An affinity card is a credit card that is co-branded by a bank and a participating organization, such as an airline, hotel chain, charity, or university. The card issuer typically pays a fee or donates a portion of the interchange fees it collects to the affiliated organization. Some key features of affinity cards include:
Branded with the logo and imagery of both the issuing bank and the affiliated organization. This allows cardholders to show their affiliation to that organization.
May offer rewards points, miles, or other perks that are specifically tied to the affiliated organization and its offerings. For example, an airline co-branded card may allow users to earn frequent flyer miles and receive free checked bags or priority boarding.
Often support or provide donations to the affiliated nonprofit organization. So getting the card helps fund the organization’s mission.
Tend to have annual fees, which help fund the rewards and benefits specific to that affinity program. Though some cards waive the annual fees for the first year.
So in summary, an affinity card allows cardholders to show support for and receive perks related to an organization they are affiliated with, like an alma mater, favorite sports team, or charity they care about. The co-branding and fees provide funding or donations.
What Are the Benefits of Having an Affinity Card?
Here are some of the main benefits of having an affinity credit card:
- Earn rewards related to the affiliated company. For example, airline affinity cards let you earn miles in that airline’s frequent flyer program.
- Gain loyalty perks and discounts from the affiliated organization. Such as priority access, members-only sales, or partnerships with other brands.
- Support an organization or cause you care about. The issuing banks typically donate to the affiliated charity or nonprofit.
- Enjoy unique branding and designs that reflect your interests. Affinity cards stand out with logos and images related to the co-brand.
- Potentially access exclusive experiences and events with the affiliated organization only offered to cardholders.
- Take advantage of special financing offers on the affinity partner’s products or services, like 0% intro APRs.
- Gain status, privileges, and elite benefits automatically with some tiers of affinity cards.
So in essence, affinity cards allow you to both support brands/causes you like while also reaping tailored perks and rewards unique to that company or organization. The specialized offers make them appealing compared to general cash back or travel rewards cards.