As part of the UK Daily Mail‘s coverage of President Obama cutting the line at the extremely popular Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, they carried a photo of him paying for the order of the father and daughter who were first in line ahead of him.
And this photo reveals Obama’s credit card of choice.
He’s carrying a JP Morgan Select card.
You cannot apply directly for this card any longer. When it was available it was basically a Chase Sapphire Preferred card without double miles on dining, or a signup bonus, but (based on a comparison I did for Wendy Perrin at Conde Nast Traveler a couple of years ago) with:
- An EMV chip (chip and signature), before Sapphire Preferred offered this.
- 25,000 bonus points after $100,000 spend each year.
- Primary collision damage waiver on rental cars.
The card is still available, though, to Palladium card cardholders.
The Palladium card is a $595 annual fee product with laser-engraved signature into a heavy metal card, available to JP Morgan Private Client and Private Bank customers. It comes with United Club membership, what was once a highly regarded concierge service but that has apparently experienced slippage, and 35,000 bonus points after $100,000 spend each year. It earns double points on travel, and doesn’t report each month to cardmember’s credit (“hidden trade line” so use of credit line doesn’t increase utilization ratio and reduce credit score).
Chase will give Palladium cardmembers a Select card on request, either in place of or in addition to their Palladium since some customers prefer the attractively designed but less flashy card (avoiding the “thud” and cashier comments that come along with having a unique-looking and very heavy metal card).
We do not know whether Obama is a legacy Select cardmember or a Palladium cardholder. However, I’ve previously heard that at least one Chase employee was fired for looking up Obama’s assets with the bank without authorization.
But what of his card choice?
Sapphire Preferred comes with the same rewards plus double points on dining (Franklin Barbecue even features in a Chase ad). It now has the EMV chip. And it would have come with a signup bonus.
The Palladium card makes no sense for Obama presently, and carries a much higher annual fee. (Nor does he need the ‘bling’ since he’s, you know, POTUS and all.)
Even as a legacy Select cardholder he’ll clearly do better with Sapphire Preferred than with JP Morgan Select unless he spends $100,000 per year on the Select card and with less than 25% of his spend in travel or dining categories.
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