New world of Chase rewards, not a great place


Credit card companies need to find some way to keep their good customers or attract new ones -- those who actually pay their bills on time. They used to be called "deadbeats" inside credit card companies, because there wasn't as much profit to be made from someone who paid off their card each month.

But now, as consumers spend less and the new Credit Card bill won't let credit card companies make as much from someone who misses a payment or pays late (even if it's only one time), they need to find new ways to make cash.

Chase, which cut back its cash-back and bonus rewards program earlier in the year, is finding that decision did not work. Instead, it's tying a totally new tactic and introducing a scaled-back version. In today's Wall Street Journal, Chase said it will announce a new program similar to American Express's membership rewards and Citigroup's ThankYou Network program. It's calling it Ultimate Rewards, and customers can earn points for every dollar spent on certain Chase cards.

Points earned under its new Ultimate Rewards program will have no earnings cap or expiration dates and can be redeemed for travel, cash, statement credits or gift cards. You can redeem points for merchandise but the redemption rate is less than one percent. Right now Chase is offering the new program on two cards - Chase Freedom and a new Chase "Sapphire" credit card aimed at affluent customers.