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September 2012

Loyalty Innovation in Financial Services, North America

The Initiative

American Express, headquartered in the U.S., is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.

In 2010, American Express realized that its customers were clearly preferring mobile and tablet devices over web for interacting with their card benefits. Over 50% of cardmembers had a smartphone, and over 20% owned a tablet (compared to 40% and 12% among the broader U.S. population). Even without a mobile-optimized redemption experience, 30% of enrollees were already interacting with Membership Rewards using a smartphone or tablet. American Express needed digital capabilities that would allow them to offer cardmembers relevant information, offers on-the-go, and redemptions anywhere, anytime.

In June 2011, American Express re-launched membershiprewards.com. The company pushed the mobile-optimized redemption experience beyond its origins as a servicing tool to make it the go-to destination for benefit information and special offers that matter most to cardmembers. The app improvement process began with introducing personalized and relevant content at both the card and customer level. For example, customers can quickly find nearby airport club lounges, learn about local events, and shop online.

A series of advancements followed, including a gift-card redemption feature, and a loyalty experience for the iPad.

The member shopping options integrate Membership Rewards into members’ retail shopping experience. Within the app, cardmembers can scan barcodes, compare prices, and then instantly redeem for the item with Membership Rewards points.

The Results

Exceeding expectations, results show that 10% of cardmembers are now using the app to engage with the benefits and offers content. From November 2011 to March 2012, the number of mobile/tablet redeemers increased by 117%, and mobile and tablet point redemption (as a share of overall redemption) increased by 300%. Of those redeemers, 43% are under age 35 (a target segment), and 65% have become repeat redeemers.

Voice of the Voters:

  • “Points to American Express for rolling with the times and acknowledging increases in mobile and tablet use. And more points for creating apps and features such as ‘Rewards on the Go’ that reflect the portability of these devices.”
  • “It made me decide to go download the app and give it a try”
  • “A forward-leaning multi-faceted mobile marketing example. American Express has made their program accessible to members on multiple fronts.”

COLLOQUY Interview with American Express