Contactless payments have been something of a white whale for close to 20 years now: always out there, just about to catch-on, if only… But now, the majority of all in-person transactions in the U.S. take place on contactless-enabled terminals, customers are ready for a faster checkout *and* the nation’s largest issuer of credit cards recently announced plans to roll out 100 million contactless cards in 2019.
As of February 12, Marriott and SPG Amex cards not only rebranded to Bonvoy but also became part of the payment world’s push to go contactless. This is noteworthy as American Express heats up its contactless focus, having already converted Hilton Honors and Gold Amex. This past November, Chase and Visa highly publicized their mutual commitment to contactless enablement. And now, Amex appears to be “in it to win it,” as well.
Contactless aside, there are plenty of changes to digest about the Marriott Bonvoy brand – a revamped loyalty program, acquisition bonus offers and consumer and small business benefits. Admittedly, it is a bit of a challenge to track the card conversions of the SPG/ Marriott Amex and Visa portfolios to the new suite of credit cards. We’ve included a cheat-sheet assembled by The Points Guy to navigate the rebranding of the old to the new plastics. All cards are contactless-enabled with the exception of Premier Plus Business.
[SOURCE: The Points Guy, 2/12/19.]
Although cardholders and prospects may view these cards as new, Marriot and Amex are not necessarily treating these cards as such. The welcome offer is not available to applicants who have or have had the previous version of the card.
While the relaunch of the Bonvoy cards gives Amex an opportunity to play up contactless, issuing these as contactless enabled is part of a larger strategy. In fact, a recent press release states that all Amex cards are available as contactless upon request. Amex clearly views the move as essential to creating Amex value for cardmembers:
“Today, all of our U.S. consumer cards are available with contactless chips by request. As digital payments have evolved over the last several years, American Express has begun proactively issuing contactless-enabled versions of certain Consumer and Business cards, helping us become more essential to our Card Members’ daily lives.”
Chase may be the first issuer to add contactless technology to the majority of cards, but Amex also appears on top of the contactless movement, particularly with its most lucrative portfolios.