MBNA to offer Amex credit cards to 1,000+ affinity groups
MBNA and American Express have launched the first MBNA Affinity Rewards American Express-branded credit cards to members of more than 1,000 different affinity groups in the USA.
The family of card products combines the consumer benefits and privileges of the American Express network with MBNA's existing rewards and service, and is available to the bank's thousands of affinity partners.
Positive feedback According to MBNA, overall consumer response to initial pre-selling activities for the MBNA Affinity Rewards American Express cards has been very positive. To date, the bank has issued more than 300,000 American Express-branded cards, and early consumer demand for these cards indicates that consumers want better rewards from a product that represents their membership of an affinity organisation.
The new cards are now being offered to members of a wide range of organisations including alumni associations, professional groups, and recreational and philanthropic organisations (such as Georgetown University, Penn State University, the National Education Association, the National Wildlife Federation, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Quarter Horse Association).
Consumer benefits From the consumer's point of view, benefits of taking the card include free enrolment in the MBNA WorldPoints programme (1 point for every purchase and double points for travel and dining until 2006), redemption options including cash, travel (with no blackout dates), brand-name merchandise and gift cards, and a range of special privileges such as VIP access to dining, hotel and sought-after tickets, personal concierge services, and a range of American Express travel and retail benefits. A variety of themed promotions and cardmember offers will also be offered on a year-round basis.
Premium cards By the end of 2004 MBNA also plans to introduce a line of premium American Express-branded cards that will feature greater rewards (including increased point earn rates, bonus points, and enhanced travel benefits). "We are enhancing the rewards and features of MBNA's affinity relationships with the benefits of the American Express merchant network. This means greater choice, flexibility, and value for the consumer," commented MBNA Corporation's CEO, Bruce Hammonds.
In January 2004 MBNA and American Express reached their agreement for MBNA to be the first US bank to issue credit cards accepted on the American Express network. Under the terms of its card-issuing agreement with American Express, MBNA manages the customer accounts and receivables. The bank is also responsible for all customer service, billing and payment systems, accounting support, credit and fraud resolution, and card marketing.