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But Chase has entered at the right time—when a growing community of enthusiasts will do the company’s marketing online for free—and with the right card, one that assiduously checks every box the modern credit card deal-hunter cares about. The process to create new credit cards is little different from the research Procter & Gamble does to develop a new laundry detergent or Honda does to develop a new crossover SUV.
A credit card is a means of payment and the extension of a loan, but it’s also a collection of perks and points that confer experiences and status upon its user, as well as an object people typically touch several times a day.
Of course, like its Sapphire Preferred brethren, the card would have a weighty metal core that creates what is known in the trade as “plunk factor.” Plasticheads got the vapors.
“When I first heard the details,” wrote Brian Kelly, aka The Points Guy, probably the most influential card blogger, “I had to sit down, because it sounded way too good to be true.” The Sapphire Reserve, wrote another, Ben Schlappig, is “beyond a no-brainer, possibly the most compelling card we’ve ever seen.” On Reddit, a user shared that Chase had accidentally published a Reserve application link, and thousands of applications poured in before the page was deactivated. 23, anticipation had built to the point that the Chase site was bumrushed by a horde of deal-seekers.
When the first cards were shipped, some customers posted “unboxing” videos on You Tube, reverently exhibiting terms-and-conditions pamphlets to the camera.
The videos have garnered more than 60,000 views; the Reddit thread has 10,000 comments.
“We were seeing demand that was eight- to tenfold more than what we expected,” he says. Since July, a fever had been building on social media among points-and-miles obsessives aware that Chase was preparing a premium card—one that would sit above its already-popular Sapphire Preferred, and offer rewards to match.
Almost a month before Chase introduced Reserve, the community discovered the card’s perks through some leaked information: a sign-up bonus of 100,000 points, triple points on travel and dining, airport lounge memberships, and credits that offset a 0 annual fee, among other goodies.
Chase had already learned a thing or two about how to make a card more than a card.
Somewhere in the middle of Ohio there’s a nondescript office park, the kind you could drive by for years and never really notice.
One of the buildings in that park is basically windowless; you might mistake it for a warehouse or, if you were feeling exotic, a data center.
“When I go to dinner, there might be three cards that get thrown down.
They’re all Chase Sapphire.”At Chase, finding the Bryan Denmans of the marketplace is a task led by Gordon Smith. card business for American Express, Smith joined Chase in 2007.