Chase is trotting out a new credit card geared toward travel, which comes with an initial sign-up bonus of 100,000 points—and a $450 application fee.
Despite the steep application fee, the card is already very popular, with tens of thousands of applications right out of the gate. They’ve also established an ad campaign for the card featuring James Corden, host of CBS’s “The Late Late Show.”
All that is fine, but what is perhaps more interesting is that people in charge of developing the card and the ad campaign are really honing in on what they think they know about Millennials.
There’s an extensive New York Times article about it, which goes into a lot of detail about how Millennials—people born after about 1980—prefer to share their experiences via social media instead of talking about the things they own.
The article even features some talk about how Millennials feel guilty about affluence because the 1990s were all about conspicuous consumption.
“The focus on experience is really important for Millennials, post the Great Recession,” says Dan Coates, president of youth marketing research firm YPulse. “Showing off what you own has been replaced by sharing what you do, since sharing experiences is much more egalitarian.”
I take some issue with the idea that travel is more egalitarian than owning things, because you have to have some degree of financial comfort to be able to afford travel. Also, the idea of the ‘90s being all about conspicuous consumption doesn’t ring true for older Millennials who don’t remember that being the case.
Coates did note that the card might encourage people to get deeper in debt by buying items with the card in order to accumulate points. This might not be the best idea for a generation already struggling under the burden of massive student loan debt.
But regardless of how Chase thinks about Millennials, and nobody can agree on what to think of this generation, their internal research found that a lot of them want to travel. And they may be on to something with this idea that they want to share their experiences on social media. People want to go to interesting places and do interesting things, especially now that you can instantly post pictures to your social media accounts instead of making slides and trapping people in your living room to show them said slides.
If the launch of Chase’s new card is any indication, the company will probably enjoy a lot of success from it. Let us hope it doesn’t come at the cost of Millennials’ financial future.