50,000 Membership Reward Points with $1,000 Spend

My daughter received a terrific offer from American Express in the mail the other day.

The offer was for the Amex Premier Rewards Gold charge card.  

On the envelope, printed in big, gold letters, was this message:

FOR A LIMITED TIME:  TREAT YOURSELF TO A WELCOME OFFER — 50,000 POINTS VALUED AT UP TO $500 THAT CAN BE USED TOWARD YOUR NEXT TRIP, GIFT CARDS AT SELECT MERCHANTS, AND MORE

“The Sky is not the Limit,” the letter inside proclaims.

Targeted Offer for Amex Premier Rewards Gold charge card

The offer of 50,000 Membership Reward points requires just $1000 in spending in the first three months, and the annual fee ($175) is waived the first year.

What’s more, the card earns 3x points on airfare, 2x points at gas stations and supermarkets, and 1x points on everything else.

Wow.

The only problem is that my daughter is in eleventh grade.  She is a part-time hostess at a chain Mexican restaurant and is hoping to pick up some babysitting gigs this summer.

$500 sounds like a lot of money to a high school kid.  This is a pretty enticing offer.

  • I wonder what kind of “credit limit” she would qualify for?
  • I wonder what kind of balance she could run up, and how she could ever pay it off?
  • I wonder what kind of fees, interest charges, and penalties there are if you miss a payment?

All of which reminds me of a song by children’s poet Shel Silverstein:

Your Credit Card Won’t Get You Into Heaven

Your credit card won’t get you into heaven.
Your Visa will not buy you silver wings.
When you’re burning down in hell with no water in the well,
Your Diner’s Club won’t buy you one cold drink.
 
You can not charge salvation or redemption.
Your Master Charge it won’t help to save your skin.
And when you’re standing at the gates
And they slam them in your face,
Your Playboy key, it will not get you in.

What do you think?  Do  you consider marketing charge cards to high school students to be a predatory practice?

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