depending on how things turn out, I just may.

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Or,

I just may spit, as my mother threatened to do when something irked her.

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