This is a story about a very good friend of mine. My friend, who I’ll call Dan, is a bit of a nerd, and a bit of a sports nut. About a year ago, he decided to do something for himself. For his birthday, he asked me to take him on a trip across the country to attend the 2010 MLB All Star Game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. I agreed, and we spent the summer saving up for the trip, and went to assist him in getting the money together.

What better way to celebrate the start of baseball season than by throwing out the first pitch from a $4000 spend! Well, not really. I actually spent $2000 on my trip to St. Louis for opening day last year and threw out the first pitch from the top of the Busch Stadium outfield, which is pretty cool. For the record, I spent $40 on a hot dog and a beer.

As the start of Major League Baseball season approaches, I am reminded of how much money we can spend at some ballgames. In the last couple years, I’ve witnessed a new record for a single season, with the A’s paying $4.5 million for the privilege of holding the first pitch, and the Nationals shelling out $40,000 for a chance to throw out the first pitch. Granted, these are team-specific prices, but most ticket prices are, and getting to them is expensive enough without having to pay for the honor of pitching the first pitch.

Throw Out The First Pitch At A Major League Baseball Game, From Just $4000 In Credit Card Spend

by Gary Leff on June 29, 2021

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.

I’ve covered Cardless, and how fintech can disrupt credit card rewards. I think we’re going to see a lot more rewards cards focused on smaller brands, offering really cool niche experiences.

Cardless is out with the brand-new Miami Marlins Credit Card and what’s especially great about this card is both how it offers strong earning for a no annual fee rewards product, but also how it leverages the strong rewards program that the team already has in place. Would you believe it’s possible to throw out the first pitch at a Major League baseball game after just $4000 in credit card spend?

Key details of the Miami Marlins Credit Card:

  • Acquisition offer: 25,000 points after $2500 in spending within the first three months
  • Earning: 5x on Marlins tickets and 5% back on concessions at their ballpark; 3x on dining, food delivery, gas and drugstores; 1x on everything else
  • Redemption basis: Points are worth one cent apiece towards statement credits, or 1.25 cents apiece on Marlins merchandise.
  • Points transfer: This card’s points transfer 10:1 into the Marlins’ Home Run Rewards program, which opens up some fantastic experiences at reasonable prices.

The narrowcasting here is fantastic. A FinTech with low overhead costs to spin up a new program can service a niche market, like Marlins fans, and provide great return in multiple ways.

  1. A fan who frequently attends games can earn a 6.25% rebate, then, on ballpark spending when used for Marlins team gear (5 points per dollar earned, redeemed at 1.25 cents per point).
  2. Meanwhile the credit card becomes an equalizer in the Home Run Rewards program, letting a fan even in the cheap seats use the rest of their credit spend to access the kinds of experiences usually reserved for VIPs and the biggest spenders at the park.

The team’s rewards offerings change from month-to-month but currently they’re showing options that include playing catch on the field for 500 points, a “$600 value” customized jersey and cigar box for 10 points, and a player-autographed baseball for 57 points. But what’s really incredible, in my opinion, is this:

2000 team rewards points – which you can get with 20,000 points earned on the card – currently lets you throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Marlins baseball game. That means card spending starting at $4000 (in 5x categories) is enough to accomplish this.

For those of us who don’t spend a lot with the Marlins, $6667 in dining and drugstore spend would get you the points you need on the card to redeem this option. Half as many points would let you be the “PLAY BALL!” announcer for a game.

If you’re a baseball fan, or if you’ve got a kid who plays baseball, what more special trip could there be where you go to a ballgame and you’re the one who gets to throw out the first pitch? I’d dedicate several months of eating out to the kind of experience that money usually can’t buy, either for myself or better yet for my daughter.

Five years ago Dans Deals spent over 1 million Starwood Starpoints to throw out the first pitch at game 7 of the World Series. I can’t promise that the Marlins will find themselves in the Series. But 20,000 card points to throw out a first pitch at a regular season game is an amazing value.

Ultimately where this is going, I think (and we’ll get there if Cardless grows big enough) is truly customized rewards cards. If there’s no limit on the number of co-brand credit cards, there’s no limit to how customized the rewards – and experiences – can be.

Miami Marlins Credit Card

More From View from the Wing

For a new(ish) travel blogger, any travel-related expense comes with a hefty price tag. Whether it’s spending $40 on a flight to Thailand, or spending $4000 during a trip to Europe, the costs are high but the memories are priceless. Anyway, this is your blog, so you should be able to splurge on a few things you want. However, you don’t want to be that guy who spends thousands on a trip, doesn’t get to see the sights, and ends up writing an article about how he wants to go back (and how he needs to spend less money). So, here are a few tips on ways to get the most out of your travels and keep your costs down without losing sight of. Read more about which presidents have thrown out the first pitch and let us know what you think.

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