To: Oliver Haberstroh, VP of Membership, American Express.
Wow. I am so excited. I came home last night to find out that you'd written to me. I don't recall speaking to you before - I think I'd remember a name such as yours. By the way, did you know that on a spell-checker you come out as 'Oliver Overstretch'?
You wrote to tell me, "Congratulations. You have been selected for the final stage of approval for British Airways American Express Credit Card and are just a few steps away from enjoying all its benefits."
Congratulations certainly are due. Because, if I take this opening paragraph at its word I must have somehow attained God-like status, beating aside hundreds, nay, thousands of other less deserving people to reach this exalted position. Clearly this is the pinnacle of all my years on this planet. It's funny, though. Try as I might, I can't remember actually applying for anything, but that's fine. Sometimes Fate just points his finger at you. This must be my destiny.
Anyway, I am merely "a few steps away" from the unalloyed delights you're yearning to give me. Mere formalities, I suspect, for one such as me! What will you want of me, Oliver? "All you need to do is complete and attach the enclosed application form." Hmmm, let me see...name...bank details...home...work...salary. Then I see you'll do a credit search, underwrite and make a decision.
Gosh, Ollie. Aren't those exactly the same steps I'd take if I was applying for a credit card from scratch? You said I'd been "selected," and everything. You even congratulated me. A much more cynical person might think that "selected for the final stage" actually meant "our mailing database chose you at random".
Never mind, let's press on. What joys can I expect if I take that apparently piddling final step? Well, looky looky. One British Airways BA Mile on every £1 I spend on the card. Apparently, "you'll be surprised at how quickly your BA Miles add up." With our spending patterns we could be flying to the moon and back every weekend. Ooh, a worked example, how exciting! "Once you've spent £20,000, for example, you'll collect enough BA miles for a return ticket to places like Italy, Sweden or Croatia.." (I love the casual use of the words "for example", by the way.)
But. But, but, but. Expedia has a return flight to Rome showing for £160. I haven't checked, but if I wanted to experience the delights of Gothenburg or Split I probably wouldn't be shelling out much more than this. Certainly not twenty big ones. Oh Ollie, you're such a tease! Perhaps there are some other benefits; let's read on, shall we?
"Typical 17.9% APR". Silly me, I don't know anything about such matters, I'll have to take you on trust. After all, you congratulated me, so this must be good, right? So even if I have a quick look at MoneySupermarket I won't find better, will I. I'm special, yes?
Oh, Ollie. I am so disappointed in you. At least fourteen companies will charge me less. I mean, they're not congratulating me or anything, but money is money. Even for us specially-selected people.
Hang on, I've just noticed. There's a life-size replica credit card attached to the letter, with "YOUR NAME HERE" on it. A masterstroke. Just in case the wealth of riches on offer aren't enough to turn my head, you think a bit of blue laminated cardboard might do the trick.
You know me so well, Ollie. That'll do nicely.