American Express App Lets Cardholders Use Reward Points on Almost Anything

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Instead of saving up points for big-ticket items like airfare, American Express is encouraging you to use them on everyday purchases. Sound good?

A lot of people don’t understand how their credit card rewards work, but American Express is trying to make them a little more accessible.

Its latest app update introduces the ability to spend reward points on everyday purchases consumers are already making, TechCrunch says, rather than saving up points for travel or use on a limited selection of offers in the company’s rewards hub.

“With this recent addition, cardholders can redeem points for any purchase, from gas and groceries to clothing and manicures, on their phones,” TechCrunch says. “Whenever they make a purchase with their card, they can open the mobile app and select Use Points for that particular charge once it hits their AmEx statement.”

That means points can be used on virtually any purchase, although they can’t be used to pay AmEx fees, TechCrunch says. Here’s some more fine print from AmEx:

  • Only Basic Consumer and OPEN cardholders are eligible to participate.
  • You have to have at least 1,000 points available to redeem any.
  • Only purchases greater than $1 are eligible.
  • American Express can “change which charges are eligible at any time without notice,” the company says.

AmEx isn’t the only one moving toward easier redemption. Two weeks ago, my card issuer Citibank sent me an email announcing sort-of-similar new benefits for online purchases.  In my case, rather than use an app, I would have to create a temporary virtual credit card number, then use that during online checkout instead of what’s printed on my card. (I haven’t bothered because I already can and do use my points on Amazon.)

Does your credit card have a similar feature? Would you want that kind of flexibility with your points? Comment below or on our Facebook page.

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