United, Chase stir up class envy, don’t even serve cake

by Janice Hough on March 31, 2009

These days airlines and credit card companies are offering all kinds of bonuses and deals to try to stir up business. And most of these special offers seem to be designed with the recession in mind.

But a recent mailing from Chase for their United Airlines Signature Visa cardholders was, to put it mildly, in a different league. (And while I am a cardholder, I am hardly a big spender with it.)

Titled “Lap of Luxury Redefined,” the glossy brochure is a “special” offer exclusively for credit card holders to attend and “be part” of the Monaco Grand Prix.

The four night-three day package includes hotel, private transfers – including speedboat transfers to and from the race, access to a Formula 1 hospitality suite, access to the weekend’s “most exclusive party” with “celebrities, models and racing enthusiasts” and other “true VIP experiences.”

The price, only $6,800 per person, based on double occupany. (No word about single supplements.) Airfare not included. Some of the “limited” space was still available when, for research purposes only, I tried the number on the flyer.

Now clearly, everyone is not suffering in this economy. And there are plenty of executives whose salary bonuses are escaping AIG type scrutiny. But still, when discretion and restraint seem to have at least temporarily overtaken conspicuous consumption as a mark of status, I do have to wonder: What were the designers of this mailer thinking?

And for those who can’t afford it, will Chase be sending them an offer to help them afford to eat cake?

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  • http://[email protected] Richie Rich

    See you there!

  • Christine Robb, MD

    I got this too, and laughed and laughed. If laughter is good for the soul and also for physical health, this was a Major Benefit!

  • Henry

    I received this as well. My initial response: “What were they thinking?”

    Looking beyond the immediate vulgarity of this promotion, I wonder if some corpoaate sponsors backed out, fearing sending execs on a boondoggle might not too smart. Or, maybe well-to-do travelers – or people who used to be well-to-do travelers – have decided that this event is too expensive for these times.

    Still, Janice, you hit the nail on the head. This promotion is crass. It also appears to have been poorly targeted, since I received it and I have reduced both my overall spending and UA/Chase credit card charge volume.

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