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Sapphire Reserve Strains JP Morgan’s Partnership With United Airlines

JP Morgan’s Sapphire Reserve card is putting a strain on their ties with United Airlines as customers who are using both of the companies are eventually dropping out United Airlines card. According to the Wall Street Journal, one of the customers named Al Sanzari who carried two credit cards canceled out the United Airlines card in March.

“There wasn’t anything the United card was doing for me that the Chase Sapphire Reserve couldn’t,” said Mr. Sanzari, a 29-year-old nutrition coach and the personal trainer said to the journal. It’s been three years JP Morgan came out with their Sapphire Reserve card which hands out generous rewards to the big spenders.

In this situation, the United Airlines wants the same customers to sign up for and spend on the airline’s credit cards. This leaves a strained relationship between the bank and airlines as the bank need to rely on the revenue of their company from their card deals. Therefore, promoting their own luxurious card while keeping their airline partners is being a tough call for the bank.

The United Airlines said that JP Morgan card is directly competing with their airline card and siphoning off the customer spending. In the past, United Airlines President Scott Kirby had talks with JP Morgan to pay it more for the miles. While JP Morgan says that the airline should do more to earn customer loyalty.

“This is a solid, longstanding relationship, and we’re working together to find new ways to grow our partnership for years to come,” the companies said in a joint statement to The Wall Street Journal. Both the companies have been partners since 1987 and today the bank issued 5 cards under different reward programs.

JP Morgan pays United Airlines for the miles cardholders accumulate on the cards. While the airline gets paid before customer book flights and airlines get a cut of the swipe fees the merchants pay when they use the card. On the other side, Sapphire Reserve works differently. The customers collect the points and buy tickets that include United Airlines tickets.


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Julie Halpert
My goal is to fill my days writing and editing, either on a freelance, project or full-time basis. I also co-teach a journalism course and would be delighted to expand the time I devote to instruction on the craft of journalism, either in the classroom or as a media coach. I'm always eagerly looking for new opportunities in writing, editing and public speaking