Affinity Credit Cards as Relationship Marketing Tools: A Conjoint Analytic Exploration of Combined Product Attributes

Scott A. Jones
Tracy A. Suter

The purpose of this exploratory research was to gain a greater understanding of the importance consumers assign to the product attributes of one of the most visible relationship marketing programs: affinity credit cards. Drawing on relationship marketing, symbolic consumption, and social identity, the authors explore the importance of attributes when choosing an affinity credit card. Three studies at different universities determined the ranked importance to student consumers of the background logo, the beneficiary, attributes such as annual fees and interest rates, and the financial institutions. Respondents placed most importance on the beneficiary, supporting self-concept aspects of relationship marketing. Background was of low importance, although students preferred athletic logos. The financial institution was the least important attribute. The information from this research is useful for credit card issuers and the managers of institutional or organizational brands, particularly during the negotiation of affinity card relationships.