Fleet Financial Group of Boston has added a new twist to one-stop shopping.
In recent weeks, the $100.7 billion-asset bank has sent packages to several hundred thousand retail customers offering membership in a club that, for $5 a month, will get them anything from personal shopping services to travel assistance, restaurant discounts, and accidental-death insurance.
The program is part of a six-bank pilot sponsored by the Nashville marketing company FISI Madison Inc. It is marketed under the Financial Services Association label.
Consultants said the program is aimed at customers who frequently travel and entertain for business. Such perks are usually not offered by a bank, though the notion of wide-ranging personal assistance for a monthly subscription fee is in pilot mode at National Westminster Bank in the United Kingdom, a program called Zenda.
"I've never heard of that with a bank," said Mike Harris, a consultant with Speer & Associates, Atlanta. He said Fleet's offer is "obviously targeted toward the upscale client" because of the travel and entertainment orientation.
Mr. Harris said airlines, other travel businesses, American Express Co., and other card issuers have popularized clubs and affinity programs to retain customers.
Benefits with the Fleet program include protection against lost or stolen credit cards, 24-hour emergency cash advance services, and purchase- protection insurance on consumer items paid for by check up to $50,000 each year.
Fleet customers who accept the offer get a card with identification numbers and toll-free service numbers.
Other features include shopping by phone from a catalogue for appliances, housewares, linens, and furniture.
A concierge service allows Fleet customers to call into FISI Madison's Nashville service center to get sports and entertainment tickets, make reservations at more than 5,000 restaurants in 300 cities around the world, and order gift baskets and flowers. Golfers can get information on 300 public courses in the United States.
Fleet is also offering club members discounts of 5% to 25% and cash bonuses on airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, tours, and cruises, as well as 20% to 50% discounts on movie tickets, dry cleaning, film processing, and other retail expenses.