April 1, 2018
Washington, DC—In an ambitious move, the American Historical Association has inaugurated AHAdvantageExpress, a bespoke credit card offer for AHA members.
A loophole in the new tax code enables nonprofit corporations like the AHA to issue credit cards directly to members and collect the interest. With this reform, historians can charge their AHA membership and annual meeting registration fees to their AHAdvantageExpress card at a 29.94 percent variable interest rate. For example, a historian earning $65,000 can join the AHA for $131 up front, but with AHAdvantageExpress, they can make minimum payments of $10 per month and pay off that debt when it’s convenient for them. Please read the fine print for further details and the actual math; in a reversion to its preference for qualitative evidence, the AHA no longer publishes actual data.
For new academics who need to establish or build credit, the AHAdvantageExpress card offers special benefits. With an annual fee of $195, it’s great for historians seeking to build credit and improve their FICO scores. The AHA charges a low $12 per month to maintain an account, and there’s a $30 fee for a credit line increase. More benefits may be found in the AHA’s 80-page account disclosure document.
AHAdvantageExpress cardholders can earn rewards points doing the things they already do: traveling economy class to archives and conferences; purchasing midrange business attire for teaching and presenting at the AHA annual meeting; and buying coffee makers—perfect for long nights grading at home, but think twice about bringing one to the office, as the AHA does not help with university reimbursement forms. Rewards points can be redeemed for publications in the AHA Web Store (including attractive paperbacks with titles like “Giving Up Lattes Won’t Help: Financial Management for Millennial Academics” and “Free Pizza: How to Ply Undergraduates to Come to History Club”). Shipping and handling fees apply, but they too can be charged to the AHAdvantageExpress card.
A bespoke credit card is a special financial instrument custom-tailored to individuals like AHA members. It combines the same flexibility you need to shoehorn your research topic into the AHA annual meeting theme (before you realize that no one really obeys the theme) with the structure of a grading rubric that will be challenged in your course evaluations no matter how fair it is.
Additionally, AHA members can get the AHAdvantageExpress card in a plethora of designs. The AHA’s curated options include panoramic shots of famous historical monuments (Confederate monuments are excluded), facsimiles of important historical documents (including popular Perspectives covers), or simply the AHA logo against a backdrop of soft teal and bright orange. Members can also personalize their card—upload an image from your beach vacation that doubled as conference travel, a photo of yourself in your rented graduation regalia, or a picture of your adviser, if you dare. Members curious about what makes a design appropriate for the AHAdvantageExpress card may refer to the AHA’s Guidelines on Credit Card Design, also available for purchase.
Every commencement that rolls around, the AHA will randomly release gold, platinum, and highly coveted black velvet rewards points to users of the AHAdvantageExpress card. By arrangement with a consortium of tenure and promotion committees at various universities, 50 gold rewards points are the equivalent of a journal article, 100 platinum points are a second monograph, and the single available black velvet point (bedecked with gilt tassels) is an automatic promotion to a named chair. But be careful not to exceed your credit limit, or the AHA will send 500 negative-letter points to your tenure file.
If you’d like to join or renew your membership to get the AHAdvantageExpress card or if you simply want to call the AHA neoliberal stooges, please contact Dr. April Fuhls-Day as soon as possible.
This post first appeared on AHA Today.
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