(Bloomberg News) JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. are making a run for American Express Co.'s affluent clients with the hotel's first rewards program targeted at value-minded luxury customers.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards card will give points as well as room upgrades and other services at the hotel's roughly 75 worldwide locations, according to executives of the two companies. The card, which carries the Visa Inc. brand, has an annual fee of $395 and an interest rate of prime plus 11.99 percent.
Perks include access to JPMorgan's concierge service, currently available only to the New York-based company's wealthiest customers in its private bank, as well as access to about 600 first-class airport lounges and $200 toward baggage fees and other incidentals on flights on all major airlines.
"We found out in 2008 and 2009 that people wanted more value," Herve Humler, president and chief operations officer of Ritz-Carlton, said in an interview before announcing the program. The hotel company, based in Chevy Chase, Maryland, started its first rewards program in September and has about 100,000 members who are being offered the card, Humler said.
Applications are also being taken online. The bank is targeting prime and "super-prime" customers, those who have the highest credit scores and incomes among borrowers, said Tina Chen, who is running the Ritz-Carlton rewards card program for JPMorgan. Cardholders will be awarded 50,000 Ritz-Carlton points after their first purchase, which can be redeemed for a one- night stay.
AmEx, the biggest credit-card issuer by purchases, dominates the market for affluent consumers. Its customers spend about three to four times more than those who use Visa and MasterCard Inc. credit cards, AmEx has said.
JPMorgan rose 67 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $41.06 at 1:36 p.m. in composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange.