We live in such a world overflowing with material things. With cheap imports sold in every store and knockoffs sold at every street corner, with online auctions and clearance sales and bulk buying, with advertising and supersizing, it's all too easy for people to become fixated with accumulating Stuff. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that Stuff doesn't make you happy. You only have to look at millionaires who shoplift, or shopaholics who drown in credit card debt, or hoarders who live trapped in their own junk, to realize that. I think Stuff only matters if it can help you create wonderful experiences, or enjoy special moments with family and friends, or help share and relive those moments with the people you love.
With that philosophy in mind, American Express has just launched a campaign to show consumers that Membership Rewards are more than just points, they're a form of "social currency" that connects cardmembers to the people, experiences and things they love. Here's an excerpt from their recent press release that I think says it all:
"At American Express, we have been connecting consumers with memorable experiences since we first introduced the Membership Rewards program more than 20 years ago," said John Hayes, Chief Marketing Officer, American Express. "Now we are bringing that into our increasingly online and connected world by encouraging consumers to think about Membership Rewards points as a form of ‘Social Currency' that facilitates real-life experiences."
For those of you who aren't familiar with the American Express Membership Rewards, it's a card loyalty program that lets you earn 1 point per dollar you spend with your American Express card (and there are bonus earning opportunities). You can redeem those points for almost everything under the sun -- not just for airline tickets and hotel rooms and magazine subscriptions. We're talking concert tickets and electronics and designer watches and baby strollers and a lap around a racetrack and more.
Here are a few features that set the Membership Rewards program apart from the rest:
1) Membership Rewards points never expire, and there's no limit to how many you can earn.
2) You don't need bazillions of points to start using them. You can purchase e-currency for your favorite online games for as little as 200 points , and you can redeem gift cards to your favorite stores with just 1,000 points.
3) You can use your points on any airline, anytime, without seat restrictions or blackout dates. You can use points to pay for all or part of your trip.
4) You can find great deals at membershiprewards.com/specials, which has rewards offered at reduced points. You can also get bonus Membership Rewards points as you shop online with inSite from American Express – it’s a free online shopping tool that automatically notifies you of special offers when you use your Amex Card.
5) You can link your Membership Rewards account to your Amazon, Zynga and/or Ticketmaster accounts and automatically use your points for purchases when you check out at these sites.
6) Redeeming points is quick and easy: just go to membershiprewards.com, find something you like, check your balance to make sure you have enough points, and click to redeem.
Today I'm excited announce that I've been invited to participate in this campaign to showcase the possibilities of the Membership Rewards program, and show moms how they can redeem their Membership Rewards points for the things and experiences that matter to them. Over the next three weeks I'll be talking about my favorite ways to redeem Membership Rewards points at the 25,000, 50,000 and 75,000 level. I'll also be posting tips on how to earn as many points as you can, and how to get the most out of your points when you redeem them.
Since every person is different, I'm sure you'll have your own opinions about what the best rewards are, so I encourage you to leave comments on my posts with your own suggestions and finds. To make things more interesting, I'll be drawing a winner from all the comments I receive over my next three AmEx posts, and giving him/her a $100 American Express gift card!
Win a $100 American Express Gift Card! American Express is giving away a $100 American Express Gift Card to one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader! Required Entry Browse the American Express Membership Rewards catalog at http://www.membershiprewards.com/ , then leave a comment on this post telling me which reward(s) you would choose if you had 25,000 Membership Rewards points. This entry must be completed before you can complete any of the extra entries below.
Extra Entries For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following (maximum of 5 extra entries for this post). Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).
1) Write this on the Bonggamom Finds Facebook page (1 entry): I entered the American Express giveaway! http://ow.ly/4nSuD
2) Share the link to this post (http://ow.ly/4nSuD) on any giveaway linky or contest website, or on your own blog post (1 entry).
3) Share the link to this post (http://ow.ly/4nSuD) on your Facebook page wall, along with the following text (1 entry): If you had 25,000 American Express Membership Rewards points, what would *you* redeem them for? Share your answer with Bonggamom for a chance to win a $100 Amex gift card!
4) Tweet this (1 entry): What would you do with 25k Amex rewards points? Tell @bonggafinds for a chance to win a $100 Amex gift card! http://ow.ly/4nSuD #giveaways
5) You can gain even more entries to this giveaway by commenting on future AmEx posts; watch out for post #2, coming up next week, and post #3, coming the week after.
The Rules This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 14, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 15 from all valid entries on my AmEx posts on March 28, April 4 and April 11. Winner will be announced on my April 18 AmEx post. Due to time constraints, winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email, otherwise I will draw an alternate winner. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my participation in American Express' Membership Rewards Program via complimentary Membership Rewards Points. Thanks to American Express for providing the $100 American Express Gift Card giveaway prize. Information about the Membership Rewards Program has been provided by American Express and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.