American Express has been steadily partnering with various consumer technology companies to allow cardmembers to integrate their accounts and access new ways to spend. For example, the financial services giant debuted a new partnership with Twitter earlier this year to allow cardholders to use hashtags to buy items. Today, AmEx is furthering its presence in the online travel space by teaming up with travel reviews giant and booking site TripAdvisor.
Basically, AmEx cardholders in the U.S., U.K. and Australia can connect their American Express Cards with their TripAdvisor profiles to post verified AmEx cardmember reviews, access exclusive lists and get special merchant offers. TripAdvisor users will now see an “Amex Traveler” badge for cardmembers that connect their cards. Users will also see an “Amex Card Member Review” next to reviews on TripAdvisor when a cardholder has made a transaction with their connected card and then written a review for that place. AmEx tells us that cardholder data is never passed to TripAdvisor.
To incentivize cardholders to integrate and leave reviews, AmEx is giving them a statement credit for $5 in the U.S. and Australia and £5 in the U.K. for reviews.
The integration also leverages the American Express Spend Graph – an aggregate, anonymous mapping of cardmember spend and location data that shows trends in dining, travel and entertainment. So members can access lists like where most business travelers stay and eat in London, or where “foodies” eat in Paris. AmEx says it has created personas (i.e. “Globetrotter” or “Strictly Business”) for cardmembers, and within these anonymous personas, AmEx has done a deep data dive into spending habits and trends as related to restaurants and hotels.
Lastly, cardmembers who integrate with TripAdvisor will be able to access unique offers. To redeem an offer, a cardmember can simply click on the offer within TripAdvisor to save it to their connected American Express Card, and then use that Card to make a purchase in-store or online with that merchant. Savings are delivered automatically. This same Sync technology powers couponless offers on Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and Xbox.
As of earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of AmEx users linked their accounts to Twitter, Facebook and others. Considering that travel is a big expense for many, credits and offers are a good incentive for cardholders to actually feel compelled to integrate their accounts.
But what is even more interesting about this announcement is the data dive that AmEx is doing with personas. According to AmEx, this spend graph data was never available to consumers previously. I’m curious to see how AmEx ends up expanding this beyond travel — perhaps into food, shopping and other categories.