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Use AmEx rewards points to pay NYC taxi fares

by Peter Andrew

American Express is accelerating its drive to widen Membership Rewards redemption options with an innovation that allows its customers to pay New York City taxi fares -- along with accompanying tips and tolls -- using rewards points. The option, an industry first according to a company press release, is being rolled out to the 7,000 cabs within the city that are equipped with VeriFone in-taxi TV screens.

Rewards credit cards that are going places

Here's how it works: At the end of their journeys, AmEx members with eligible products choose the on-screen "Credit" option, and then swipe or tap their charge or credit cards on the VeriFone terminal in the normal way. The card issuer's IT systems automatically check the customer's Membership Rewards balance to see if there are sufficient points to settle the charges. If there are, the screen shows two prompts:

  1. Use points
  2. No thanks

Touch the on-screen button of your choice, and the payment should either be charged to your account as usual, or your rewards points reduced by the appropriate number.

Redeeming rewards

Some consumers lack the time or the inclination to actively manage the miles, points or cash back they accumulate on their rewards credit cards. Although many fewer cards now allow rewards to expire than once did, this can still be an issue for many cardholders, and any innovation that makes redemption easier, especially at the point of sale, has to be a good one.

Published 10/30/13

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