Thursday, March 29, 2007

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Notice all the credit card promotion that has been springing up in metro stations around Shanghai, and on TV? I wrote about it before, that foreign banks are being granted equal status with Chinese banks and competition would be heating up. I checked out the latest credit card promotions, but they're really just the same thing that's been available before: earn points on purchases, and trade your points for household electronics and other trinkets; or pay for tours to Europe and Asia in installments. Personally, though, my main interest was to wait for offers of credit cards with more interesting benefits (hint: airline mileage) and better support, and also for more favorable house loans.

Well, score one on the credit card front. I just saw an ad in the paper this morning: last month, Shanghai Airlines, Citibank and the Pudong Development Bank jointly released what they claim to be China's first credit card to offer "buy one get one free" on airline tickets, both domestic and international. The card plays the usual games: express ticketing, higher luggage weight limits, mileage for purchases, VIP waiting lounge for platinum card members; and the feature benefit is only available on Shanghai Airlines for limited number of times each year. The yearly fee is RMB 360, waived the first year and by charging over RMB 3000 in subsequent years (in a single month? over the entire year? doesn't say).

The card is called 上航•浦发联名信用卡发行, and it's being marketed to 飞行常客 (frequent flyers).

Personally, I'm not that frequent of a flyer, and I think the Shanghai-Airlines-only restriction just about kills it. But I welcome this as a step in the right direction.

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