“A need exists in this industry for a program that expands product choice for loyalty program participants,” says an American Express patent application recently published by the U. In the application, Am Ex describes a system that would let its cardholders pay online with their Membership Rewards points using third-party digital wallets or merchant aggregators.
The popularity of the system, if it’s carried out, would also depend on the redemption values it offered consumers.On a larger scale, it could change the way we think about the value of rewards.The basic idea in Am Ex’s patent application is to give cardholders the option of using Membership Rewards anywhere online, provided they’re paying with a digital wallet or merchant aggregator that works with Am Ex’s system.(Issuers are the financial institutions that hold credit card accounts, such as Am Ex, Chase, Capital One and Wells Fargo.Payment networks determine where you can your cards; they’re indicated by the logos on your cards, such as Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover.) This joint structure also gives Am Ex room to change things up every now and then.