New credit card company Cardless has an interesting business model for finding cardmembers. Instead of partnering with big brands to gain access to large numbers of customers, their brand new tech should be able to operate at a lower cost – so they can work with smaller brands. Their bet is they can aggregate a large number of small card programs in order to reach a lot of consumers.
Their Boston Celtics card offers 7x on rideshare and streaming. Their New Orleans Pelicans card offers 4x on restaurants and gas.
Cardless now partners with South American megacarrier LATAM which is part-owned by Delta.
There are (2) new products, a no-fee LATAM Airlines Mastercard and the LATAM Airlines World Elite Mastercard.
LATAM Airlines Mastercard
- No annual fee
- Initial bonus: 15,000 miles after $1,000 spent in first three months
- Earn: 3x on LATAM purchases; 2x on Restaurants, Ground Transportation
- Status-earning: Earns status points at a rate of 10% of miles earned from card purchases
LATAM Airlines World Elite Mastercard
- $99 annual fee
- Initial bonus: 40,000 miles after $2,500 spent in first three months
- Earn: 4x on LATAM purchases; 3x on Restaurants, Ground Transportation
- Status-earning: Earns status points at a rate of 20% of miles earned from card purchases
- Lounge access: 2 LATAM lounge passes per cardmember year
They offer two caveats that “sSign-up bonus miles and promotional miles are not eligible for Qualifying Points accrual” which seems fair and clear enough, also that “Customers with LATAM Pass Gold Plus elite status and above will not receive additional Upgrade Coupons.”
Spend on these cards makes earning elite status quite straightforward, so a must for LATAM-loyal flyers, but not products I’d adopt as everyday spend cards otherwise.
Copyright: artzzz / 123RF Stock Photo
The President of Cardless was once an intern at The Points Guy so bringing a travel card into his portfolio of products is certainly a big deal there. This isn’t LATAM’s first U.S. co-brand. They were partners with U.S. Bank. So Cardless taking on the LATAM product is another sign of strength for the startup.
Ultimately I love seeing more cards, because that means more variety in offerings, and rewards that can better match each consumer’s preferences. I never expected to be a Miami Marlins card cardholder.
LATAM has offered strong value in the past, but now that they’re no longer in oneworld and they are focused on bilateral partnerships I’m not sure how appealing their product will be to the average mileage junkie – though they’ll definitely have a market in customers focused on South America travel. I look forward to seeing the LATAM co-brand value proposition once it’s available.
The ‘cardless’ name is a farce. Just call it MBNA.
It is probably at least as significant that Latam’s chapter 11 reorganization was approved by the US bankruptcy court in NY last week which should allow Latam to leave chapter 11 protection in the next few months. With Latam back in the game, the Delta-Latam joint venture proposal will likely finally get an answer from the DOJ and DOT and the competitive situation to/from Latin America, including in Miami will step up at least a step.
LATAM Airlines points are worth 10% of American/United/Delta points.
Seriously, any redemptions cost at least five times what they would on American carriers.
They also have the worst IT ever invented.
Definitely the most hated carrier here in Brazil and in Chile as well.