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25-Sep-2017 10:19

If Am Ex implements a system for paying with points in more places, it could make its rewards program much more valuable.

As it stands, the Membership Rewards program is better suited to frequent travelers than people who take only one or two trips per year.

Digital wallets, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, are systems that let consumers make secure electronic payments online or through cellphones.

Merchant aggregators, like Square or Pay Pal, let small businesses process credit card payments without dealing directly with credit card companies.

Credit card points are usually worth about as much as Monopoly money when it comes to making purchases.

When buying things online, you typically see a credit and debit option but not one for “pay with credit card points.” That could change. The application, titled “Third Party Digital Wallet Pay With Points,” notes that most loyalty programs offer only limited redemption options.

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.

If you’re looking for versatility, switching to a cash-back credit card, instead of a card that doles out points and miles, might be your best bet for the time being.

You probably would have to redeem rewards the old-fashioned way — that is, by logging onto your account and requesting a check or statement credit.

“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.

If implemented, the system would make Membership Rewards one of the most flexible rewards currencies on the market.For example, Am Ex might run a promotional program with a “valued merchant,” offering cardholders twice the usual conversion amount for a transaction, according to the application.

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