Monday, June 27, 2016

The Black Visa

I have arrived!

None other than Mariana Kissam, Director, Customer Experience sent me a personal invitation to apply for the Visa Black Card!

This is a Very. Big. Deal.

First off, the Visa Black card is made of stainless steel and issued by Barclays Bank and Financial Services Company, London, United Kingdom, Earth.

By becoming a Cardmember today I will enjoy exclusive privileges -Exclusive Privileges! - Such as an industry-leading rewards program, 24 hour concierge service, VIP treatment at over 3000 hotels, resorts and villas around the world, VIP airport lounge access, Members Only Luxury Magazine and luxury gifts from the world’s Top Brands!

For this boatload of exclusive special privileges, my annual fee will be a token $ 495 (USD).

Miss Kissam was kind enough to enclose a postage-paid quick form application for me! Of course, I could apply online or by calling the exclusive toll-free number!

Is this great or what?

But wait! There’s more!

As soon as I calm down and apply to become a cardmember, I earn 25,000 bonus points! How? By spending 1500 dollars! On eligible purchases! Within 90 days of opening the account! (Of course I must check out the enclosed terms and conditions and reward program rules for information about the rates, fees, annual fee, cost, and the bonus point offer).

But hey! That’s reasonable.

And here’s Da Bomb!Those 25,000 bonus points are enough to redeem a whopping 500 dollars! Toward airline travel

This is so cool! Just spent 1500 dollars on eligible stuff in 90 days and get 500 dollars back toward airline travel! As we say in radio: Wow! What a deal!

Miss Kissam - I think I can call her Mariana now – also included a small booklet,” Luxury Without Limits”.

This was just Too Cool for School!

This “Luxury Without Limits” booklet essentially re-told me everything the Invitation Letter told me only with a bunch of color pictures of airplanes and sunglasses, the New York City skyline and a foxy lady with a headset on. Hmmmm… could this be Mariana? What a hottie!

The LWL booklet goes on to tell me again how the Black Card is made of stainless steel, constructed with a patented carbon hybrid back. The US patent numbers are even included!

Whoa!

Let’s see… More pictures… the part about the airport lounge…. members only LUXURY Magazine and as a token of their appreciation for being a loyal cardmember, I’ll receive “luxury gifts from some of the world’s top brands throughout the course of your membership. It just doesn’t stop!

Wait! Here is the Terms and Conditions page…. Yikes! 14.99% APR for Purchases… 25.24% for Cash Advances…. the penalty APR 27.24% is based on your “credit worthiness”. Hmmm…. This APR may be applied to my account if I make a late payment!

Well, that’s not very friendly!

And here it says “the Penalty APR may apply indefinitely”!

Damn!

Ya know, the more I look at this it reminds me of the time American Express sent me a Platinum Card back when they first came out circa 1980. This was supposed to be a free upgrade from my puny Gold American Express Card. The very expensive literature also went on and on about all the special and exclusive features I would enjoy carrying this new status symbol. Hotels, restaurants, airlines, car rental agencies would all snap to attention to provide me with the superior service I so richly deserved just by carrying the American Express Platinum Card and, of course, paying the $500 annual fee for the privilege. What always puzzled me was how would anyone even know I had the Platinum Card? Whipping it out to pay for an expensive but lousy dinner at an exclusive restaurant with piss-poor service was not likely to get me a free re-run done perfectly this time with a more professional, deferential waiter providing that expert attention I so richly deserved mpw that they knew I had the AMEX Platinum Card. Wouldn’t they need to know in advance I had the card and not just some Neanderthal with Visa?

The airline reservations clerk or the local travel agent was not likely to do anything special after I’ve given my Platinum Amex OR Black VISA card number over the phone, even if I just booked a first-class round-trip ticket to Hong Kong. Maybe if I’d say “Here is my BLACK VISA card number….”. Had I paid with a plain old green American Express card or a plain old MasterCard or a plain old Visa card or a plain old Diners Club card or a plain old Discover card or how about Texaco or Sears? Anything beyond “thank you very much for your business” was highly improbable. Still, the Luxury Without Limits brochure tells me in no uncertain terms “cardmember’s experience the highest caliber of personal service with Black Card concierge… An effective time management tool designed to improve quality of life, allowing you to focus on what is truly important.” Oh – so it’s only at the Black Card concierge all this butt kissing takes place!

Got it!

I’d be more impressed if Barclays Bank and Visa would be concerned with how I handled my discretionary funds economically. Trying to convince me that by having the Black Visa card "made of stainless steel" is going to get me special treatment at better rates by starting me out $495 in the hole just to carry the card around is na├»ve, monumentally irresponsible ego appeal.

On the back of the Luxury Without Limits brochure it reads “The World Awaits”.

I’ll bet it does. But the world shouldn’t have to wait long; PT Barnum said “There’s one born every minute.”

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