Boeing Employees' Credit Union, Seattle, is revamping its Visa credit card to encourage its 91,000 cardholders to spend more.
Boeing Employees' no-fee card program, launched five years ago, is the fourth largest card program run by a credit union. Outstandings increased 23% last year to $152 million, according to The Nilson Report, an Oxnard, Calif., newsletter. Charge volume also increased 23%, to $321 million.
Cardholders have two new options-they can earn cash back or frequent- flier miles.
Those who elect the TravelAccount option can earn 1 point for every dollar they spend toward air miles.
The points expire after five years and are redeemable at 25,000 points for a domestic airline ticket and 45,000 points for an international ticket. There is a limit of 60,000 points per year.
"Our product management team does nothing else but figure out how to produce increased volume from our existing card base, and these are the things that our members wanted," said Joseph Brancucci, director of consumer loans for Boeing Employees'.
Cardholders would pay a $25 annual fee and a 12.4% interest rate for the frequent-flier option.
For a slightly higher interest rate, 14.4%, cardholders would get an annual cash rebate of 0.5% for purchases up to $3,000 and 1% for purchases over $3,000.
"Credit union cards usually offer a very good rate and modest lines of credit, but are fairly vanilla," said K. Shelly Porges, chief executive of Porges/Hudson Marketing, San Francisco. "These value-added benefits could be very appealing."
Forty-five percent of Boeing Employees' 200,000 members are cardholders, and Boeing Co.'s proposed merger with McDonnell Douglas Corp. could bring in many more. McDonnell Douglas has 63,000 workers.
If officials of the Boeing credit union "apply the strategies they used to become No. 4," Ms. Porges said, "they should certainly see some growth."