The Middlebury Affinity Credit Card

With the new credit card rules coming into effect this week, now’s as good a time as any to get thinking about credit cards. I’ve only had one credit card my entire life. One. It’s a Student Platinum whatever. Fancy title, very little benefit other than to build a credit history for the last many years. Basically many years ago, the bank decided it was okay to let have a credit card because I had a checking/savings account with them since I was three.

Today, I asked to switch to a Brighter Planet card. Yes, I believe in “saving the environment” — the card buys carbon offsets as the “reward” for your credit card purchases. But that’s not really why I chose it.

A Brighter Planet card is like a school affinity card. For instance, folks who graduate from Penn State can get a Penn State credit card. Yes, lots of universities do just this, even for incoming freshmen students. But for Middlebury, there is Brighter Planet. It’s an alumnus-started company located in, you guessed it, Middlebury Vermont. I reckon’ having one is like having the Middlebury decal on the back window of your Subaru — a dead giveaway that you’re a Middkid.

Interestingly, the bank doesn’t really see the card as a rewards card (like cash back, travel “miles,” etc.), even though you accrue points toward planting trees or supporting renewable energy. That’s why I could so easily transfer my currently useless credit card in an instant — no need to actually apply for a new account, affecting credit scores, etc.