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American Express adds more options to Membership Rewards

American Express has expanded its Membership Rewards program, adding a “specials” section to its rewards site that offer cardmembers limited-time and –quantity deals on rewards including electronics, travel and entertainment. This program launched on September 16.

This venture comes after last month’s venture to allow American Express cardmembers to use points to pay for everyday charges — such as gas, groceries and utilities — within their online statement. Launched August 13, 25% of those who have used the feature have put points toward groceries, 21% have used points for gas and 18% have used points for retail spending at stores like Target, Wal-Mart and Costco.

American Express has also signed new partners within the last month that Cardmembers can redeem points with including Zappos, Chili’s Grill and Bar and Bonefish Grill.

“We originally started out with more fine dining establishments, but we know that Cardmembers are interested in putting points towards more everyday purchases,” said Mona Hamouly, manager of public affairs and communications for American Express’s US Consumer Card Services Group. “Because of the tough economic times, people are being more cautious about their non-discretionary purchases.”

Essentially, with the new options, once a consumer makes a purchase at one of the partner businesses, they can use their earned points — 1,000 points are redeemable for a $6 credit redemption — towards that purchase total.

The option is available on all American Express consumer and small business cards including Green, Gold, Platinum, Blue and Centurian cards.

Hamouly said American Express does not release the total number of consumers enrolled in the program.

Currently for every dollar spent, one Membership Reward point is earned. Hamouly said American Express also runs various promotions throughout the year offering cardmembers double point deals on certain purchases as well as discounts on some purchases made through partner retailers.

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