Throw Out The First Pitch At A Major League Baseball Game, From Just $4000 In Credit Card Spend

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I’ve covered Cardless, and how fintech can disrupt credit card rewards. I think we’re going to see a lot more rewards cards focused on smaller brands, offering really cool niche experiences.

Cardless is out with the brand-new Miami Marlins Credit Card and what’s especially great about this card is both how it offers strong earning for a no annual fee rewards product, but also how it leverages the strong rewards program that the team already has in place. Would you believe it’s possible to throw out the first pitch at a Major League baseball game after just $4000 in credit card spend?

Key details of the Miami Marlins Credit Card:

  • Acquisition offer: 25,000 points after $2500 in spending within the first three months

  • Earning: 5x on Marlins tickets and 5% back on concessions at their ballpark; 3x on dining, food delivery, gas and drugstores; 1x on everything else

  • Redemption basis: Points are worth one cent apiece towards statement credits, or 1.25 cents apiece on Marlins merchandise.

  • Points transfer: This card’s points transfer 10:1 into the Marlins’ Home Run Rewards program, which opens up some fantastic experiences at reasonable prices.

miami marlins credit card

The narrowcasting here is fantastic. A FinTech with low overhead costs to spin up a new program can service a niche market, like Marlins fans, and provide great return in multiple ways.

  1. A fan who frequently attends games can earn a 6.25% rebate, then, on ballpark spending when used for Marlins team gear (5 points per dollar earned, redeemed at 1.25 cents per point).

  2. Meanwhile the credit card becomes an equalizer in the Home Run Rewards program, letting a fan even in the cheap seats use the rest of their credit spend to access the kinds of experiences usually reserved for VIPs and the biggest spenders at the park.

The team’s rewards offerings change from month-to-month but currently they’re showing options that include playing catch on the field for 500 points, a “$600 value” customized jersey and cigar box for 10 points, and a player-autographed baseball for 57 points. But what’s really incredible, in my opinion, is this:

2000 team rewards points – which you can get with 20,000 points earned on the card – currently lets you throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Marlins baseball game. That means card spending starting at $4000 (in 5x categories) is enough to accomplish this.

For those of us who don’t spend a lot with the Marlins, $6667 in dining and drugstore spend would get you the points you need on the card to redeem this option. Half as many points would let you be the “PLAY BALL!” announcer for a game.

If you’re a baseball fan, or if you’ve got a kid who plays baseball, what more special trip could there be where you go to a ballgame and you’re the one who gets to throw out the first pitch? I’d dedicate several months of eating out to the kind of experience that money usually can’t buy, either for myself or better yet for my daughter.

Five years ago Dans Deals spent over 1 million Starwood Starpoints to throw out the first pitch at game 7 of the World Series. I can’t promise that the Marlins will find themselves in the Series. But 20,000 card points to throw out a first pitch at a regular season game is an amazing value.

Ultimately where this is going, I think (and we’ll get there if Cardless grows big enough) is truly customized rewards cards. If there’s no limit on the number of co-brand credit cards, there’s no limit to how customized the rewards – and experiences – can be.

Miami Marlins Credit Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Have you seen Marlins attendance numbers? They should be paying people to throw out the first pitch.

  2. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
    What a game that was and what a treat it was to watch it with my wife on our anniversary from the row behind the dugout! If only the Tribe actually won…

    But this is very cool. I guess they’re not banking on many redemptions as they would need to heavily increase rates to decrease demand in any actual baseball town.

  3. FYI – throwing out the “first pitch” doesn’t necessarily mean throwing out the one right before the game that is usually captured on TV. My former company was based in St Louis and had signage and suite access for the Cardinals. 3 years ago at our sales conference the top two sales people for the year got selected to throw out the first pitch. That evening at the game there were probably 30-40 people who threw out a “first pitch”. This started around an hour before game time with few players on the field. The catcher was a back up bull pen catcher (not Molina). People were introduced by the public address announcer, their name and other info was displayed on the scoreboard and then they walk to the mound to throw a pitch. Basically it was an assembly line and really, IMHO, not something to value.

    Given how many people could qualify for this promotion I expect it will be a similar experience for them and likely a little bit of a let down.

  4. SPG had a auction 4 years ago for taking batting practice at Citi Field. I won the auction and the date happened to be on my 50th birthday. It only cost me around 30,000 points. MasterCard Priceless has a similar event at Fenway Park and it was $600 for 2 people. Going to do that at the end of this month.

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