Service of Status Symbols: Really?

December 16th, 2019

Categories: Credit Card, Status Symbol

Photo: marketwatch.com

I once cut up a platinum colored credit card that came in the mail because I didn’t want to pay a premium. The standard one from this company was dark blue. I called and asked for a blue one and was told “Didn’t you read the note we sent in May?” It was November. “We aren’t charging extra for platinum ones anymore.” In the day, a platinum card meant something special to some people–but not to me. The company sent me a new card.

Status symbols don’t impress me but apparently metal credit cards should. “Customers typically can’t ask their bank to swap out their plastic cards, but at least 20 types of credit cards in the U.S. contain metal, including offerings from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., and Wells Fargo & Co., wrote Michael Bucher in The Wall Street Journal.

Photo: businessinsider.com

“Like other luxuries once restricted to the wealthy—cellphones, private airport lounges and French handbags—metal credit cards have trickled down the income stream.” A trade magazine Bucher quoted estimates that by 2022 the number of metal cards will quadruple from the 32 million there are worldwide today.

It’s funny that heavier cards appeal to the public according to Citi when I keep trying to carry around less weight. “American Express Co. introduced its black card, named Centurion, in 1999. The titanium card still is issued only by invitation. Customers pay a $10,000 initiation fee and $5,000 annually.” What a waste of money! If you never heard of the Centurion–they didn’t advertise–it may be because you missed it in James Bond flicks, “Entourage” on HBO and in Kanye West songs.

Marriott customers complained when its card went from metal to plastic. [Imagine the savings for the lighter card in postage alone!]

Photo: wallethub.com

Not only is the card heavier, it requires special care. Apple advises customers to protect its titanium card from pocket change or keys that could harm it. “The Apple guide instructs cardholders to clean the card with rubbing alcohol.”

Bucher wrote about a supermarket employee who has handled the metal AmEx cards of affluent shoppers.  Capital One replaced her plastic card with one in metal.  “I opened it up and I was like, ’Whoa.’ It really did make me feel important instantly.”

There are tangible benefits: titanium ones are handy to scrape ice off a windshield or to tighten the screws on a drawer’s loose handle though if you need to destroy one, it’s nigh impossible reported Bucher.

What status symbols impress you? Do you have any metal credit cards? Do they give you bragging rights?

Photo: mercurynews.com

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7 Responses to “Service of Status Symbols: Really?”

  1. ASK Said:

    No, I don’t want to pay extra for a credit card when the issuer is also charging me interest if I don’t pay the bill in full every month. Why spend the money?

  2. Helen Rabinovitz Said:

    I’m not impressed by so called status symbols of any kind. In fact quite the opposite. Recently I purchased a pocketbook not realizing it was a copy of a $1,500 one. When I found out I donated it to Goodwill. I felt it was an invitation to have my purse snatched! As far as metal credit cards. Had one. When I decided to cut it up I HAD TO USE WIRE CUTTERS!!! It was nothing but a damn nuisance. Not to mention hurt my hands. Impress me with your kindness and impassion for humans and animals and the ability to listen if I have a problem. Nothing means more to me than that!

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    Credit cards also get money from vendors. There may still be some that have subscription fees as well.

    I am not impressed by designer logos on things–it’s irritating not only to pay for something but to parade around promoting it for free as well!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Helen,

    Funny…years ago my husband asked if I wanted a fur coat. I’m an animal lover and former cat and dog “parent” but it wasn’t for that reason I said “no thanks.” I never want to be a target! I used to go to concerts and theater and out to dinner a lot. How could I leave such a coat in my seat or at coat check without worrying? Like you and your faux designer purse, I’d be nervous to wear in the subway a realistic faux fur. They are amazing and give off “I am wealthy” signals to the wrong people!

    I learned to never be ostentatious from my mother who shared advice from her mother [my grandmother died before I was born]: Don’t let your jewelry show on the street. We all were New Yorkers. My dear uncle, who would have been 97 on the 19th of this month, had his sled taken from him in Central Park when he was a child. I looked: It might have been a Flexible Flyer that was first sold in 1889! It has always been thus.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    Status symbols are for those with identity problems. Condolences.

  6. Anonymous Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I remember I may have wanted those Marimekko cotton printed dresses in college that I thought were amazing but never owned one. Loehman’s was my clothing store of choice as soon as I had a woman’s body and I never cared what designer was involved in my choices. If it looked good and I could afford it, great! I recall another customer telling me I had to get the dress I was trying on because she’d seen it at Saks for $some huge amount of money. It looked so horrible on me you couldn’t have paid me to take it home!

    Bloomingdale’s was one of the first to put their name on clothing and I remember women’s underpants with Bloomingdale’s printed all over them. I could never understand anyone paying a premium for this. Louis Vuitton’s plastic luggage with its hallmark initials was another head scratcher. People paid in the four figures for tote bags and goodness knows what for LV luggage. Jeepers. If thousands didn’t follow and open their wallets the profitable companies wouldn’t make the stuff.

  7. Martha Takayama Said:

    I am afraid I am not really impressed by status symbols. However, I am impressed by high quality or well done objects, work or performance.

    I find it rather masochistic to be used to market something of almost no or minimal value to further promote the manufacturer or merchant who would use me to that end. I never paid attention to the color or material of any credit card except when trying to locate it in my bag. The absurd nature of making an item which has only a bureaucratic function into a reflection of one’s worth or merit seems very gauche.

    I have, however, just recently read an in-depth article about the discriminatory practices used by investment firms among others to prevent African-Americans in particular from being elevated to special account status in their firms. The thinking and the behavior is repellent, ignorant and I wonder if it is only a result of the Trumpification of our society or if it existed previously.

    I adore Lucrezia’s comment and expression of condolences for those suffering deprivation of status syndrome. I any case, can only have either pity or contempt for those who suffer from that malaise.

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