August 24, 2016
Amex Developing Way to Pay Online with Loyalty Points?
March 7, 2016
American Express may be developing a system that would enable cardholders to pay at various e-commerce Websites with Amex loyalty points. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently published a patent application from the New York City-based payment company titled "Third Party Digital Wallet Pay With Points," which describes "a system, method and computer program product for redemptions of reward points to purchase goods and services offered by a third-party digital wallet or merchant aggregator." According to the patent documents, American Express filed the application in 2014.
While it is unclear if American Express has an actual product in development, its unique position as both card issuer and payment network as well as partnerships with digital wallets like Apple Pay potentially mean Amex loyalty points could be spent online like cash.
"Although many [loyalty] programs have been successful in developing customer loyalty and incentivizing customers to act, they have presented participants with limited opportunities to redeem loyalty points for the products of their choice or have provided participants with limited accessibility and control of their loyalty account," the company said in its patent application. "Therefore, a need exists in this industry for a program that expands product choice for loyalty program participants."