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Busty ladies and gambling: Two sinful credit cards

Emily Crone

For (chicken) breast aficionados: The Hooters MasterCard

Who who who's seen my Hooters card?This reward card is for those who just can’t get enough of Hooters. I don’t know anyone who goes there often, but there must be a whole tribe of beer-chugging, wing-chomping, cleavage-adoring regulars if a MasterCard was made for it.

Cardholders earn five points for every dollar spent at Hooters, and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. When you apply, you receive a free one-year subscription to Hooters Magazine. Wait, they have a magazine?

The card’s Web site says, “Most credit cards only give credit to those with the best credit. We are not most credit cards! In order to offer the Hooters MasterCard to all kinds of people with all kinds of credit we have many different interest rates.” The APRs range from 7.75 percent to 26.95 percent. Better hope you have good credit!

Interest rate aside, there are some perks:
-No cap on points and the points never expire.
-No annual fee…for qualified applicants (if you get one, it can be up to $72).
-Large credit lines…for well-qualified applicants.
-“Friendly 24/7/365 customer service.”
-Free online account information and bill pay.
-Because they’re willing to give people with imperfect credit a shot (in exchange for a colossal interest rate), it’s an opportunity to build good credit while enjoying wings.

You don’t get a discount at Hooters with the card, but you will receive special offers on your monthly statement.  Reward points can be exchanged for Hooter’s food, iPods, Playstations, cash back, gift cards and even the opportunity to be a guest photographer for Hooters Magazine!

There’s also an optional gift card program. If you opt in, every time you reach 5,000 points, you’ll automatically be sent a $50 Hooters gift card. The catch? You must allow eight weeks to receive your card.

Then there’s the “Imagine If” program. “You name it and we’ll find it– almost anything and everything,” the Web site says.  “Simply drop us a line and we’ll get you what you’ve been longing for. “This is followed by the words “some restrictions apply” in parentheses. What could that mean?

It means this: The reward must have a retail value of at least $250 and be available in the Continental U.S. If one of the program’s personal shoppers can find and price what you’re looking for, he or she will let you know how many Hooters points you will need to redeem your dream (it will be a minimum of 25,000 points).

Despite Hooters’ bawdy atmosphere, its fine print is a splash of cold water. Some items cannot be purchased with Hooter points, it notes. No matter how rewarding you may find them, booze, tobacco, cosmetic surgery, “intimate items,” pets, pornography, firearms and livestock are not eligible for purchase through Hooters rewards.

The gambling addict’s choice: the Arriva card

“Whether your next trip is to Las Vegas, Atlantic City or a casino closer to home, you’ll want to carry the one cash advance card that unlocks it all: Arriva,” the Web site says. The Arriva card is perfect for high rollers, but doom for a gambling addict.

The Arriva card is a joint effort by CIT Bank of Utah and Arriva Card, a subsidiary of Global Cash Access, a large provider of cash advances to gambling sites worldwide.  The card is used to gamble in over 800 top casinos. Cardholders withdraw money out of special ATMS, kiosks or cashier desks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like a debit card; the money you’re taking out is a cash advance.

You can get cash advances of up to 100 percent of your credit limit (fatal for your credit score) and each cash advance transaction carries a 3 percent fee.  You have a 25-day grace period for the cash advances with no interest, which typical credit cards don’t offer. The Arriva card’s APR for cash advances and purchases ranges from 15.49 percent to 24.49 percent.

The Web site says if you apply now, you’ll be guaranteed no annual fee for life.  You can use the card to make regular purchases at any business that displays the Arriva logo, but I personally haven’t seen that anywhere.

Two reward points are earned for every dollar withdrawn in a cash advance. The reward points can be redeemed for cash back, electronics, designer garb, spa packages, luxury travel and VIP access to select shows, nightclubs and sporting events. Because Arriva is partnered with major casinos, there are ongoing promotions and incentives only for cardholders. Two promos currently listed on the site are 25 percent reduced fees on cash advances at all U.S. Harrah’s locations and a $50 free slot play or match play at Siena Hotel Spa Casino.

The Nilson Report said in May 2007 that the average cash advance taken out with an Arriva card is $871, but Arriva’s cash credit lines range from $1,000 to $20,000. For serious gamblers who play smart and know when to stop, this credit card can be a huge asset. But for gambling addicts, this card could be incredibly dangerous. If you gamble away all the money you withdrew, you owe the bank that money that plus interest if you can’t pay it off before the grace period expires.

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  • Great article as always Emily, made me laugh out loud at work. But in all seriousness: I am not sure which is worse, the hooters card or the gamblers card. Probably the gamblers card, sounds like financial ruin for a gambling addict waiting to happen.

  • Yallifornia

    But the true playa’s wallet isn’t complete without the Carmen Electra Mastercard. I couldn’t make it up..
    http://www.carmencard.com/