Review of MBNA Platinum Plus Credit Card (Offered by AAA) (April 17, 2003)
It seems that everywhere I go today I see advertisements for credit cards. They fill up my email inbox as spam, they take up space in my newspaper in advertisements, they are sent to my house as junk mail, posted on billboards, TV ads, etc., etc., etc. Enough! I have a great credit card already that I am very happy with I dont need a slew of other cards to make my wallet bulge.
However, one day, I received a letter from the Automobile Association of America (AAA). I was awaiting some mail from them, so I quickly opened it thinking this was the message I was waiting for. It turned out to be another credit card junk mailing. I was just about to rip it up when I noticed the offer for a 5% rebate on gasoline purchases made at the pump. I read some more. The card was a Visa card offered by MBNA bank. It maintains a low introductory interest rate and there is no annual fee. The advertisement did not persuade me to apply, so I threw it in my junk mail recycle bin.
Several days later, I received another mailing from AAA containing the same advertisement. After reading through it again, I changed my mind and decided to apply. The first time, I overlooked the part that promised a travel voucher good for future AAA Travel purchases. I applied over the phone requesting two cards: One for my wife and one for me.
It took several weeks for the card to arrive to my house. When I got it, I had to call a special toll free number to activate the card, which was relatively painless. Then, I put the card in my wallet and drove off to the gas pump to put it to use!
I drive a long distance to work, so I spend a lot of money on gasoline purchases. I usually make payment with my credit card, so saving an extra 5% off my gas bill is a pretty good deal. All other purchases made on this card, including gasoline purchases, count towards AAA Travel vouchers. This seemed to be a slightly better offer than my existing credit card.
Im a very cautious shopper. I cant stand for buying junk or products or services that dont deliver as they state they will. As mentioned earlier, I am constantly bombarded with advertisements for credit cards that I dont need or want. I usually dont even read these advertisements. It took a good perk (a relatively big perk) for me to even consider changing my credit card. In fact, the only reason I considered applying for the credit card at all was due to the perks (i.e., gas discount + travel vouchers).
This said; I received my credit card statement about a month after my first use. The bank conveniently places the credits for gas purchases directly on the statement. Unfortunately for me, the total was off considerably! Although the charges for the gas purchases were clearly and correctly posted, I did not receive my 5% refund as promised! I figured this was an mistake, so I called the bank.
The bank representative was very polite, but he could not explain why the refund was incorrect. He forwarded my call to a specialist. The specialist was aware of the problem but claimed there was nothing he could do. He claimed the problem had to do with the machines that were used to register the charges. Even though each time I paid the gas station attendant at the pump, he used a credit card machine that did not recognize the charge as a gas purchase. As a result, I did not get my credit. He would not adjust my credits on the bill.
I also called AAA to ask to see if they could do something. They claimed that in order for me to get a credit, I would have to use my credit card at a gas station that had the charge machines built into the pumps usually the higher priced gas stations with state of the art equipment.
Well, I feel I was taken for a ride. I received $1.45 in credits, opposed to the $11.23 I calculated I should have received based on my total gasoline purchases. MBNA and AAA claim I can only get the discount if I went to gourmet gas stations that has the special charge machines. MBNA bank and AAA, heres a big raspberry for both of you: Plllllippppp! You both stink!
I have since reviewed the advertisement that accompanied the credit card application. It clearly states a 5% refund will be issued for all gas purchases made at the pump, nationwide. It does not say anything about the need to verify if the pump you use has the ability to apply special codes.
The card is pretty much typical to other cards in other areas. It is the same size; it is a Visa card that is pretty much Welcome everywhere!. The statement arrived promptly in the mail and it was clear to review, although it would have been nice to see which of the gas stations did allow the 5% credit to go through. The bank offers several convenient ways to pay the balance off, including direct deposits, or mailing a check. Accompanying the statement were several pre-printed checks mapped to my credit card account. I did not ask for these and they just make more work for me since I now have to shred them.
The customer service people at MBNA were very polite and friendly to talk to. They seemed to know a lot about the card. They do offer a toll-free number for questions, and they are open all the time.
I always pay off my balance each month, so low rates is not a selling point to me. They also have special security features and insurance, but I never had to use this service so I do not know too much about it. The bank also has a web site, should you need more information (simply visit www.google.com and search for MBNA bank Platinum Plus Visa Card or AAA 5% Gas Credit Card youll get more information then you need!). MBNA bank has been around for a long time, and they offer some of the best perk deals on credit cards. Of the few credit cards that perked my interest, most of them were backed by MBNA.
I would not recommend this credit card due to the bad experience I had with the promised discount that I did not receive. If you visit gas stations that have the charge machines built into the gas pumps, your experience may be different. In New Jersey, our state laws do not allow self-pumping of gasoline, so usually the gas station attendant processes the charge. For the rest of the country, maybe you will have better luck! Also, keep in mind that other charges such as buying chips, or oil, etc. at the gas station do not count towards the 5% credit. I plan to go back to using my old credit card. Good luck and thank you for reading my review!
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