Payment Card News

AmEx Rewards Beefed-Up

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One of the best rewards programs in the U.S. is getting better with the introduction of two new program levels, one for high rollers and one for low ballers. American Express is expanding its Membership Rewards program to include Membership Rewards Plus and Membership Rewards Options. Membership Rewards Options is available this week and Membership Rewards Plus will become available later this month. Membership Rewards Plus is designed for cardholders who travel frequently and desire maximum flexibility of rewards. Plus cardholders have all the benefits of the existing Membership Rewards program plus two new, specially designed features Your Ticket and Your Reward. Your Ticket permits enrollees to obtain airline tickets to any destination in the world from any airline without blackout dates and frequent flyer seat restrictions. Your Reward allows enrollees to use Membership Rewards points to pay for any item charged on their AmEx card, including the card’s annual fee. The annual fee for the Plus option is generally $75 ($35 for Platinum Card and Rewards Plus Gold Cardmembers). Membership Rewards Options is designed for cardholders who desire lower redemption levels and a lower annual fee. With an annual fee of $15, Membership Rewards Options points earned have a different redemption value compared to the other Membership Rewards programs. For example, a $25 gift certificate to Champs Sports would require 3,500 points for Membership Rewards Options enrollees and 2,500 points for Membership Rewards enrollees. All Membership Rewards enrollees, including those who enroll in either of the new program levels, receive the following core features
— One point is earned for virtually every dollar charged on an eligible, enrolled American Express Card.

— Points earned have no expiration dates.

— There is no limit to how many points an enrolled cardholder can earn.

— Points can be transferred to the frequent customer accounts of 12 major airlines, 5 major hotel brands, and car rental

companies, or redeemed for numerous premium retail offers.
— All three programs offer a “buy points” feature which enables enrollees to purchase extra points to reach desired reward

levels ($25 for each 1,000 points).
Points earned in all Membership Rewards programs can be redeemed with 50 premier retailers, hotels, car rental companies and airlines including Delta Air Lines, US Airways, Continental, Southwest Airlines, TWA, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, EL AL Israel Airlines, Aeromexico, Mexicana, and LatinPass.

Some cards (including some Corporate Cards, some Optima Cards, and American Express Credit Cards) are not eligible for enrollment.

To enroll in the Membership Rewards program, call 1-800-AXP-EARN (297-3276) or visit www.americanexpress.com.

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