American Express adds new tiers & partners

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on June 25, 2007

American Express adds new tiers & partners

In the US, American Express has introduced three new Membership Rewards programme levels, aligned with specific card products and designed to better meet cardmember lifestyle and reward programme needs.

American Express cardmembers can now participate in one of three Membership Rewards programme levels based on the credit or charge card they have.

Three tiers for the cardholder For those with American Express credit cards, including 'Blue' cards, the company has created a Membership Rewards Express programme. American Express Charge cardmembers (with American Express Green and Gold cards) have access to the standard Membership Rewards programme, while Platinum and Centurion cardmembers are being enrolled in the new Membership Rewards First programme.

The company has also announced a number of new features that are available throughout all three levels of the Membership Rewards programme, including 'Points Advance', as well as an expanded list of redemption partners.

Ralph Andretta, senior vice president and general manager of Membership Rewards at American Express, explained: "The new programme levels and added redemption features are examples of how we are striving to give cardmembers what they want and need from a rewards programme."

Express level benefits Membership Rewards Express will offer a range of benefits such as:

  • Easily attainable retail, dining, entertainment and select travel rewards;  
  • Ability to earn points faster and more easily by shopping at (where cardmembers can earn double points at more than 160 online retailers);  
  • Access to the new Express Rewards Hotel Card that allows cardmembers to redeem points for a prepaid card valued at US$25, US$50 or US$100, which can be used toward everything from hotel spa services and gift shop purchases to an entire stay at participating lodging locations at Marriott and Radisson Hotels & Resorts properties;  
  • Features such as the 'Pay with Points' option, which allows cardmembers to redeem their Membership Rewards points for all or part of the cost of any airline ticket, hotels, cruises and travel packages without blackout dates or restrictions when booking travel through the programme's web site;  
  • An option to earn double points when booking travel through the American Express Travel web site;  
  • Access to rewards from more than 140 partners (including Barnes & Noble, Blockbuster, Crate and Barrel, Gap, The Home Depot, Pottery Barn, and newly added casual dining category partners).

Standard level benefits The standard Membership Rewards programme will provide greater travel flexibility including:

  • The ability to transfer points to more than 20 frequent flyer and frequent guest accounts to redeem for flight or hotel stays;  
  • The ability to redeem points for travel certificates for additional airlines and hotels, as well as for cruises, car rental and adventure travel packages;  
  • Access to Flight Finder and Room Finder, the programme's recently launched booking tools that allow cardmembers to search, transfer points and book reward travel all in one online transaction with participating frequent flyer and frequent guest programmes. Currently participating partners include AirTran Airways, the Hilton HHonors programme and Priority Club Rewards, and others are expected to follow soon;  
  • Plus the same reward partners and programme features available through the Membership Rewards Express tier.

First level benefits Membership Rewards First will provide the highest level of flexibility, as well as access to one-of-a-kind experiences and travel rewards, including:

  • Exclusive access to an assortment of luxury partners through First Collection, a private portfolio of rewards from premium brands in jewellery and watches, high-end fashion, distinguished lifestyle, and world-class travel. Partners currently include Eos Airlines, Lamborghini, Monarch Billiards, Neiman Marcus, The Ritz Carlton, Tiffany & Co., and Premier Cru vintage wines;  
  • A dedicated toll-free customer service number;  
  • The ability to earn triple points on purchases made through;  
  • Plus the same reward partners and programme features available through both the Express and standard tiers.

Points advances Membership Rewards members at any level can now also use the Points Advance service to borrow points against their future points earned, to allow them to redeem for the reward they want without delay.

The maximum number of points cardmembers can borrow is based on their programme level: 5,000 points for Membership Rewards Express, 15,000 points for Membership Rewards, and 60,000 points for Membership Rewards First members.

When redeeming a reward online, American Express provide the Points Advance option at the check-out on the shopping cart page near the end of the redemption procedure. Cardmembers have 12 months to replace the points without incurring any fees.

The Membership Rewards programme has more than 140 redemption partners, and rewards cardmembers with 1 point for every qualifying US$1 charged on eligible, enrolled American Express cards. Members can also customise their own redemption experiences through the programme's Create Your Reward and Experiences options. The points have no expiry date, and there is no limit to the number of points a cardmember is allowed to earn.

Programme partners for 2007 American Express has recently added a number of new retail, travel, dining and entertainment partners. Among the latest group is a new casual dining category, which features dining rewards at The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Red Lobster and Olive Garden.

The First Collection includes Baccarat, Bergdorf Goodman, Chopard, Davidoff Cigars and Accessories, Eos Airlines, Ermenegildo Zegna, Premier Cru Bordeaux Wines, IWC, Lamborghini, Mikimoto, Monarch Billiards, Montegrappa writing instruments, Neiman Marcus, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Pebble Beach Resorts, Piaget, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Relais & Chateaux's Relais Gourmands Restaurants, The Ritz-Carlton, Steinway & Sons, and Tiffany & Co.

The Membership Rewards programme partners for 2007 are as follows: Aeromexico, Aeroplan, Air France/KLM, Air Jamaica, AirTran Airways, Alitalia, All Nippon Air-ways (ANA), Cathay Pacific Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, EL AL Israel Airlines, Frontier Airlines, GlobalPass, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Mexicana Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Southwest Airlines, SWISS, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Amtrak, Avis, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Hertz, Classic Car Club and Rail Europe, American Express Gift Cards Especially for Dining, Benihana, BlockBuster, Broad¬, By Invitation Only Events for Platinum Cardmembers, California Pizza Kitchen, The Capital Grille, The Cheesecake Factory, Create Your Own Reward, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Live Nation, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants, The Melting Pot, Morton's The Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Patina Restaurant Group, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Red Lobster, Roy's, Regal Cinemas, Regal Entertainment Group, Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group,, Theme Parks Unlimited, Ticketmaster, Tribeca Film Festival, USGA, USTA, Xperience Days, American Express Gift Cheques, American Express Travelers Cheques, AwardPlanner and MileageManager, Link2Gov, Official Payments, Sirius Satellite,, USA TODAY, and a wide range of hotel brands worldwide.

In retail the partners are Banana Re¬pub¬lic, Barnes & Noble, Bath & Body Works, Bloomingdale's, Brooks Brothers, Cole Haan, Crate and Barrel, Dell Computer, ESCADA, FTD.COM, Fortunoff, Gap, Lands' End, Linens 'n Things, L'Occitane, PBteen, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Red Door Spas, Restoration Hardware, Saks Fifth Avenue, Smith & Hawken, Smithsonian Institution, Spa Finder, Talbots, The Home Depot, The Sharper Image, Tourneau, and

Finally, for sports and adventure, partners include Abercrombie & Kent, American Skiing Company, Aspen/Snowmass, Butterfield & Robinson, Epiculinary, ESPN Golf Schools Presented by Lexus, Golf, Academy of Hilton Head Island at Sea Pines, Intrawest Mountain Resorts, Lake Austin Spa, Mountain Travel Sobek, Mizuno Golf, Moorings, NauticBlue, O.A.R.S, Richard Petty Driving Experience, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Adventure Parks, Skip Barber Racing School, Smithsonian Journeys, Space Adventures Ltd., Tauck World Discovery, Troon Golf, Universal Golf Ticket, Universal Ski Ticket, USGA, Vail Resorts, and Van Der Meer Tennis.

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