financial services

AmEx Gets Real, Offers Rewards Like Gas

  • by February 19, 2009
express rewards/gas cardForget luxury vacations and high-end electronics. American Express cardholders can now use their membership rewards to gas up their cars, buy washers and dryers, or eat at Longhorn Steakhouse.

In today's tough economic times, the company explains, many consumers want to redeem their rewards points for more practical purposes than they had in days of plenty.

So the Express Rewards Gas Card has arrived on the scene. Available in $50 and $100 denominations, it's useable at just about any gas station that accepts regular American Express cards. The gas cards can be had for 6,500 and 13,000 points, respectively--meaning that an equivalent amount of dollars has previously been charged to the redeemer's American Express card.

For as few as 1,000 points, meanwhile, cardmembers can obtain gift cards to use at an expanding array of more downscale restaurants and retailers. Other new redemption options include Legal Seafood and Longhorn, joining such partners already on board like Olive Garden, Red Lobster and California Pizza Kitchen.



Large home appliances--washers, dryers, dishwashers and refrigerators--from such brands as KitchenAid, Whirlpool and GE Profile--have also joined the lineup. Examples include a KitchenAid bottom-freezer refrigerator at 250,000 points.

Membership reward members were alerted to the addition of large home appliances through a recent mailing, while the other new program choices were incorporated into the new 2009 program guide, also mailed to members.

Small appliances, available for fewer than 100,000 points, include microwaves, air purifiers, dehumidifiers and mixers.

By the way, American Express members who may be salivating over a private island--but pinching pennies in the current climate--might like to know that one's on sale. You can currently stay on Le Taha, a Polynesian private island, for only 86,000 points a night, marked down from 112,000. Roundtrip airfare is also on special--80,00 points via Air Tahiti Nui. Sorry, economy only.

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