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Co-Branded and Affinity Cards in the U.S., 5th Edition


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Co-Branded and Affinity Cards in the U.S., 5th Edition


Co-branded credit cards generated $809 billion in U.S. purchase value in 2014. Visa leads network operators with a 47% share, followed by MasterCard and American Express. Competition is intense, as a growing bevy of players chase a finite universe of affluent prospects with more rewards and broader, deeper card benefits. Even so, co-branded cards can be further leveraged to draw more Millennials into the mix, and (at a time when the concept of brand loyalty is on the ropes) well-positioned issuers can leverage merchants’ need for sophisticated loyalty marketing strategies.

Co-Branded and Affinity Cards in the U.S., 5th Edition provides a wealth of insight on trends shaping this increasingly competitive industry, helping market participants plan their co-branded relationships and strategies.

What You'll Get in the Report:

  • Provides a market size for U.S. general purpose credit cards and co-branded credit cards, as well as market factor analysis and card program counts by operating network, issuer, and partnership segment.
  • Conducts an airline guest, frequent flyer and hotel guest analysis, targeting affluent guest stays.
  • Assesses co-branding card growth strategies being employed by American Express, MasterCard and Visa.
  • Assesses co-brand/affinity card growth strategies employed by Alliance Data Systems, Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Synchrony Financial Services, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.
  • Provides case studies of credit card programs spanning several partnerships segments: Amazon, General Motors, Hilton, Ralphs, Ritz-Carlton, Sam’s Club, Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Walmart and Wyndham—to gauge program differentiation and related features and benefits; rewards and loyalty program structure; and online/mobile positioning (demographic analysis of these companies and branded is included).
  • Trends credit card usage over time by card association, focusing in HH income trends via eight-segment HH income demographic analysis. General trends are tracked back to 2006; association-based trends are tracked back to 2011. Cards in wallet trends and usage frequency trends are included.
  • Trends rewards/affiliation credit card usage over time by card association and demographic, and analyzes current co-branded/affinity card usage and active usage by card association and demographic. We also gauge usage of 15 types of co-branded/affinity cards.
  • Assesses the importance co-branded credit card users give to a range of features and benefits when signing up for their last co-branded credit card. The section analyzes the importance cardholders attribute to a range of 15 card features & benefits, as well as five additional “follow-up” card feature and benefit categories (extra points/rewards, card reward program, discounts, special perks and services, and travel benefits).


