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The Chase Reconsideration Line Phone Numbers; Or Yes, Banks Do Influence Some Travel Blogs (Including This One…But Not Anymore)

On Monday afternoon of this week I posted links to the Amex SPG 30k deal. Later that afternoon I received an email from Amex (or, more specifically, from a 3rd party that manages the affiliate relationship with Amex) saying that I was violating the terms of the affiliate agreement I have with Amex (via the 3rd party).

I wrote that I didn’t post affiliate links, I posted direct links to the signup pages. They wrote back saying that those were not official links, which I took to mean that those who signed up earlier than the Tuesday “official” release day may not receive the 30k bonus. I took down the links because I didn’t want to be responsible for people not getting the bonus they thought they would receive.

The next day I received an email from the third party saying they were dropping me from the affiliate relationship because I had posted content that was unauthorized. Specifically, they wrote I made a “non-compliant posting of this promotion.” That’s when it occurred to me that I made an error – they didn’t ask me to take down the links to protect the readers, they were just trying to control the content on the site.

I will speak only for myself here, but I have had other run-ins with the credit card issuer police in the past – they have asked to have a few things removed, primarily taking issue with posting links to landing pages that were not “official” offers (this used to drive Chase nuts), and around encouraging people to call the credit card company to match bonuses received by others. Generally I pushed back and that was the end of it; on a couple of occasions I removed the content because I felt I had made my point.

Those days are over.

I’m not suggesting that there is some vast conspiracy (as some have suggested) to get bloggers to shill for credit cards. For the most part, the bloggers you’re reading are writing about credit cards because they believe they offer a great way to earn points (myself included). But part of the arrangement of having a direct affiliate relationship with the banks is that they can tell us to take down content they don’t like. And because there are really only 3-4 issuers with credit cards of much value, it’s hard to say no to them when they ask. I’m not saying bloggers don’t say no to them (and I know several instances where bloggers have told the credit card companies that they specifically will not take down content the bank didn’t like), but I am saying that, especially with bloggers doing this full-time, it’s become more difficult to say no to those requests when the majority of your income comes from a couple of companies.

I am lucky that I can (and will continue to) make a little income off the OTR, and I’m even more lucky that I have a regular job. With that flexibility comes the ability to make my own decisions. And the decision I’ve made is that I will be upfront about what is being asked of me by banks. I’m regretful that I wasn’t clearer about the Amex SPG situation earlier this week, and I’m really pissed at myself for taking the content down. It won’t happen again.

To the end, you may have noticed that the Chase Reconsideration Line phone numbers have disappeared off a number of blogs because Chase asked them to be taken down. As my first bit of penance, I will publish them here:

Application Status: 800-432-3117 or 800-436-7927

Reconsideration (personal cards) 888-871-4649 or 888-245-0625 or 888-609-7805

Reconsideration (business cards) 800-453-9719

I feel better now.

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  1. This is why you are the first blog I read every morning. Keep up the fabulous work!

  2. stick it to the man, yo!

  3. Awesome! Thanks for arriving at that conclusion and doing something about it. Bloggers can have the real power in this situation if they play their cards right.

  4. *golf clap*

  5. Good for you!!! This is very admirable.

  6. Thanks for sharing. This reminds me of politicians who are beholden to a handful of benefactors. They get lobbied and realistically, b/c they depend on them financially as much as they do, they have no choice but to “come around” in their thinking.

  7. This is great! Much respect and you are on my top five blogs…

  8. I don’t get it. He took down his links when the credit card company told him to. They kicked him out of the program anyway.

    And now that he no longer has an issuer relationship with American Express or with Chase he is going to speak his mind. He is being congratulated why?

  9. You, have gained, TONS of Respect in my books. Keep up the good work.

  10. Bravo! To add to the Chase list: once you have called the reconsideration line and get “approved” they may do a follow up verification approval. The verification department’s number is: 877-227-0158.

  11. good decision. whose bread I eat, his song I sing.

  12. August 9, 2013: Lions, Papakolea, Backcountry, Reload Updates, Hotel Graffiti, Dolphin baby, Fluffy Miles | TravelBloggerBuzz - pingback on August 10, 2013 at 1:44 am
  13. Yeah this reads as a bit of spin. Amex: we’re kicking you out of the affiliate company. Jared: you can’t kick me out, I’m quitting on principle. Yeah, principle that’s it.

    The posts that bloggers make 5x a week with dozens of affiliate links are not out of a desire to help people earn points any more. They are profit motivated for those bloggers who have decided their sole career is blogging about points and travel. When the game ends in five years or less, the laugh will be on them.

    • I can see now this is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

      I wasn’t (and am not) saying at all that I’m taking some sort of principled stand against credit card companies. I am saying this: all of us who have an affiliate relationship with credit card companies have run into issues with the content we post at one time or another.

      All I am saying is that I have made the decision to note where I am being asked to make content changes. I posted the Chase numbers because basically every blogger had them at one time, and then nearly every one took them down without comment.

      I write about credit cards when I do because there is no easier way to earn points, and there are a lot of intricacies around it. People have bitched on every blog that mentions cards that people are just shilling for the banks. For the vast majority, that is just bullshit. If you don’t want to know about credit cards, that’s absolutely fine, and you are free to skip those posts or never read this site again.

      All of us who write these sites have taken a slightly different approach. If you want long trip reports with a bunch of photos, plenty of people offer that. I do not. If you want long pieces on business class seats there are plenty if places for it. I don’t do that. If you want 2,000 word step-by-step guides to getting Southwest companion passes, there are plenty of places for it. 5 best cards for accountants? elsewhere. Everyone who does this has chosen their approach.

      I think the airline industry is fascinating, so I’ll write about that. I think occasional pieces about traveling with my family are kinda fun. Ill write about that. I can’t go anywhere without using points, so I write about credit cards when i think there are opportunities for a new take on something (often spurred by people asking me questions). I like to point out when others are being hysterical about points, or airplane seats or whatever. That’s what I offer.

      I’ve been writing this for nearly 10 years, and I hope I’ve built up trust with readers. The point of this post was not an FU to the banks and it certainly was not an FU to other bloggers. I was simply making the point that I will be more transparent about what is being asked of me. I’m glad that some commenters were happy that I pointed that out. Those who think it’s weak of me to mention that after the whole thing with Amex are free to read any of the dozens of other blogs out there. I’m sure they’re completely open about what they’re doing.

  14. Great post. I applaud your stance here!

  15. Great post and one of the many reasons I appreciate this site. Now the only problem I have with your blog is the lack of oxford comma.

  16. Excellent- welcome back to the Light! Even MMS aka “Mr. I’m super transparent” has taken down these numbers w/o comment, falling to the Dark Side, that one is. Points Guy as well, but we’d all expected that from Mr. Mainstream vanilla content anyhow! :)

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