Missed card opportunities?

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Vermonster
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Re: Missed card opportunities?

Postby Vermonster » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:53 pm

They gave Zync out like candy. I think the Unicorn name came from two things. First the color is a pearl white, very unicorn. Second, most people converted the card to a Green or PRG after a round of nerfs.

Zync earned MR Express points at 1pt/$1 you could add "packs" to increase your point earnings in categories you cared about. You can easily hit a $150 AF with different packs. Meaning it wasn't the most cost effective card. It looked nice, the whole "PYO" categories, but ultimately was not worth it.
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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Missed card opportunities?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:16 pm

Wikipedia says the Zync came out in 2009. I thought it was a lot older than that, given how people talk about it. I think it says a lot about how quick credit enthusiasts are to drop a card for something better (or just for a new bonus).

The Gold came out in 1966 and Platinum in 1984. That predates Providian (1997) and Capital One (1994), so it's reasonable to say that Amex had already put a lot of prestige behind "Platinum". I was small but alert in 1994, and noticed that a lot of companies (the gym my family went to comes to mind) were offering "Platinum" programs that were more comprehensive than "Gold" ones. I don't know how much we can attribute the trend of subprime "Platinum" cards to Amex's marketing vs. a general trend in society-wide luxury image marketing.

Plus, Visa and MC adopted Platinum as an official card tier. That adds to the term being used more widely.

And I thought Zync couldn't be PC'ed to any other charge card. I thought it could only be closed completely. Maybe I just heard the experiences of people who didn't have a semi-targeted PC offer from Amex.
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CC Deville
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Re: Missed card opportunities?

Postby CC Deville » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:25 pm

Vattené wrote:
CarfulBuilder14 wrote:The Zync also had (and still has) a cult following, although I think that's more out of novelty than any great value it offered.

Vermonster wrote:Zync was great for people with no chance of getting any other card. It started an account with amex so you could backdate later. Absolutely no value now.

Can anyone explain just what all the appeal from the Zync was? I've heard quite a bit about it for a product that was discontinued before I even started paying attention to credit cards, but didn't know anything about it so I just thought I'd look into it a little. Am I correct it summarizing it as a charge card one tier below Green (lower AF but also lower rewards) with slightly looser underwriting criteria?

I wouldn't think Amex would really need a way to let people in the "club" that couldn't otherwise get a Green card (any charge card, for that matter, or the credit card that's rumored to be easiest to get - I think the Delta). Despite all the "exclusivity" marketing, it really isn't that hard to get in with Amex credit-wise. Loosen the criteria too much and you're getting into secured territory.

Is it just MF-types excited about "getting in" with Amex to start "building a relationship" when they should be focusing on bigger priorities?


The Zync was targeted towards the 18-34 crowd that would normally not be interested in an AMEX charge card. Zync gave the look and feel of a typical charge card with a lower annual fee ($25) and the ability to add "packs" that earned extra Membership Rewards Express points-some were free and others added cost to the $25 annual fee. The idea was to get young adults into an AMEX charge card that could later be upgraded or the cardholder would apply on their own for a more rewarding card.

As you might imagine, the product flopped, kind of how Scion was supposed to bring younger people into Toyota. The main people going for the Zync were people who were rebuilding their credit and wanted an "in" with AMEX with the hopes of future backdating once their credit was worthy.

I opened a Zync in January 2012; I was 32 at the time so I was in their market; however, my reasoning for opening Zync was purely for the backdating as my Member Since year is 1999; my Zync reports as opened 1/99. I figured for $25 it was worth it. I did not go for a revolver at the time because I also already had a Blue that I opened in 2008 (reports opened 9/99) and since AMEX was acting a little strange with AA and such at the time, I decided that a charge card would be less of a risk.

Within a year and a half of having the card they took away all the optional Zync Packs, leaving the card to earn 1 point per dollar spent. They no longer refer to the points as Membership Reward Express points, but regular MR points. I have no idea really as the points do not matter to me. I had considered closing my Zync but I like how it looks and since AMEX ceased backdating I figure when I have a need for PRG or Platinum I can see if they will allow me to upgrade my lowly Zync so I can retain the opening date.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Missed card opportunities?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:33 pm

So Zync, for those who have one, is basically now a lower-AF Green?
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Re: Missed card opportunities?

Postby CC Deville » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:37 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:So Zync, for those who have one, is basically now a lower-AF Green?


Could be. Like I said, I see no mention of "Express" at the end of Membership Rewards anymore on either my Zync or Blue; but I do not know for sure if they earn full MR points or if they still are MRE.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Missed card opportunities?

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:39 pm

CC Deville wrote:
CarefulBuilder14 wrote:So Zync, for those who have one, is basically now a lower-AF Green?


Could be. Like I said, I see no mention of "Express" at the end of Membership Rewards anymore on either my Zync or Blue; but I do not know for sure if they earn full MR points or if they still are MRE.

Oh...so the presence of Blue may be automatically converting the MREs to full MRs.

IIRC, Blue has always earned true MRs?
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

CC Deville
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Re: Missed card opportunities?

Postby CC Deville » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:43 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:
CC Deville wrote:
CarefulBuilder14 wrote:So Zync, for those who have one, is basically now a lower-AF Green?


Could be. Like I said, I see no mention of "Express" at the end of Membership Rewards anymore on either my Zync or Blue; but I do not know for sure if they earn full MR points or if they still are MRE.

Oh...so the presence of Blue may be automatically converting the MREs to full MRs.

IIRC, Blue has always earned true MRs?


My Blue initially earned MRE as well. I have no idea when it changed to MR. I had actually looked into PCing my Blue to an Everyday when it first came out to ensure that I could earn true MR points but they wouldn't allow it. I just looked at their website and there is no more reference to separate MRE and MR so I think they may have consolidated(?)

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Vattené
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Re: Missed card opportunities?

Postby Vattené » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:31 pm

Thanks for the info, that's interesting.

Have you looked to see if you have the option of converting whatever points you have (MR or MRE) to transfer partners? If so, would that not mean they are full-fledged Membership Rewards?
-Vattené
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Vermonster
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Re: Missed card opportunities?

Postby Vermonster » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:38 am

I believe after they took away the packs for Zync they also did away with the MREs altogether. It was seen as a compromise, not a nerf.

As far as upgrading goes, the Zync couldn't be upgraded in the traditional PC manner. But people that started a relationship with Zync could open a new Green/Gold/PRG/Plat and have it backdate to the Zync opening date. Close the Zync, and you have "upgraded" only taking a HP for the new account. In fact you can even say this is better than a PC as the Zync account continues to report for another 10 years.

Right now, anyone that kept the Zync basically has a $25 AF Green that looks way cooler. :)
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Vattené
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Re: Missed card opportunities?

Postby Vattené » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:57 am

Vermonster wrote:Right now, anyone that kept the Zync basically has a $25 AF Green that looks way cooler. :)


I can see why they call it a unicorn now. I'll admit I do like the look of the Zync.
-Vattené
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