AMEX Takes Flyer Concept Online

American Express announced Friday that it has developed an exclusive online shopping program that will steer its cardholders to special deals with selected online merchants who accept the American Express Card.

The new Just 4 Cardmembers service is similar to the printed flyers that American Express and other card companies frequently enclose with monthly bills sent through the mail. In the electronic version, American Express takes advantage of e-mail to provide direct links to the American Express deal pages on the online merchants’ Web sites. Unlike the printed flyers, however, Just 4 Cardmembers features only online retailers.

Name Dropping

American Express has arranged shopping deals with four major retail names to kick off its new Just 4 Cardmembers program. From Amazon.com, the card company offers a $10 (US$) gift certificate toward any purchase until October 29th. Joining Amazon.com are Ticketmaster, Gap.com and Continental Airlines.

Ticketmaster, which is offering cardmembers 15 percent off its retail merchandise, makes the deal available at its Internet site or through its traditional telephone stations. Gap.com offers a $10 Gap GiftCard when American Express customers buy $100 worth of merchandise. Continental Airlines gives customers up to 4,000 frequent flyer miles for using the American Express card for their ticket purchases.

The American Express pages on the Amazon.com, Gap.com and Continental Airlines sites are personalized to greet cardholders and direct them to special pages that explain the rules for redeeming gift certificates or making purchases through the special offers. With a photo of the American Express card, Continental reminds visitors to “Play your cards right and get up to 4,000 OnePass Bonus Miles.” Among the rules, cardmembers must pay for their purchases with the card.

The link pages give American Express additional opportunities to emphasize the benefits of shopping with the card, and give the retailers additional chances to advertise their wares to shoppers who are considered financially responsible because they do not carry balances on their cards.

The Just 4 Cardmembers e-mail also includes links to select online retailers that accept the American Express card. This month’s links include Costco, Neiman Marcus and Telstreet.

No Spam

Lest American Express’ new good deed program be mistaken for spam, the company offers users the chance to “opt out” of the Just 4 Cardmembers e-mail list. Customers can request to be dropped from the e-mail list, have their name withheld from lists shared with other marketing companies, or both. The company also guarantees that cardmembers will not be held responsible for unauthorized online charges.

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