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You almost had me at free gifts

link Kevin Wilson

Staff columnist

First you get the gold card, and you feel great about your upward mobility on credit.

Keep it up, and you qualify for the platinum card.

I think I saw a titanium-level card once, but usually the metal game doesn’t start before silver, and stops after platinum.

I’m guessing the credit card companies didn’t want to remind people who hadn’t taken a geology class, or insult those who had.

“Wait, so is a palladium card better or worse?”

“I’ve been downgraded to a Visa aluminum? What gives?”

No, they go to colors next, and the next level was the black card. “My black card, they don’t decline that,” are the lyrics from Chris Brown, sometime before and/or after the time he was an unapologetic jerk (OK, maybe during, too).

I find I’m getting more of the higher offers, because I don’t get in trouble with the cards I have. I own five various credit cards, and the combined balance of the cards is around $50 — mainly because I treated my car to a full tank of gas Monday. So everybody wants me to get their card, and their offers usually go to the shredder.

Case in point, I got my first non-musical taste of the black card in the mail Saturday. The black card invitation arrived in a thick black envelope that made me say, “They haven’t seen my paycheck, have they? Oh well, let’s humor them.”

The first thing I did was looked at the interest rates. They were quite high, which makes you believe this is not the credit card for people who carry balances. It is the credit card for people who pay the balance in full, and do it early. I’m happy to say I’m more often the latter than the former. Maybe this black card invite is for me.

I kept on reading the benefits and terms, to see if they were speaking to me.

Would you like a card made of stainless steel? I don’t see why, but I don’t see why not. Go on, black card.

Would you like a card accepted in 170 countries? I’ve only been to one, but I’m sure that will help. I’m liking this so far.

Would you like access to the VIP lounges at airports? Yes I would. Airport terminals aren’t the most comfortable places in the world. Give me a soft reclining seat and free snacks, please. This black card is speaking my language.

Would you like 24-hour concierge service? I’m sure I don’t need help to find out the president of Zimbabwe, buy concert tickets or find a grocery store that sells the laundry supplies I like. But why risk it? You’re warming up to me, black card.

Would you like $1,500 in trip interruption/cancellation insurance? The nearest major airport is 100 miles away. I think I would love that, black card.

Where have you been my whole life?

Would you like trip delay, lost luggage and travel accident insurance? Better to be safe than sorry. Black card, we’re getting to be great friends.

Would you like free gifts from our business partners? Gifts for me? I’d be delighted. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Would you believe this is available for just an annual $495 fee?

As I listened to the brochures go through the paper shredder, I just chuckled. That was a close one. I wonder how I got somebody else’s mail.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 319 or by email:

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