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American Express Announces Changes to Membership Rewards Program

by Peter Andrew

By Justin McHenry

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American Express announced changes to its Membership Rewards credit card rewards program last week, splitting the program into three different segments based on the type of card being carried. In short, under the new program, the more you pay for your American Express card, the greater the rewards you are eligible for. The three levels and their corresponding rewards are as follows:

    • Membership Rewards Express is the rewards program offered to those who carry American Express' no-annual-fee, revolving credit cards, such as Blue from American Express. Similar to the previously named Membership Rewards Options program, it offers points that are redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, travel rewards, etc. Among the new features is a Hotel Card that can be used for all or part of the expenses related to hotel stays, and the Pay with Points option that allows cardholders to pay for all or part of their travel expenses with points, when travel is booked through American Express.

    • Membership Rewards is the name for the program offered to holders of traditional American Express green or gold charge cards. It offers everything found in the Rewards Express program, but also allows points to be transferred to over 20 frequent flyer or frequent guest programs from major airlines and hotel chains.

    • Membership Rewards First is the program for those who've accepted American Express' invitation to hold the American Express Platinum Card or the American Express Centurion Card. This program offers everything the first two offer, but ups the ante by offering points that can be redeemed with luxury partners such as Lamborghini, Tiffany & Co., The Ritz Carlton and Premier Cru vintage wines. Cardholders can also earn triple points when they make purchases via American Express' BonusPointsMall.com (the lower tier programs only offer double points for these purchases).

    American Express has also added a new twist to all of its programs that should interest those who crave rewards. It's the introduction of Points Advance, a program that allows you to be "advanced" points in order to get rewards for which you may not yet have enough points--Express Rewards members can be advanced up to 5,000 points, Rewards members can get up to 15,000 points advanced, and Rewards Firstmembers can get up to 60,000 points advanced.

    American Express also introduced a new rewards category for casual dining restaurants, adding The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang's, Red Lobster and Olive Garden to its long list of reward partners.

    Published 06/27/07 (Modified 12/20/13)


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