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American Express Rewarding Membership Points for Volunteering

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American ExpressIt seems like all the credit card related news lately has been really negative, as card companies react to the CARD Act, but today I wanted to mention a positive credit card story. I read it first on the New York Times Bucks blog over a week ago but American Express is now rewarding cardholders, in their Membership Rewards program, who volunteer. You get 500 reward points for every hour of volunteering up to 10,000 points a year. As long as the project is listed in the VolunteerMatch.org database, it’s eligible.

I think it’s pretty awesome that American Express is doing this and while there are a few hoops to jump through, I suspect to prevent fraud, it’s certainly a nice little enticement for those on the fence about volunteering and a nice perk for those who already do. Some have complained the list is a bit narrow but I believe that they’re probably directing hours to the groups that need it most. You can read the press release here.

I think volunteering and helping others is its own reward but getting 10,000 points in the process certainly doesn’t hurt. To get the rewards you’ll need to have an American Express card in the Membership rewards program, such as Blue from American Express and American Express ® Gold Card.

(Photo: thetruthabout)

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19 Responses to “American Express Rewarding Membership Points for Volunteering”

  1. daenyll says:

    while I’m not an AMEX customer, this seems like a great incentive program, and the volunteer match site had quite a few oportunities in my area

  2. This is an awesome idea!

    I agree that volunteering is its own reward. My wife volunteered during the year that she was unemployed. During a job interview, she was asked what she had been doing the entire time. In the end, I think that volunteer time helped her land the job.

  3. jsbrendog says:

    this is a great incentive to reward people who give their time to others

  4. Chris says:

    I think this is a great idea…for once.

  5. javi says:

    Nice to know since I have a Blue card. I rather give points to charity.

  6. Hurray for some positive credit card news…finally. And as usual, AmEx leads the way in showing its competitors how cause-related marketing campaigns should be handled.

  7. This is quite surprising to me, kudos to AMEX for doing this.

    However, if any card brand was going to do this, I would think it would be American Express. They are known for great customer service and this is an extension of that. There is a lot of brand loyality to AMEX.

  8. Scott says:

    Cool beans. Glad to see someone else picking up on Disney’s idea of rewarding volunteers. A more active and actively involved America is better for everyone.

  9. hoht says:

    Cool, now I can apply my volunteering hours to get free stuff. Not that volunteering was already a reward itself.

  10. Disney gives a free day’s admission to volunteers.

    My question … what is the tax consequence of this? Is this considered income? Or is it considered to equivalent to a coupon?

    • Shirley says:

      I don’t see how it could be considered income since no one is giving you any money or tangible merchandise.

      • Free admission to Disney definitely has value. If you did some carpentry work for me and I paid you with Disney vouchers, it would be barter income for you. If you won free admission via a radio contest, it would also be taxable income.

  11. This is such a great idea. Whatever it takes to get people out and volunteering works with me. Though I do not feel that you should be rewarded with cash or prizes, it’s great that this will probably get more people to help others.

    • Shirley says:

      I agree. I honestly feel that lending a hand with time and effort is as rewarding to the giver as it is to the receiver. I’m all for whatever incentives it takes to get more volunteers out and active to experience this.

  12. zapeta says:

    I think this is a great idea…just a little push to get people to start doing something good in their community. My guess is that after people take advantage of a couple volunteer activities and find one that they like they’ll keep doing it long after this promotion is over.

  13. Wilma says:

    Wow. A credit card company with compassion. Who’da thunk it? =)

  14. eric says:

    I’m liking this! Thanks for the heads up.

  15. gudwrks says:

    There is a B-Corp candidate company which intends to be a national ‘redemption center’ for all v’teer hours, a clearing house where folks can redeem vteer hours and recover points…AmEx should partner with these guys!!


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