Overdoing it with the airline credit card offers

10Nov11

Several months ago, I started getting credit card offers in the mail from a particular airline. This came as something of a surprise, since I sent in one of those global opt-out forms a while back, and have received very few card offers since then. Then it hit me: the airline isn’t buying direct mail lists from the credit bureaus. Instead, they’re just taking their house list of frequent flyer members, and sending a mailer once or twice a month to everyone on the list.

After receiving a half dozen or so of these identical offers, I looked for a way to unsubscribe. I checked the airline’s website and the website for the card itself, which I imagine is operated by the bank that issues the card. There was no way to opt-out. I even called the phone number listed on the letter, but it wouldn’t let me speak to someone without entering a card number — which obviously I don’t have.

Overall, this is an exceptionally poor showing for the airline and their bank partner alike. They’ve taken a formerly trusted relationship with the airline, and turned it into a spam factory. In the process, they’ve decimated whatever brand equity that the airline and credit card issuer might have held in the eyes of countless customers like me. As a result, I’m less likely to fly that airline, less likely to apply for a credit card with that bank, and entirely unlikely to consider applying for the particular card that they’re pushing so crudely via the seemingly endless direct mail pieces.



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