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Announcment: 25,000pt. Trans-Tasman Tickets

AMERICAN EXPRESS LAUNCHES MEMBERSHIP REWARDS DIRECT TICKET ?
THE FASTEST AND EASIEST WAY TO FLY USING POINTS

Auckland, 23 February 2004 - Loyalty programme innovator, American Express, today launched a new programme, Membership Rewards Direct Ticket, dramatically cutting the spend required to earn a trans-Tasman or domestic flight using a card loyalty programme.

While some programmes have made it more difficult to get the points required for a flight, the 25,000 points trans-Tasman Direct Ticket special promotion reduces the spend requirement so it is now less than half that required by some other card loyalty programmes.

Domestic flights within the new Direct Ticket programme start from as low as 10,000 points. American Express' Membership Rewards programme awards one point for every dollar spent on enrolled accounts.

American Express Country Manager Atul Mathur said Membership Rewards Direct Ticket was about taking ownership of the full customer experience.

"We are aware of the importance of travel in people's lives, but we are also aware of the frustrations of many people who are attracted to loyalty programmes but find they are either unable to accumulate enough points for a travel reward or, having earned enough points, they are unable to redeem them for flights when they want them.

"Through partnerships with premium airlines we have negotiated real value for our customers," Mr Mathur said.

Confirmed airline partners for Membership Rewards Direct Ticket are Emirates, Qantas, and Thai Airways.

"With Membership Rewards Direct Ticket you just call American Express and we'll arrange a flight. Because we source seats directly from a range of airlines Cardmembers are not constrained by the seating limitations of an individual airline's points programme."

Trans-Tasman tickets will be available ex Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with other routes and offers to be added over time.

Domestic flights will be available from the main centres and tourist hubs: Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

Coupled with the company's Turbo offer ? where Cardmembers can earn two points in its Membership Rewards loyalty programme for every dollar spent ? a person could be rewarded with enough points for a free trans-Tasman flight in less than a year just by putting their everyday spend on their American Express Card. Domestic travel would come even faster.

Membership Rewards Direct Ticket offers, through American Express, will be available from 15 March.

American Express will continue to offer the option of transferring points to the air miles programmes of a selection of premium airline transfer partners and will continue to enhance its market leading non-air redemption options, RapidRewards.

About American Express American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travellers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking.

See www.americanexpress.co.nz

ENDS

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