Just days prior to its league draft, the National Basketball Association announced it’s entering the world of credit card rewards in a major way.
The sports league is taking aim at such major credit products as the Chase Sapphire cards, the Capital One Venture X, and some American Express cards.
The new NBA Traveling Credit Card offers 5X points per dollar spent on eligible traveling expenses.
“Take the next step — or five — toward your goals!” is the promotion’s official slogan.
In the game of basketball, traveling is an infraction that occurs when players run or walk without dribbling / bouncing the ball. The violation seems to be most often called at the beginner levels of amateur games — such as grade school and junior high. The penalty is rarely enforced in the upper levels — including professional basketball.
The NBA’s seemingly blatant look-the-other-way approach to traveling violations has, in the minds of some, degraded the level of competition.
But that doesn’t bother the NBA.
“People shouldn’t be punished for traveling,” said Hogan McDean, the National Basketball Association (NBA) Senior Vice President of Loyalty Programs Partnerships and Relations – Travel. “They should be rewarded. That’s how the NBA treats traveling. Our players travel several times a night. We practically encourage our referees to allow traveling each game. So, we want to bring a similar experience to our wonderful fans.”
Mr. McDean also asked this journalist about connections to The Points Guy “so we can ensure favorable coverage. I mean, the actual Points Guy is tall, right? He must know a lot about basketball — and traveling, of course.”
Most rewards-centric credit cards offer bonus points based on “travel” spending. But this product is one of the first to promote “traveling” as opposed to just “travel.”
Mr. McDean explained that “traveling” encompasses anything from “walking, jogging, running, jumping, flying, driving, ride-sharing — you name it. The NBA won’t blow the whistle on anyone trying to travel.”
According to a press release, “walking, jogging, running, and jumping” spending pertains to non-traditional travel purchases — such as eligible shoes and other athletic apparel of licensed NBA products.
Two points per dollar (2X) will be awarded for “layup” purchases such as at grocery stores and gas stations.
“Those require some work,” Mr. McDean explains, “But nothing too difficult.”
All other purchases — including online transactions — are deemed “free throws.” Such baskets earn one point in basketball games; they similarly earn 1X on the new NBA Traveling Credit Card.
The NBA Traveling Credit Card will be available immediately following the first traveling call of the 2023-2024 season.