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Pricey Plastic: MasterCard’s 22.65% Interest Rate

MasterCard has just extruded its latest card. Meant to allure the upper eschelon of buyers — this baby has an affinity attachment — it is called Saks Fifth Avenue Elite Master Card. There’s no annual fee, but comes with that hefty interest rate.

The hook here is that with this card the holder is tied to Sak’s reward programs and perks. The WSJ quotes: “This platform will help us with this very high-end segment,” said Walt Macnee, president of the Americas for MasterCard, based in Purchase, N.Y.

The challenge I have with this thinking is that it is hitching its wagon to a seemingly declining world of customer connection from loyalty programs and points. Yes, there are many programs out there, and the number is growing every day. But loyalty program advocates themselves are now saying that it’s got to be about enhancing the EXPERIENCE of their best customers and card holders – not just making it be about points and point collection. Most customers belong to multiple loyalty programs – and they are now commodities.

Is this really the way to earn a higher connection with customers?

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