American Express transforms Twitter hashtags into savings for cardholders

American Express is giving cardmembers one super compelling reason to tweet about promotional offers: instant savings at name brand U.S. merchants.

The company launched a “Tweet your way to savings” program today to encourage members to sync their AmEx cards with Twitter and tweet special offer hashtags in exchange for coupon-less savings applied at the point of sale.

Here’s how it works: An AmEx cardholder can sign in with Twitter to sync her account — a must-complete first step for savings. The customer is then eligible to tweet any of the current hashtag offers to receive savings that are automatically applied with each eligible purchase. No coupon, print or otherwise, is required.

Should you tweet with the “#AmexWholeFoods” hashtag, for instance, you’d get $20 back on your next trip to Whole Foods, as long as you spend $75 or more at the high-end grocery store before April 30.

“American Express is turning Twitter content into commerce by connecting Cardmembers to merchants and delivering real world value to both,” AmEx vice chairman Ed Gilligan said in a statement. “With the continued convergence of online and offline commerce, our closed loop continues to enable us to bring seamless, relevant ways to connect our cardmembers and merchants on the most powerful social and digital platforms.”

A slew of big brand retailers and popular national chains are currently running hashtag promotions, including McDonalds, Best Buy, Virgin America, Dell, Sports Authority, Whole Foods, and H&M.

The initiative reminds of us of the AmEx-Foursquare hookup, first tested at South by Southwest last year, that incentivizes check-ins with cash-back credits. The program is, in fact, powered by the same AmEx Smart offer APIs. The Twitter version, however, is one that packs a lot more potential exposure for participating merchants, but also demands a bit more social hawking from participating cardmembers.

Two of the bigger offers could be well worth one overly promotional tweet: Dell is offering AmEx customers $100 back on a $599 online purchase in exchange for “#AmexDell” tweets, and Virgin America is giving cardholders 10 percent back on a main cabin ticket should they share the “#AmexVirginAmer” love on Twitter.


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