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Volume 20 No. 42
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Chase delivers the rewards

The Chase Sapphire Card launched in 2009 with the understanding that customers want unique rewards that match their personal preferences.


JPMorgan Chase

Agency: Intersport

The goal: To have Chase Sapphire Card members redeem their reward points by attending one of the company’s featured golf events.

Why it worked: The program highlighted the quality of the Chase Sapphire rewards program by offering unique, “inside the ropes” experiences to cardholders.

“We built a card program that is based on meeting four key needs of cardholders: travel services, flexible and easy-to-redeem rewards, outstanding customer service, and advocacy,” said Sean O’Reilly, general manager of Chase Sapphire.

Chase identified golf as a major interest for many of its customers, so it began exploring ways to use the sport to highlight the benefits of being a card member.

“They needed events that allowed cardholders to engage with the new Ultimate Rewards program, and those events had to resonate with the affluent group of Sapphire cardholders that have very high expectations,” said Dan Jones, senior vice president of sponsorship and event marketing for Intersport, Chase’s marketing agency.

Thus, Chase and Intersport created a one-of-a-kind golf experience starting last year that includes shot analysis, club selection and a general strategy discussion by a golf pro. Three events were held in 2010 at high-end golf courses — one in Northern California, and the other two in the Chicago area. Attendees were given the opportunity to challenge the professional in a closest-to-the-pin competition, with the prize being a Callaway driver.

The program has been such a success that Chase has doubled the number of events to six for 2011. Chase also is creating activations at various PGA Tour events to promote the rewards programs and golf experiences to a broader market.

“The Chase Sapphire golf experience has consistently had high interest from cardholders, and the feedback we receive from card members post-event has been extremely positive,” O’Reilly said.

Intersport’s Jones agreed, saying, “Customers were blown away by the intimate, inside-the-ropes experience that Chase Sapphire delivered them. We captured video testimonials after the event and consumers literally said, ‘I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out if this is real.’”

— Molly Hogan