American Express Rewards Online Shoppers, Facebook Friends

‘Tis the season of online shopping, and American Express is encouraging cardholders to do their shopping online by giving away $20 million in “surprise” gifts.  The program – called the Gift Chain – gives cardmembers a surprise reward each time they spend at least $25 at a participating online retailer, and many of these unexpected gifts can be shared with up to three Facebook friends.

 American Express' Gift Chain Rewards Online Shoppers, Facebook Friends

How does the Gift Chain work?

  • cardmembers register at
  • the promotion runs between November 28th and December 21st
  • cardmembers make a qualifying purchase ($25 or more at select retailers including American Eagle, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dell, Neiman Marcus, Nike, Toys“R”Us, Pottery Barn, and Zappos)
  • post-purchase, cardmembers receive an email describing how to redeem their surprise holiday gift, which could include rewards like $2 Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards, Godiva chocolate, or $5 statement credits, ranging all the way up to $500 American Express Gift Cards
  • some recipients will be given 3 additional gifts they can share with Facebook friends (these friends do not have to be Amex cardholders or be registered with the promotion)
  • each cardholder is eligible for up to 10 gifts, while supplies last
  • cardholders can also mail in their information to be eligible for a gift without making a purchase

MediaPost quotes Kathleen King, VP/strategic merchant marketing at American Express: “The idea was to deliver value to both our cardmembers and merchants, especially since we know how important online shopping is going to be this holiday season.” She also mentioned that the ability to share gifts with friends “adds a nice gaming element” to the campaign.

The Gift Chain is being promoted through online media, internal channels, card member statements and emails, and Facebook. According to King, “We’re trying to deliver more value where people are already connecting.”

On the day after launch, nearly 38,000 cardholders have already registered to become part of the Gift Chain.  As buzz continues to build and gifts are shared with Facebook friends, numbers should rise quickly.  One bummer: to register, participants must already be AmEx cardholders (no signing up for a credit card now to participate in the promotion).