Amex launches mobile loyalty app
Partnership with Uber transport booking service
American Express is partnering with Uber to enable its rewards card members to earn double points for journeys paid for using the controversial taxi ordering mobile app.
Amex will integrate the Uber iOS app with its Membership Rewards programme to allow US cardholders enrolled in the scheme to choose to earn the extra points or to use points for Uber rides.
Cardhoders with an eligible card on file with Uber can download the latest version of the Uber iOS app, and will be prompted to enroll their card in the programme via one tap. Once enrolled, they can use an in-app option to toggle between “Earn 2x Points” or “Use Points” for Uber rides.
If they choose to “Earn 2x Points” or “Use Points” they will receive an on-screen ride summary and email receipt from Uber showing that 2x Membership Rewards points were earned or that points were redeemed. A US$20 Uber ride will cost 2,000 points, while a US$20 Uber ride will earn 40 points.
Points earned using Uber can be used across the Membership Rewards scheme.
Leslie Berland, senior VP of digital partnerships and development at Amex, commented: “Through this new, slick and powerful integration with Uber, one of the most forward-looking, mobile-based services in the industry, we are leveraging our unique technology to add a real-time benefit where we know our card members want it.”
Uber and other transport ordering services such as Hailo use apps on GPS-enabled smartphones to link passengers directly with drivers. This can make getting a ride quicker than ordering via a traditional cab company or trying to hail one in the street.
The new model by-passes the taxi companies and rental agencies that used to control the transaction.
The level of threat to more traditional business processes such apps could pose was illustrated in January this year after Uber set up in Paris. Local taxi drivers blockaded roads in the French capital, confronting drivers and users of Uber and other car sharing services. They were unhappy that the services had flouted new regulations imposing a mandatory 15-minute wait for passengers using them. Officially licensed taxis are not subject to the rule.
Uber operates in 68 cities in the US, as well as 37 other countries including France, the UK, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, China, Australia, Italy, Germany and Russia.