"A young Californian recently got his first credit card, a Platinum MasterCard with a spending limit of $1,500. All very nice, especially considering Clifford J. Dawg is only 2½ years old and, well, a dog." -- Fox News, 2004
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Fall 2011. A sundrenched kitchen in a suburban home.
Rover grunted as he slowly raised his head to admire his handiwork. And he was pleased; his lavish licking of that particular part of his anatomy had produced a real cosmetic enhancement. Indeed, in his view, it was a work of art. But his contented contemplation was rudely interrupted by the arrival in the kitchen of Fido, his bloodhound friend.
"What's that?" barked Fido, gesturing with an enormous paw at the opened envelope nestling on the edge of Rover's basket.
"It's a letter inviting me to apply for a Chase Freedom Visa card," came the reply. "Apparently, I'll get a $200 bonus if I spend $500 on it in the first three months I have it."
For such a big dog, Fido could be really quite camp. "Ooooh," he squealed, his tail wagging furiously. "Get one. Get one! Just think of all the bones you could buy with that."
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"Nah. I had virtually the same offer for the Citi Dividend World MasterCard last week," said Rover, embellishing "World" with a low growl. And I didn't go for that either."
"Why not? What's the catch?"
Rover sighed at the sheer stupidity of his canine friend. "There's no catch. I'm sure they're very good rewards credit cards if you're that sort of dog. But my pedigree is pure and can be traced all the way back to 1988. So I'm waiting to hear from American Express. I hear its Centurion card has an unbeatable concierge service."
Fido stumbled on the unfamiliar word. "What's a con..."
"A concierge service," interrupted Rover, "obtains the unobtainable. Suppose you're planning on entertaining a lady dog for lunch tomorrow. You're definitely going need the props for such a grand seduction. So you call the concierge service and they'll have Pierre Gagnaire grill you a couple of filets mignons in Paris, and fly them over. Or suppose you want really great tickets to see your favorite basketball team play. If you're a Centurion cardholder, American Express gets them for you."
"Minnesota Timberwolves!" Fido yelped excitedly.
"Typical. I'm more a Toronto Huskies man myself. Though they only played one season back in the '40s. Still, there's a campaign to reinstate the name for the Raptors. And I'm a liberal, so a Canadian hopeless cause is just my sort of thing."
"What about travel rewards cards?" asked Fido. "Then you could go to Toronto to see a match. Fritz at number 57 has one of those Capital One VentureOne Rewards credit cards. He got 10,000 bonus miles when he applied, and says he's going to use it to visit his family in Alsace, France, once he has enough points. Or Alsace, Germany, maybe, depending on how long it takes him, and how the European debt crisis works out."
"Have you…" Rover was enunciating each syllable with all the coldness and sharpness of an Alaskan icicle, "Have you ever flown? It's not like in the movies, you know. You go into the so-called 'lounge' and they lock you up in a cage.
"Then they forklift you into the baggage hold. No hot cabin crew. No complimentary glass of domestic champagne. Not so much as a solitary peanut. Travel rewards cards? I spit on them. Or, rather, drool."
At that moment, Roseanne, Rover's servant, who amusingly styled herself his "owner," entered the room. "Here, Rover," she simpered as if addressing a particularly dim toddler with acute ADHD, "You have a letter from American Express."
For the first time in some months, Rover's tail started to wag, and he ripped the envelope in high excitement. But no black Centurion card fell out. Instead, disbelievingly, he read a standard rejection telling him that, unfortunately, he had failed to meet the company's exacting underwriting standards but that he was welcome to apply again in the future, though only for lesser products. The Centurion card is available by invitation only.
Fido watched quietly as his pal's greatest dream tumbled down around his ears like a homemade kennel in a light breeze. Rover's face crumpled as he turned to paw despondently his letter from Chase, and he let out the tiniest shadow of a whimper. Then he turned again, and resumed his licking. There were, he reflected, some advantages to being a dog.