AmEx Digital Wallet Patent Could Change Loyalty Point Shopping
A recent patent application from American Express reveals plans for a new digital wallet, where users can apply their loyalty points directly at checkout with their favorite ecommerce retailers. The patent for “third party digital wallet pay with points” was originally filed in August 2014, but it was only recently published by the US Patent & Trademark Office.
Under the new setup, loyalty points would be listed as payment options when consumers check out online. Instead of earning rewards for a specific store which then have to be applied at that specific store, consumers could earn points from multiple merchants and apply them wherever they see fit.
This digital wallet model is similar to the Plenti program that American Express already operates. This is a universal rewards card, where users can earn points with a wide range of merchants and use them with any of the retailers in the program. These businesses include AT&T, Mobil, Macy’s, Rite Aid, and a variety of other big-name merchants in the United States.
While the full details of the patent application are not clear, it appears American Express is going to offer even more rewards flexibility with its digital program. There may be variations in the dollar value of points per site, but those details will be revealed at a later time.