Industry News | October 21, 2014 | QSR Exclusive Brief

Amex Partners with McDonald's for Real-Time Points Payment


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American Express is asking their card members if they want fries with that. The financial services corporation partnered with McDonald’s to allow Amex users enrolled in Membership Rewards to pay for their Big Mac with points at the register and the drive thru.

“Last year, Membership Rewards Card Members spent hundreds of millions of dollars at McDonald’s—we know it’s a place our Card Members love to spend,” says Dave Wolf, vice president of global product and business development for American Express, in an email. “McDonald’s has been a great partner to us across digital and social platforms—including, Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter—helping add unique value to American Express card members wherever they are engaged.”

As a part of the new partnership, Amex card members can pay with rewards points in a McDonald’s restaurant, both at the counter and the drive-thru lane. The POS capability will roll out nationally over the next few months, and during the launch, American Express will make a $1 donation to the Ronald McDonald House Charities each time a card member pays with points.

“We know our Card Members care deeply about serving local communities and have a long history of engaging in philanthropic efforts,” says Wolf of the charitable contribution.

Currently, Amex users can use points to pay for travel reservations and shop online at retailers like Amazon and Apple. The McDonald’s partnership represents the company’s move to making more points accessible in real time at the point of sale, Wolf says. “We ultimately want to be ubiquitous and want our customers to think about using their Amex cards in places they may not have thought about before, [like] in real-time at restaurants like McDonald's.”

For its part, the Golden Arches seems to be paying more attention to diversifying and speeding up its point of sales options—the quick-serve giant announced in September a partnership with Apple Pay, enabling iPhone users to pay with the new technology.

By Tamara Omazic

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