Foursquare announced a lot of things at SXSW this year, but the biggest perhaps was a trial run for specials through American Express. After seeing the system in action in Austin, I knew it was only a matter of time before it made the leap from “trial” to “full-fledged partnership.” Tonight the New York Times is reporting that it’s here, and the deals look to be some of the best foursquare offers we’ve seen.
Once a user’s American Express card is linked to foursquare, the deals show up in the foursquare app just like any other special. The genius part is the way they’re redeemed: the discount shows up automatically as a credit to your American Express account. The business isn’t involved at all, so you don’t need to worry about a server or cashier who doesn’t know how to redeem the foursquare special.
â€œWeâ€™ve always done marketing with merchants to make offers to our card members, like send offers through direct mail, put information about sales on the Internet,â€ American Express Vice Chairman Edward Gilligan told the New York Times. â€œBut those response rates tend to be low.â€Â The test version of the Foursquare offers brought a â€œhigher response rate than anything else weâ€™re doing,â€ he said.
The deals available in this first round should be very attractive to foursquare users. Those who spend $50 at Sports Authority will receive a $20 discount. At H&M they’ll get $10 when they spend $75. There will also be deals at a few restaurants in New York, including Union Square CafÃ© and Blue Smoke.
I had the pleasure of redeeming several of these deals while I was in Austin for SXSW and they were easy and fun to do. Once you check in, you click the “Load to Card” button and the special is activated. After you pay, you receive a notice from foursquare that the deal was redeemed and your account has been credited. The notification is nearly instantaneous. At a restaurant it showed up before the server had even returned to my table with the check. The credit shows up on your account within a few days.
Foursquare won’t be drawing any revenue from the deals, but a partnership with a big-name partner like American Express helps to legitimize foursquare as a platform and could draw other, more lucrative deals in the future.
You can sync your American Express card to foursquare to start earning the discounts today.
What do you think of the partnership? Will it make you more likely to pull out your American Express card to pay for your purchases?