WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) unveiled new guidance for “law enforcement agencies and regulators explaining how companies operating comparison-shopping tools can break the law when they steer consumers to certain products or lenders because of kickbacks.” Following the announcement, government watchdog Accountable.US released a new report detailing major online influencer “The Points Guy” Brian Kelly’s ties to industry and use of sponsored content on his credit card shopping website. 

Planning a big financial decision is tough enough without navigating misleading endorsements paid for by big bank industry CEOs and lobbyists. Online influencers like Brian Kelly might be selling a ‘first class dream,’ but their lifestyles are paid for by big industry players. The Biden administration’s effort to ensure access to clear, fair financial advice will help everyday Americans save money and avoid big credit card industry tricks, traps and junk fees.”

Accountable.US’ Liz Zelnick

KEY FINDINGS: Accountable.US found that Brian Kelly, aka “The Points Guy” raked in millions through highly profitable endorsement deals and sponsorships. 

  • Brian Kelly, “The Points Guy (TPG),” is an influencer who launched his platform in 2010 as a blog where he wrote about credit card reward programs and frequent flyer miles as part of his travel goals, since growing the site to a team of over 40 employees supporting TPG’s website and accompanying app, with a monthly readership of over 8 million people.
  • According to TPG’s website and app, the credit card offers that appear on its platforms are affiliate links organized by compensation. The Points Guy began joining affiliate marketing programs in 2011 and it quickly became one of TPG’s primary income streams, leading to more than $50 million in revenue in just 2019.
  • Since 2018, TPG has hosted an annual awards ceremony called the TPG Awards to recognize industry leaders “for their commitment to innovation across five industries, credit cards, airlines, hotels, cruises, and general travel” and has given the highest honors to leaders with previous business relationships, such as Chase, Capital One, and American Express.
  • The TPG Awards have consistently awarded long-term business partner Chase top honors, with its Sapphire Preferred Card winning Best Travel Rewards Card for six straight years since the inaugural award ceremony, held two years after TPG and Chase partnered together to market the rollout of the card in 2016. 
  • In 2023, TPG awarded American Express’ Business Gold Card the Best Business Credit Card and Capital One’s Venture X Rewards Credit Card the Best Premium Credit Card as both companies sponsored that year’s award ceremony.


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