Our car was serviced the other week and most of the costs were for parts. I paid by credit card and thus postponed the actual debiting of my account until the end of the month. I was also rewarded with a few reward points that I eventually will be able to trade in for trips, hotel stays or car hire.
The owner of the car shop was a very friendly gentleman and we ended up chatting for a good half hour about life and things. He mentioned that he is paying by credit card for most parts that he orders for his clients. He is using the same credit card company as me and recently he was on a trip to Paris for two, paid by reward points.
Now, what if the dealer that he is ordering parts from is using a credit card as well for their rather large amount of purchases. This would mean that possibly the same credit card company is able to charge a fee 3-4 times for the same product; while it is traveling from a producer, via various middle hands to the final consumer (me).
It also means that possibly 3 individuals/companies have earned reward points on behalf of my purchase. No doubt something that I as the final consumer will be burdened with in the form of higher annual fees.
So, does this make me a player at the top of the food chain? Am I positioned at the top as I pick and choose what to consume by spending money on it?
I think not. Instead I suspect I am at the bottom of the money food chain. I, like billions others, are like small plankton feeding some slightly larger predators above us. At the top are a few global predators and I bet that American Express is one of them.