“This card is heavy,” he said after running it through the credit card swiper, pausing to examine it closely before handing it back.
“It’s made of metal,” I lamely offer, as if I had said it a hundred times prior (I have).
Yes, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a metal credit card.
It’s heavier than a normal card. The card number is on the back, not the front where clerks usually first look.
There is something about this card that makes people want to hold it, bend it, and examine it closely. This makes my skin crawl as I watch their hands, dirty with the filth of currency and fast food, trail across the letters of my name.
Beware the Unique Credit Card
When I first got the card I thought the metal was cool. I didn't mind when people commented on it.
But that’s not why I got it.
I hadn't opened a new credit card in a few years. and I wanted one with no foreign transaction fees so that I could use it on our trip to London and Croatia. The $400 cash reward signup bonus didn't hurt either, and I happily put that towards the cost of the trip.
“Is this one of those cards with a personal concierge?” another lady asked.
“Yeah, I just dial the number and a real person who speaks English answers, and already knows who I am,” I replied truthfully.
She was thinking it was more like the other metal credit card, the American Express Centurion Card (Black Card) with the $2,500 annual fee. She didn't need to know that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is nothing like it, and the annual fee is only $95.
Then the Trouble Began
It all started in London at a pub. Well, it was more like a chain restaurant because it was at Liverpool Street Station, but for the purposes of this story I’ll call it a pub. The cask ales were a nice treat before we would spend the night in Stansted Airport.
I gave our waitress the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and she ran it through the handheld card reader she carried to our table. Most cards in Europe are chip and pin, so they probably rarely use the swiper.
The card didn't quite fit. She couldn't quite slide it perfectly. It’s probably a hair wider than most cards. It wouldn't register.
Rather than complicate the situation (I had no cash), I gave her my plastic debit card and it worked just fine, with a nice transaction fee to go with it.
Soured on the Metal Credit Card
After it failed me once, I pretty much soured on having a metal credit card.
Now when people comment on its weight, I just say “Yep” rather than offer an explanation. I now hand it to clerks and waiters upside down. so they don’t have to hunt for the number or magnetic stripe.
You see, I’m what you’d call an introvert. I hate bumping into acquaintances in public, so you can imagine how I feel about random conversations with strangers. This card has me dreading every transaction, which I suppose could help me be more frugal.
Overall I’m very happy with the card, and would recommend it to anyone who doesn't have a spending problem. It has a nice cash back component with a yearly bonus dividend, no foreign transaction fees, and yes, you don’t have to beep your way through a confusing phone menu to talk to a person.
As I write this, I am thinking about calling my personal concierge and asking him to send me a plastic version of the card, one that looks like every other credit card. I read somewhere a few months ago that this is an option.
Then I could blend in with the debt slaves and get my coffee and newspaper without eye contact or a question and answer session.
But I didn't call.
I must confess, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is good for the ego.
People think you are wealthy when they hold it. They think you are someone special.
As easy as it is to reject the culture of status symbols (I drive a 7-year-old, four door, four-cylinder sedan worth $5,000 even though I could afford a Benz), I must admit that it’s nice to have one little thing tucked away in your pocket to remind yourself, and others, how awesome you are.
So if you are thinking about getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, or any other metal credit card, be warned that it comes standard with unwanted conversations.