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American Express has been one of the most respected charge cards in the business over the decades. Their rewards program — on top of trend-setting benefits like concierge service (the company was providing this service long before others) — is one of the number one reasons to become a CardMember.
The American Express rewards program has several things going for it, including:
- No expiration date on points
- No cap on points
- Additional cardholders can earn points, too
- Redeem points for a statement credit on recent charges
The points you can earn, as well as the annual fees for each reward card, varies, but some of the top American Express rewards cards include:
- Blue Cash (known for cash back, but points can be redeemed for merchandise or travel, too)
- Blue Sky (for premium travel rewards and benefits)
- American Express Platinum Card (rewards points, cash back, travel)
- American Express ZYNC (lets you customize bonus points “packages” based on your lifestyle
American Express reps say travel remains the top rewards category for their customers, but beginning in 2010 and continuing through 2011, the company has been offering even more flexibility with other aspects of their rewards program. It started, not surprisingly, with enhancements to the travel benefits, including eliminating foreign currency transaction fees for Platinum and Centurion customers.
Other new travel benefits include:
- $20 airline fee credit for checked bags, meals, etc.
- Get back 20% of your points when you use points to book travel
- TripIt Pro, a travel app available free to Platinum and Centurion card members
- Expanded lounge access for cardholders plus guests
Another bonus with Amex travel rewards: You can book trips with any carrier and stay at any hotel you choose. You can also transfer points from partner loyalty programs to make your travel rewards grow even faster.
The portal to bonus points, shopping and redeeming your points for merchandise and gift cards is the American Express Bonus Points Mall. But Amex recently made shopping with (or for) points even easier with the introductions of the InSite shopping tool, downloadable software that delivers information on on rewards, discounts, and more.
American Express recently partnered with Amazon to allow even more choices in merchandise you can get with your rewards and ways to earn bonus points. A new feature lets cardmembers use their American Express rewards points right at the Amazon checkout. It doesn’t get much easier than that! You also earn 3X bonus points when you shop through the bonus points mall.
American Express offers a number of other ways to earn points, too. Get 10X bonus points when you shop with any one of 200 American Express retail partners. You can access these bonuses through the Earn Points section of MembershipRewards.com.
You also earn points when you use your American Express card for automatic bill pay each month — this is a great way to accrue as many points as possible by using your American Express card for virtually everything.
American Express Director of Public Affairs, Brad Minor, emphasized that the American Express rewards program in 2011 is geared toward, “Customization, value and simplicity.” With new features like InSite, customization on cards like ZYNC, and the partnership with Amazon that lets CardMembers redeem their points right at Amazon’s checkout, we can say this is true, and, even in light of changes the industry is facing, American Express will continue to be a leader in Rewards cards.