  • Executive Summary
    • Report Scope
      • Market size and forecast
      • Airline guest, frequent flyer, and hotel guest analysis
      • Co-branded credit card case studies
      • Card association co-branded strategies
      • Co-branded and Affinity Credit Card Issuer Strategies
      • General-purpose credit card consumer usage trends
      • Co-branded and affinity credit card consumer usage trends
      • Co-brand/affinity credit card application influencers
  • Market Size and Forecast
    • Co-branded credit card market size
      • Table U.S. Co-Branded Credit Card Purchase Value by Operating Network, 2014
    • Market factors
    • Number of co-branded credit card programs
      • Rewards an expected part of the bargain
    • Partnership industry segments
      • Retail cards most prevalent, followed by airline and hotel cards
        • Table U.S. Co-Branded Credit Card Programs by Issuer & Card Type, 2015
        • Table U.S. Co-Branded Credit Card Programs: Issuer by Partner Segment, 2015
      • Visa tops relationship share
        • Table U.S. Co-Branded Credit Card Programs by Issuer & Operating Network, 2015
    • Co-branded airline credit cards
      • MasterCard gains; American Express loses
        • Table U.S. Airline Co-Branded Credit Card Programs: By Airline, Operating Network and Issuer, 2015
    • Co-branded hotel credit cards
      • Red Roof Inn launch suggests co-branded has not given up on Middle America
        • Table U.S. Hotel Co-Branded Credit Cards: By Hotel, Network/Association, Rewards & Issuer, 2015
  • Airline Guest, Frequent Flyer, and Hotel Guest Analysis
    • Why care about airline co-brands?
      • The power of frequent flyers
        • Table Domestic Round Trips in the Past Year: Any Travel, Business Travel, Personal/Vacation Travel by Travel Frequency and HH Income, 2015
        • Table International Round Trips in the Past Year: Any Travel, Business Travel, Personal/Vacation Travel by Travel Frequency and HH Income, 2015
      • The power of frequent flyer programs: income
      • The power of frequent flyer programs: loyalty
        • Table Frequent Flyer Members by Airline Program and HH Income, 2015
        • Table Frequent Flyer Member Last Round Trip by Airline Program and Airline Flown: Business/Personal and Business-Only, 2015
    • Tracking hotel visitor affluence
      • Table Domestic Hotel Stay in Past 12 Months: By Hotel Brand, 2015
  • Co-Branded Credit Card Case Studies
    • Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card
      • Table Adults 18+ Who Ordered from Amazon in Past 3 Months, 2015
      • Table Amazon.com Rewards Visa Signature Card Incentives, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Mobile app
      • To compete against 5% Back Card
    • BuyPower MasterCard/GM Extended Family Card
      • Differentiation between the cards
      • Differentiation, among its competitors
        • Table GM's BuyPower MasterCard, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
        • Table GM's Extended Family Card, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Mobile and online
      • Name change
    • Carnival World MasterCard
      • Table The Carnival Cruise Traveler, 2015
      • Points translation
      • Rewards longevity
      • Differentiation, among its competitors
        • Table Cruise Travel Frequency in Past Three Years, 2015
        • Table The Carnival World MasterCard, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Mobile and online
    • Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card
      • Table Hilton Use in Past 12 Months: Any, Personal and Business, 2015
      • Rewards differentiator
      • Even more benefits
      • The fine print
        • Table Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card Incentives, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Mobile and online
    • Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card
      • Give me the Gold!
      • So what's it mean to a consumer?
      • Some fine print
        • Table Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card Incentives, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • The Hilton HHonors Reward Program
    • Ralphs rewards plus Visa Card
      • Rewards differentiation: private label loyalty
        • Table Kroger Supermarket Chain Brands Shopped in Past 4 Weeks: Six Major Brands, 2015
      • Even more benefits
      • The website
      • An interesting benefit targeting families
        • Table Ralphs rewards plus Visa Card Incentives, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Mobile and online
    • Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
      • Table Ritz-Carlton Domestic Travel Guest in Past 12 Months, 2015
      • The Black Card is marketing in action
      • The only downside
      • Automatic Gold Elite Status
      • Competition from IHG and Fairmont Visa
        • Table Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card Incentives, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Ritz-Carlton Rewards Program
      • Ritz-Carlton Rewards Program Elite Levels
        • Table Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card Tiers & Features, 2015
      • The fine print: member activity
      • Mobile and online
    • Sam's Club MasterCard
      • Table Sam's Club vs. Costco: Visit Frequency in Past Month, 2015
      • Rewards limitations
        • Table Sam's Club MasterCard, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Mobile and online
    • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus & Rapid Rewards Premiere Visa Cards
      • Differing tiers, differing rewards
      • Differentiation
      • Transparency suffers, but a nice surprise awaits
      • Companion Pass Status: travel for two, anyone?
