Md.’s NASA credit union launches ‘Star Trek’-branded credit card

By Steve Winter, video by Kenny Fried

LAS VEGAS — The National Aeronautics and Space Administration knows a thing or two about space travel, so when the time came for the Upper Marlboro-based NASA Federal Credit Union to unveil a new credit card program, it only made sense that they take advantage of the nation’s largest gathering of interstellar aficionados.

So this week, as more than 25,000 sci-fi fans descend upon Las Vegas for the Star Trek 50-Year Convention and Celebration, NASA Federal has boldly introduced their new line of “Star Trek”-branded credit cards to an eager and excited audience.

“The reception has been phenomenal,” said NASA Federal’s Director of Marketing Jane Hannon. “This is our second year. We were here last year and the cards weren’t even available yet. Now that fans can receive and start using our cards, we’re seeing some wonderful results.”

Licensed late last year under an agreement with CBS Consumer Products, NASA Federal launched four new “Star Trek” Platinum Advantage Rewards Credit Cards, featuring imagery from Starfleet Academy, the United Federation of Planets, Captain’s Card, and Starfleet Command. All four cards feature a competitive interest rate, but of clearly greater appeal to those in attendance are the 50,000 bonus points redeemable for exclusive “Star Trek” merchandise and experiences unavailable through other credit cards.

One customer, Tanya Bidis of St. Louis, has already started using her points.

“I’ve been a ‘Star Trek’ fan since, like, forever and ever,” she said. “’Star Trek’ got me into science and I love NASA. I also love credit unions. I have several ‘Star Trek’ credit cards that I got throughout the years. I knew I was coming to the 50th Anniversary Convention and I saw on that they had an advertisement and I said ‘that‘s me – mine’ … so I signed up. I got my card and here I am. I‘ve already started using it.”

While the connection between NASA Federal and Star Trek is a natural one, it is also extremely practical.

“We’ve been hearing about how ‘Star Trek’ fans are like a family and getting to meet them has been thrilling,” Hannon said. “But more important is the opportunity to get their reactions to the cards; understanding which cards are their favorites and getting their feedback. The whole process has been, as Spock might say, ‘fascinating.’ We’re already looking forward to next year.”

According to Hannon, the rewards have been a big hit with fans.

“Cardholders can redeem their points for all sorts of things, ranging from ‘Star Trek’ pins, a captain’s chair pool raft and koozies to keep your beverages cold,” she said. “We also have a [Star Trek Enterprise Captain Jonathan] Archer jacket and other great items. The one I love the most is a Spock hoodie for your dog.”

And Hannon said the reward opportunities will continue to grow.

“As the program develops, we will add more experiences and more unique items that people can’t get from any other credit card program.”

For those in attendance, NASA Federal is giving away “Star Trek”-branded headphones to fans who post selfies with #StarTrekCardFan across social media; yet for those not on site, people can still win a NASA Flight Jacket by entering the NASA Federal Star Trek 50 contest online.

“We hope that holders of ‘Star Trek’ credit cards feel pride in the ‘Star Trek’ franchise every time they use their cards, while also earning points toward exclusive ‘Star Trek’ merchandise and experiences,” says NASA Federal Credit Union President and CEO Douglas Allman.

While it’s true that in the 24th century, much of the United Federation of Planets no longer uses currency, here in the 2010s, “gold-pressed latinum is still king.” And that’s where NASA Federal’s line of Star Trek credit cards helps their members secure their “piece of the action.”

Watch a video about the new cards:

Steve Winter and Kenny Fried work for Brotman|Winter|Fried, a Sage Communications Company.

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