Capital One’s New MasterCard: “Better Because It’s Worse.”

The timing would suggest an April Fool’s Day joke, but apparently this blurb on the Rewards Canada Blog is legit. It’s about the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ World Elite MasterCard® (could that be any harder to type?)—specifically about how its rewards are about to get worse.

New sign-ups used to get a welcome gift of some 35,000 miles/points, and an additional 10,000 annually just for staying on. Now there’s only a one-time 10K bonus for signing up, with no annual bonus for new card holders.

A loyalty program getting worse is par for the course these days, but check out how Rewards Canada spins the news:

In my opinion though, this was a smart move by Capital One as it now puts them on a level playing field with their competition. Before they were above all their competitors with their sign up offering and to the unknowing consumer many were not aware of this.

Computer Man (blank)

Do you even English?

Linguistics aside, what bizarro universe is this, where a credit card issuer is lauded for making their product less attractive to users? And this from the same site where the old card was consistently the recipient of literally the highest praise possible:

The old Aspire Travel™ World took the number one spot in our Top Travel Rewards Credit Card rankings for 5 years straight between 2010 and 2014 […]

Indeed, I myself found out about the card through a Google search, one that let me straight to the Rewards Canada site. The biggest reward I claimed while using it was a pair of Japan Rail Passes, valued at over $600 CAD. That was a pretty awesome perk, but most of the time redeeming points was a frustrating experience, due to the simple fact that said points could only be redeemed at specific tiers.

I’ll let Rewards Cards Canada (similar name, different site) explain:

On the plus side, any purchases made from airlines, hotels, rail lines, car rental agencies, limousine services, bus lines, cruise lines, taxi cabs, travel agents and time shares are generally considered to be travel purchases.

Unfortunately, separately itemized travel transactions on your statement can’t be combined for a single redemption.

For example, you can’t combine breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a hotel into one transaction for the purpose of maximizing your reward miles.  So it’ll take 15,000 miles to “erase” your $25 breakfast, and another 15,000 miles to “erase” a $50 lunch.  Not a great deal.

To make sure that you always get a 2 percent return on your points you’ll need to get one of the charges to equal exactly $150 or $350.  This isn’t a problem for most retailers.  The problem is remembering to ask.

It’s because of these restraints that I’ve pretty much given up on the card, using it only where VISA isn’t accepted. I’ve also pretty much given up on anything Rewards Canada has to say about credit cards in general—at least until someone jumps out of a door and says: “April Fools!”


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