        • Table Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus & Rapid Rewards Premiere Visa Cards, Tiers and Features, 2015
      • Rapid Rewards
      • Not all is perfect
      • Points for eating and shopping, too
      • A-List Status
      • Mobile and online
    • Virgin Atlantic World Elite MasterCard
      • Other benefits
      • What's the big deal?
      • Foreign transaction fee
        • Table Virgin Atlantic World Elite Black MasterCard, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
        • Table Virgin Atlantic World Elite White MasterCard, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Flying Club Rewards
      • Mobile and online
    • Walmart MasterCard
      • Table Shopped at Walmart in past 4 Weeks, Any and 3+ Times, 2015
      • Rewards and benefits
        • Table Walmart MasterCard Incentives, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Mobile and online
    • Wyndham Rewards Visa Card
      • Table Wyndham Hotels Domestic Travel Guest in Past 12 Months, 2015
      • Table Wyndham Rewards Visa Card Incentives, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Table Wyndham Rewards Visa Card With No Annual Fee, Rewards and Other Features, 2015
      • Mobile and online
      • Wyndham Rewards
  • Card Association Co-branded Strategies
    • American Express
      • Value proposition
      • Operating segments
      • Special services and programs abound
      • Rewards cards and loyalty programs are the name of the game
        • Table American Express: Cardholder Rewards, Cardholder Rewards & Marketing Expense vs. Billed Business: 2012-2014
    • Own-branded credit cards
      • Movement to category-based rewards tiers
      • SimplyCash gets a reboot
      • Business Gold follows
      • Multi-tender loyalty foray
      • Addressing the airport lounge issue
    • Co-branded credit cards
      • Co-branded moves
        • Table American Express Consumer and Small Business Own-Brand & Co-Branded Credit Card Programs, 2015
        • Table American Express U.S. Third-Party Co-Branded Credit Card Programs, 2015
      • Co-branded spend
        • Table American Express U.S. Card Services Billed Business and Co-branded Billed Business, 2014
    • MasterCard
      • Back in the co-branded game
        • Table U.S. General-Purpose Credit Card/Charge Card Purchase Value by Operating Network: Actual and Indexed Growth, 2007-2014
        • Table MasterCard U.S. Co-Branded Credit Card Programs, by Card Segment, 2015
    • Visa
      • Tiered consumer credit platform
      • Market share leader
        • Table General-Purpose Credit Card Usage by Association/Networks: Percent Change by HH Income, 2009 vs. 2015
      • Co-branded moves
        • Table Visa U.S. Co-Branded Credit Card Programs by Card Segment, 2015
  • Co-branded and Affinity Credit Card Issuer Strategies
    • Alliance Data Systems
      • Competitive positioning
        • Table Alliance Data Systems: Co-Branded Credit Card Partners, 2015
      • Performance analysis
        • Table Alliance Data Systems Private Label/Co-branded Loans, Purchase Value & Accounts, 2009-2014
        • Table Alliance Data Systems, Purchase Value & Loans Outstanding by Major Retail Partner, 2014
    • Bank of America
      • Own-brand strategy: casting a broad, stable net
      • Co-branded and affinity a strong suit
        • Table Bank of America Consumer and Business Own-Brand & Co-Branded Credit Card Programs, 2015
        • Table Bank of America Consumer and Business Affinity Credit Card Programs, 2015
    • Barclays
      • Co-branded credit card growth and trends
        • Table Barclay's Consumer and Business Own-Brand & Co-Branded Credit Card Programs, 2015
        • Table Barclays U.S. Co-branded Accounts, by Account Number & Total Receivables, 2015
      • Performance analysis
        • Table Barclays Bank Delaware: Credit card Loans Outstanding, 2011-2014
        • Table Barclays Bank Delaware: Financial Overview, 2014
    • Capital One Financial
      • Competitive positioning
      • Own-brand moves
      • Co-branded moves
      • Co-branded acquisitions and sales
        • Table Capital One Consumer and Business Own-Brand & Co-Branded Credit Card Programs, 2015
      • Performance analysis
        • Table Capital One Financial Corporation: U.S. Credit Card Purchase Value & Loans Outstanding, 2011-2014
    • Citibank
      • Leaner, meaner and ready to expand again
      • Own-brand moves
      • Co-branded moves
        • Table Citibank Consumer and Business Own-Brand & Co-Branded Credit Card Programs, 2015
    • J.P. Morgan Chase
      • Card, transaction and new account leadership
      • Value proposition
      • Co-brand: Focus on core portfolio
        • Table J.P. Morgan Chase Consumer, Business and Government Own-Brand & Co-Branded Credit Card Programs, 2015
        • Table Chase Co-branded Card Hotel Brands: Domestic Travel Guest in Past 12 Months, by Brand & Demographic, 2015
        • Table Frequent Flyer Enrollment: Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, by Demographic, 2015
    • Synchrony Financial Services
      • Partner movement and segment growth
      • Wins, renewals and losses
      • Growth strategies: grow private label share of partner sales & grow partners
      • Co-branded moves
        • Table Synchrony Financial Services: Major Private Label/Co-branded Retail Partners, 2015
      • The co-branded angle
        • Table Synchrony Financial Credit Card Trust Loan Receivables & Account Share, 2015
        • Table Synchrony Financial Private Label Credit Card Receivables by Retail Partner, Q1 2015
      • Performance analysis
        • Table Synchrony Financial Retail Card Purchase Value, Receivables & Partners, 2011-2014 & H1 2014-2015
