Another One?! Dear Credit Card Companies, No More Partnerships No One Asked For

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Credit Card Partnerships

Credit Card Partnerships

Another day, another credit card issuer touts what is a very niche credit card “perk”. Or better yet, a partnership that no one asked for.  Today it is Capital One rolling out a Gravity Haus partnership. A what? Exactly! Most people reading this probably have no idea what Gravity Haus is. This is not new though, Capital One is actually late to the party.  We have seen Soul Cycle, Walmart+, Peloton, Wheels Up Connect and Equinox partnerships sprout up the last few years.

New “Perks”

These are all new “perks” that most people will never use. Yes, even you Peloton. It is a trend American Express started with Uber and that Chase, and now Capital One, have grabbed a hold of. If Citi hadn’t nerfed their Prestige card I could see them jumping on the bandwagon too. If the Prestige ever gets relaunched I bet something similar will be included.

This is marketing at its best though, so I can’t blame them. Because of these new partnerships the issuers can tout hundreds of dollars of perks to their cardholders. Perks that cost them nothing to provide. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if these companies are paying the issuers to add them. The partners could look at it as a form of paid advertising to get people hooked into their ecosystem.

Credit Card Partnerships

Gravity Haus Partnership

Let’s take a look at the newest partnership with Gravity Haus. I had to do some research to find out what this company actually was. It looks like a membership that can get you property access, hotel discounts and gear rental. How much, or what you get, is dependent on your membership level. The lowest level (currently reduced to $45 a month) doesn’t offer much outside of the gear rental. The Capital One credit knocks $300 off a yearly membership, bringing the cost down to $20 a month this year. At that price it could be useful for some that don’t want to buy skis etc. Upper tiers can get you discounts of up to 50% on hotel stays or access to the property amenities even when not staying there (potentially useful for locals). This seems like a pretty niche audience though.

Final Thoughts

It wouldn’t bother me much if they were just adding them and letting the few cardmembers they actually help out enjoy their win. Which to be fair, is what Capital One has done so this isn’t about them so much. Chase and Amex on the other hand have used these partnerships as reasons to increase their annual fees. That doesn’t sit well with me. You are adding “perks” that cost you nothing, potentially made you money, and using it as a reason to raise rates.

I would gladly pay more for useful perks, or partnerships, that benefit many. Something like a free Amazon Prime membership. Heck, I remember getting that when I signed up for the Amex EveryDay Preferred years ago. The problem is they can’t get something good like that discounted, or free. Because of that we are instead stuck with these partnerships that are unlikely to add value to our card membership. I pray it stops, but I know more are to come.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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16 COMMENTS

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Some people love Capital One. I don’t get it. Its reward structure stinks. But, transfer partners are improving. Perhaps in about three years it will be in the game.

    • I think they have made a lot of improvements over the last 2-3 years. Them and Citi both. They are closing the gap for sure but still have a ways to go.

  2. Two great ones — Neither were even used as an incentive to buy or upgrade a card, or service, and were unsolicited –
    1. Navy Federal Credit Union — GAVE a one year free Amazon Prime subscription —
    — Difficulty? Pay for Amazon Prime with ANY of their cards — Less that a week (( or so ?? forgot )), the credit showed up.
    — Usefulness / Value to me ? I would have had to pay anyway, so this was 100% of Prime’s annual cost.
    — Who wins? NFCU certainly gets loyalty. Amazon, I guess, captures more market of Military, and possible increase in retentions. Cost to Amazon is only from those that would have bought anyway, like me. Those that haven’t used the services at all, costs them nothing.
    2. T-Mobile — most 2 line plans — Free Basic Netfilx
    — Difficulty? Just sign up, somehow through T-Mobile. (you can opt-in to pay extra for 2 + screens / HD).
    — Usefulness / Value to me ? I never would have subscribed, ever, at least for the few years we’ve had it. However, for me at least, I used it heavily.
    — Who wins? / T-Mobile — Some plans could benefit from either sign up or retention. Netflix — > upgraded service was only the difference in plan costs, so many are still paying Netflix. Exposure of those that never would have subscribed, also helps Market-Cap. Retention of customers after free promotion ends, someday. Their costs? No clue — go study their 10k.

  3. Capital One should focus on adding partners and offering bonus transfer opportunities. When was the last bonus transfer they offered? Amex leads the pack…

    • Amex is the best at bonuses for sure. Chase, Citi and Capital One put together don’t even come close to Amex.

  4. I’m a Venture holder that just returned from a ski trip to the Vail/Breckenridge area. I see no value in this perk.

  5. I saw another boardingarea blog promoting this “perk.” I understand the need to put food on the table but this perk aint it…

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