Susie Supalo’s six-year quest for Super Bowl tickets came to a joyous end Friday.
Supalo was one of thousands of Bank of America credit cardholders who were stunned by the banking giant’s announcement in July that after Aug. 31, 2010, the reward points they’d earned on their officially licensed NFL credit cards would expire. After the announcement, I wrote a blog on the topic, which prompted this comment from Supalo a few weeks later:
“I have been saving NFL points for 6 years for Super Bowl tickets. I had enough points last Super Bowl for upper level seats but decided not to redeem them because I had been saving for so long I thought I would wait for lower level seats. I have enough points for lower level seats and now I can’t redeem them. Obtaining Super Bowl tickets with my points has been my goal for 6 years. I think BofA and NFL should have given us more notice. I would have redeemed my points last Super Bowl. Is there anything I can do? I feel cheated by the NFL, B of A and the Chicago Bears! How can they get away with this???”
I felt compelled to contact her to learn more. Turns out she had spent the past six years putting everything on her Chicago Bears credit card — “McDonald’s, phone bills, down payments for two cars, airline tickets, hotel stays, etc.” — with a goal of earning enough rewards points to purchase Super Bowl tickets. And, as she mentioned in her comment, she had gotten enough (more than 300,000 points) to be able to buy lower-level seats to the Super Bowl.
But her dream of getting super seats for the Super Bowl — to be held next February in Arlington, Texas, at the new Cowboys Stadium — came crashing down when Bank of America made its announcement. The bank did it because as of September 1, 2010, they would no longer offer officially licensed NFL credit cards. After 15 years of partnership with BofA, the NFL was moving its credit card business to Barclays Bank. Because of that, BofA had redesigned their NFL Extra Points program website to include a giant, ticking countdown clock and a headline that screamed “LAST CHANCE TO SPEND YOUR POINTS.”
Next to that, this warning: “After August 31, 2010,” the bank says on its NFL Extra Points program website, “Bank of America will no longer offer the NFL credit card program. All points must be redeemed on or before this date.” Otherwise, the points will expire.
This meant that Supalo could still use her points to get rewards — for example, she could play golf with a Bears coach for 200,000 points or buy lots of collectibles, such as a helmet signed by Bears legends Mike Singletary, Dick Butkus and Brian Urlacher — but she wanted her Super Bowl tickets. They wouldn’t be available for purchase by the deadline, though, so she felt she was out of luck.
To Bank of America’s credit, however, it took just one e-mail from me to bank spokeswoman Betty Riess in order to make things happen. Riess responded, saying that the bank would follow up with Supalo. Fewer than 24 hours later, Supalo e-mailed me to say that Bank of America would be getting her the tickets after all.
“I can’t stop smiling!!!!” Supalo said in her e-mail.
With that, Bank of America kept a customer happy simply by doing the right thing. Though I don’t pretend to know her payment history or other details about her credit, Supalo appears to simply have been a loyal Bank of America customer who made the most out of one of the bank’s most visible programs and then got caught in a case of very bad timing.
That said, however, she is also an extreme case. The reality is that there will be plenty of BofA NFL cardholders who end up with thousands of lost rewards points and lots of hard feelings because of the move. Riess said that BofA has been contacting NFL cardholders” through direct mail, statement messages and online messages” to let them know of the deadline, but invariably, not all cardholders will get the message.
So, if you have one of these cards, please don’t wait to cash in those rewards points. You’ve earned them and should get something for them before it’s too late.