Money Moves

Create your own rewards

By Julia Willshire

This is a fortnightly series of articles focusing on the banking and financial industries

As the economy continues to gather steam, local banking institutions are on the lookout for new business opportunities. Among them is Citibank (Hong Kong), which is extending its exclusive credit card service with the introduction of the new Citibank Ultima Card, offering more affluent clients a complete customer-centric package.

"Nowadays, platinum cards have most status," says Angel Ng, director of cards business, Citibank Global Consumer Group. "However, as every bank issues them, they are gradually losing some of their prestige. Also, the members' benefits have become rather unexciting. Ultima Card members, though, will be by invitation only and enjoy exceptional benefits."

What differentiates the card from others, as Ms Ng stresses, are innovative services and rewards which members can 'create'. "Our customers take total control of the kind of services they want to receive," she says. "They don't just have a limited choice from a traditional gift catalogue. Whatever they want, they name it, and they can get it." It will also be possible to take advantage of regular banking services and try out the CitiGold wealth management service without having to meet the minimum balance requirements. A dedicated CitiGold relationship manager will even be assigned to see to any wealth management needs.

Exclusive members' benefits include Dragonair business class return air tickets for a companion and complimentary access to 450 VIP airport lounges worldwide. If you want a private jet, a yacht, or a personalised shopping service, all of that can be arranged along with other CitiGold advantages.

"Competition in the marketplace is very stiff," explains Ms Ng. "As the economy has picked up, banks have started to look into taking their product development a step further. We are no exception." She also points out that, in fighting for a bigger share of the market, innovation is important. "The credit card market has reached a point of saturation where the average family already has four cards. The new trend will be towards the development of different target segments and meeting their specific needs."

Taken from Career Times 15 October 2004, p. 2
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