Everyone loves free stuff. This isn’t jut stating the obvious. Market research backs up this maxim. Ninety two percent of all credit cards issued in 2011 had a rewards component, up from 57 percent in 2003. As of 2008, the average American adult had at least two co-branded or affinity credit cards. Not only that, but according to both MasterCard and Visa, co-branded cards are used more often than all other cards and generate higher transaction volume.
The most prevalent categories for co-branded cards, in order of popularity are chain retail stores, airlines, restaurant/entertainment/sports, and hotels/auto rentals. So how do co-branded credit card companies leverage this general desire for incentives to expand their customer bases?