Amex Uses Smartphones to Let Cardholders Pay with Points
American Express Membership Rewards participants who also use Amex's mobile app now have access to a new feature called Use Points for Charges. This option allows users to take the Membership points they earn for making purchases to now cash them in to pay for their regular Amex purchases--all through their smartphones.
"We're committed to making Membership mobile, recognizing a future where decisions on what, where, and how to buy increasingly happen through mobile devices," said David Yoo, SVP Mobile Products and Services, American Express, in a statement. "We want to be where our Card Members are so that they can get the most out of Membership every day, and we can do that by connecting our Card products to the mobile devices our Card Members rely on most."
Amex's Membership Rewards program lets members earn points for every dollar they spend in eligible purchases. Amex's definition of "eligible" includes purchases for good and services. It excludes things like cash advances, balance transfers, privileged assets, Express Cash or Corporate Express Cash, American Express Travelers or Gift Cheques, purchases paid with points, purchases and reloading of prepaid cards and various account and program fees. Cardholders can earn an unlimited amount of points, and these points never expire.
Cardholders can redeem points for rewards from over 500 brands in travel, shopping or dining and entertainment rewards categories. Cardholders can also use their points to shop at Amazon or shopAmex.com. And now they can be used to pay for everyday charges on their card statements.
To take advantage of the Use Points for Charges feature, American Express cardholders need to have an iOS or Android phone and download Amex's free mobile app. The mobile app allows cardholders to manage their accounts from their phones, doing everything from checking account balances and recent activity and scheduling payments to seeing pending charges, Membership Rewards point balances and other loyalty program balances. They can also browse rewards options and use their phone to add special offers onto their credit card. Cardholders don't have to remember a new login ID and password--they can use the one registered with their account at americanexpress.com. Cardholders can also receive notifications on their phones if there's any unusual activity with the card.
With the Use Points for Charges feature, cardholders can pay for charges by using the rewards points they earn when they use their Amex card to make purchases for goods and services. Purchases must be over $1.00, and cardholder must also have the Amex card enrolled in the Membership Rewards program with a balance of at least 1,000 rewards points in the account.
Once the charge shows up on the card's statement, users can open the mobile app and select the "Use Points" option for specific charges. Amex will then take the points from the cardholder's Membership Rewards program and apply them to that purchase. The rewards show up in the form of a statement credit, which eliminates the need to interact with the merchant in order to take advantage of rewards. Cardholders must have enough rewards points in their account to cover the entire amount of the purchase.
"Our Card Members want flexibility, choice and the opportunity to use the rewards they earn for the things they need and want most," said Yoo. "While many of our Card Members enjoy using points for big rewards like travel, Use Points for Charges now makes rewards more accessible for those who want to use Membership Rewards points for their everyday purchases."
Cardholders can also take advantage of the Use Points for Charges through their account on americanexpress.com.