I was delighted to learn that the beleaguered Bank of America has decided to extend its Museums On Us program, one of the coolest credit card benefits I've seen. It provides free access to 120 museums, zoos, gardens and science centers in 40 different markets across the U.S. On the first weekend of every month through the end of 2010, those holding an active BOA check, ATM or credit card can avoid the ticket window just by showing their card and a picture I.D.
These are not your run of the mill museums, either; no strange things people have swallowed, or tree trunks with the profile of Elvis. Some of the nation's great museums are on the BOA list, including
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
The Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC
The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich.
Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Ill.
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Lied Discovery Children's Museum, Las Vegas, Nev.
Check here for participating locations.
As you can imagine, the program benefits more than the museums and cardholders. According to Rena A. DeSisto, BOA's Arts and Culture Executive, "Museums On Us is a strong business driver and avidity program for the bank."
For those of us who balk at paying our credit card company money just so it can give us a taste of it back as a 'reward', this program is refreshingly creative. Even if this reward does come from a company that has received a handsome federal bailout, at least it benefits both the card holder and the museum, and our museums can certainly use the support.