American Express Xmas Strategy: Multiply Credit Card Rewards

American ExpressHoliday shoppers this season are projected to use their credit cards much less than last year, but an undeterred American Express is serving up some big rewards for some of its card members starting on Black Friday.
From the Friday after Thanksgiving through “Cyber Monday,” Nov. 30th, American Express is offering to eligible card customers “triple membership rewards points” on every purchase, up to $5,000, made on Amazon.com.
In addition, AmEx is offering a limited promotion for its Platinum Card members to earn six times the membership rewards points, and Gold and Green Card customers five times the points, when they shop at a selection of 25 popular online retailers. They include the online stores of Gap, Macy’s, Old Navy and the card giant’s own portal, bonuspointsmall.com.
In the news release on the rewards promotion, AmEx cites its own new survey of 2,011 adults. More than half said they plan to do their holiday shopping online this year, AmEx said.
“They can then turn around and use those points to offset other costs or treat themselves,” according to AmEx.
Two other studies released last week paint a different picture.
More shoppers are planning to use debit cards and cash, instead of credit cards, when purchasing gifts, according to a National Retail Federation survey. About 68 percent of shoppers intend to use cash or debit cards to pay for presents, and about 29 percent will hand over their credit cards.
The number of consumers saying that they will put their purchases on a charge card went down by 10.1 percent, compared to last year, the NRF said.
In a separate survey by America’s Research Group, the results were gloomier for credit card issuers. Only 14.2 percent said they will use credit cards to pay for holiday presents this year, one-third less than paid with plastic last year.
Overall, the NRF, the world’s largest retail trade federation, projected holiday retail industry sales to decline one percent this year to $437.6 billion.
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