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AmEx now lets you customize your card rewards

by Peter Andrew

The miles and points you earn with your rewards credit cards can be great. But to make the most of them, you usually have to redeem them for a narrow range of goods or services. Now, American Express is working to free its card members from such constraints, and is allowing them to use Membership Rewards points to pay for virtually any purchase.

Mobile magic

This new freedom is delivered through smart devices, and, to enjoy it, you first have to download the free American Express mobile app, which comes in i0S and Android flavors. You must also have an eligible (Basic Consumer or OPEN) AmEx charge or credit card that's enrolled in the company's Membership Rewards program. Finally, you need at least 1,000 points on your account. With that in place, it's straightforward to "Use Points for Charges," the name the company has given to this latest innovation:

  1. Buy almost anything for more than a dollar using your eligible card.
  2. Access your app, and hit the "Use Points" button when the transaction appears on your statement.
  3. A statement credit for the amount charged should appear on your account within 48 hours -- as long as you have sufficient points to pay for it.

Rewards credit cards unshackled

This initiative is the latest in a succession of recent innovations from American Express that are designed to enhance the experiences of card members when they redeem rewards.

"Our card members want flexibility, choice and the opportunity to use the rewards they earn for the things they need and want most," David Yoo, AmEx senior vice president, said in a statement. "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."

Published 01/08/14

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