        • Table Synchrony Financial Services Synchrony Financial Purchase Value, Loan Receivables, Accounts & Revenue, by Segment, 2011-2014
        • Table Synchrony Financial Services Purchase Value, Loan Receivables, Accounts & Revenue, by Segment, H1 2014 vs. H1 2015
    • U.S. Bank
      • Own-branded credit card trends
      • Co-branded strength and stability
      • Co-branded moves
        • Table U.S. Bank Consumer and Business Own-Brand & Co-Branded Credit Card Programs/Cards, 2015
    • Wells Fargo
      • Own-brand and co-branded moves
        • Table Wells Fargo: Consumer Credit Card Metrics, 2014
        • Table Wells Fargo Own-Brand & Co-branded Cards, 2015
  • General-Purpose Credit Card Consumer Usage Trends
    • Introduction
    • Credit card usage trends over time
      • Percentage of credit card users on the upswing
      • General-purpose card usage growth lags department store card usage growth
    • General-purpose credit card usage trends: 2006 to 2015
      • Pre-recession usage peak remains a long way off
        • Table General-Purpose Credit Card Usage Penetration by Card Association: Percent Change, 2006-2015
    • General-purpose credit card usage frequency trends: 2006-2015
    • General-purpose credit cards in wallet: trends over time
      • Credit card usage by HH income
        • Table General-Purpose Credit Card Use Among $150K+ Consumers: By Association/Networks, 2009-2015
        • Table General-Purpose Credit Card Use by Association/Networks: Percent Change in Usage, by HH Income, 2009-2015
        • Table American Express Credit Card: User Share by HH Income, 2015
        • Table Discover Credit Card: User Share by HH Income, 2015
        • Table MasterCard Credit Card: User Share by HH Income, 2015
        • Table Visa Credit Card: User Share by HH Income, 2015
  • Co-branded and Affinity Credit Card Consumer Usage Trends
    • Rewards/affiliation credit card usage trends: 2011 to 2015
      • Introduction and explanation
      • Co-brand/rewards credit card usage outstrips general-purpose credit cards
      • Cash back takes the lead
        • Table Rewards/Affiliation Credit Card Usage: All Adults, by Co-brand/Rewards Type, 2011-2015
        • Table Rewards/Affiliation Credit Card Usage: General-Purpose Credit Card Users by Co-brand/Rewards Type, 2011-2015
      • American Express rewards/affiliation credit card usage trending
        • Table American Express Rewards/Affiliation Credit Card Usage by Affiliation/Reward Type, 2011-2015
      • Discover rewards/affiliation credit card usage trending
        • Table Discover Rewards/Affiliation Credit Card Usage by Affiliation/Reward Type, 2011-2015
      • MasterCard rewards/affiliation credit card usage trending
        • Table MasterCard Rewards/Affiliation Credit Card Usage by Affiliation/Reward Type, 2011-2015
      • Visa co-brand/rewards credit card usage trending
        • Table Visa Rewards/Affiliation Credit Card Usage by Affiliation/Reward Type, 2011-2015
    • Rewards/affiliation credit card usage, by demographic
      • By HH income: affluent dominate hotel and airline
      • By generation and gender: generation shift in play?
        • Table General-Purpose & Rewards/Affiliation Credit Card Usage: By Rewards/Affiliation & Generation by Gender, 2015
      • Airline card usage and usage share
      • Cash back card usage and usage share
    • Rewards/affiliation credit card usage, by household investments
      • Table Credit Card Usage by Card Association & Rewards/Affiliation Type: Among Investors with $100K+ in Assets, by Asset Type, 2015
    • Co-branded/affinity credit card usage
      • Introduction and context
      • More than 5 in 10 general-purpose credit card users have co-brand/affinity card
      • Visa co-brand/affinity usage penetration leads other card associations
      • But co-brand/affinity card penetration by association is a close call
      • Proprietary survey results affirm co-brand/affinity demographic skew
        • Table General-Purpose and Co-Brand/Affinity Credit Card Usage Penetration: By Demographic, 2015
      • MasterCard and Visa co-branded users skew younger, with Visa drawing younger affluent
        • Table American Express & MasterCard & Visa Co-Brand/Affinity Usage & Active Usage: By Demographic, 2015
    • 15 co-brand/affinity card types: usage & usage in past 30 days
      • Co-branded penetration more than three times higher than affinity
        • Table Co-branded and Affinity Credit Card Usage Ratio: By 15 Card Types, 2015
      • Co-branded cards attract higher incomes; affinity cards attract more males
  • Co-Brand/Affinity Credit Card Application Influencers
    • Co-brand/affinity card signup influencers
      • Introduction
    • The big picture
      • No annual fee and rewards help drive sign-up decision
      • Mobile app not so much
    • The Details
      • Ways to earn extra points/rewards: demographic analysis
        • Table Ways to Earn Extra Points/Rewards: Co-branded Card Sign-Up Influencers by Demographic, 2015
      • Rewards program features: demographic analysis
        • Table Rewards Program Features: Co-branded Card Sign-Up Influencers by Demographic, 2015
      • Types of discounts: demographic analysis
        • Table Types of Discounts: Co-branded Card Sign-Up Influencers by Demographic, 2015
      • Types of special perks: demographic analysis
        • Table Types of Special Perks & Services: Co-branded Card Sign-Up Influencers by Demographic, 2015
      • Types of travel benefits: demographic analysis
        • Table Types of Travel Benefits: Co-branded Card Sign-Up Influencers by Demographic, 2015
  • Appendix
    • Methodology
      • Consumer survey methodology
      • Explanations
    • Report table interpretation
    • Terms and definitions

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