Consumer Payment Card News

Double Points

American Express announced yesterday it will award double points in its reward programs to cardholders using AmEx cards for spending at supermarkets and gas stations this summer. Between now and August 31, AmEx cardholders enrolled in its ‘Membership Rewards’ program or who carry the AmEx Delta, Golf, Hilton, NY Knicks or NY Rangers card will receive double points for routine purchases. Hilton Optima cardholders will receive triple points since they ordinarily earn two ‘HiltonHonors’ points per dollar charged. AmEx says its ‘Everyday Spending Index’ shows 56% of consumers used credit cards for gas purchases last year and that 28% used a credit card to purchase groceries during 1997. AmEx says it will promote the campaign through TV ads showing Jerry Seinfeld at various gas stations and supermarkets.

American Express today announced a nationwide promotion that will give double points for spending at supermarkets and gas stations from June 15 to August 31 to American Express Cardmembers enrolled in rewards programs. The promotion is open to Cardmembers who have cards enrolled in the Membership Rewards program or who have the Delta Skymiles Credit Card, the American Express Golf Card, the Hilton Optima Card, the New York Knicks Card, or the New York Rangers Card.

Americans are using plastic for everyday purchases now more than ever, said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Executive Vice President and General Manager of Consumer Marketing for American Express, noting that more than a trillion dollars is spent on credit cards every year. The American Express Everyday Spending Index, a consumer opinion survey, indicates that more than half of all consumers (56%) used a credit card to buy gas and almost a third (28%) used a credit card to buy groceries in the past year. We want to give something back to people who use American Express Cards for routine purchases, which is why cardmembers can earn double points all summer long for grocery and gas station spending. Consumers can get the most mileage out of their American Express Cards with this program.

The summer double points campaign will be promoted to American Express Cardmembers through billing statement messages, direct mail, and radio, print, outdoor and in-store advertising. In addition, television commercials featuring Jerry Seinfeld at gas stations and supermarkets will also air during the promotion. Media Note: Also available are photos and b-roll of Seinfeld at gas stations, supermarkets; and advice on getting the most out of rewards programs.

Survey Reveals Consumer Attitudes On Everyday Use of Credit Cards Thirty-five percent of Americans say they use plastic for at least some or all of their everyday spending, according to the American Express Everyday Spending Index, which is based on a nationwide research survey that polled 800 consumers about their spending habits in areas such as supermarket, fast food restaurant, healthcare and telecommunications.

While convenience is still the number one reason why card usage is up, consumers also place a high value on rewards and other benefits. In the survey, 61% say reward programs and benefits such as Purchase Protection are key reasons for using credit cards, 59% cite greater spending flexibility and 45% say they use credit cards to manage finances and track spending. Most people pay off routine purchases at the end of each month, Kelly said, referring to the 70% of surveyed consumers who say they pay their bills in full on a monthly basis. However, they want to use credit cards for the convenience and advantages, such as rewards, spend tracking capability and purchase protections.

Credit Card Use in Supermarkets

The survey also revealed that consumers estimate spending more than $3,700 each year on groceries, and nearly half (48%) go to the supermarket four to six times each month. Most Americans (71%) purchase only what they need at the moment, while few (15%) actually stick to a pre-set household budget.

The most important supermarket attribute is good quality meat and produce, cited by 90% of those surveyed, closely followed by a wide selection of merchandise (89%). Other important aspects are: good customer service (81%), convenient location (79%), everyday low prices (78%) and a choice of payment methods (57%).

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking.

Hilton Optima Cardmembers will earn triple points in the promotion because they ordinarily earn two HiltonHonors points per dollar of spend. The Delta Skymiles Credit Card allows cardmembers to earn frequent flyer miles faster than ever for spending on the card. The American Express Golf Card allows cardmembers to earn points for spending which can be redeemed for equipment from Callaway Golf as well as golf clothes, vacations and lessons. The New York Knicks and New York Rangers Cards from American Express allow cardmembers to earn team-related rewards, such as team jackets and other merchandise. For a $25 annual fee, the Membership Rewards program allows cardmembers to earn points for spending on enrolled cards which can be redeemed for free or discounted airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, vacation packages and merchandise from +30 retailers, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Linens n Things, Caswell-Massey, Filenes Basement, J. Crew. Eligibility and terms for Corporate Cards and Optima Cards may vary. To apply for any American Express Card, call 1-800-THE CARD.

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