Here's How Foursquare's Huge New Deal With AmEx Works

Foursquare AmExClick here for a step-by-step guide to how it works →

Photo: American Express

Foursquare is launching a cool new partnership with American Express this week at South by Southwest in Austin, as the WSJ first reported.It’s a pilot test of a new system that lets your credit card company reward you with a special deal — after it has verified that you have checked in someplace on Foursquare

This gives you many incentives: To shop with participating merchants, to check in on Foursquare, and to use your AmEx card.

Therefore, it’s a smart experiment for both companies.

For AmEx, it’s an opportunity to work with a cool brand, appeal to younger people, make a splash at SXSW, and see how mobile apps and check-ins might fit into its credit card business.

For Foursquare, it’s a great chance to get in with one of the biggest brands in payments — an obvious opportunity to make money somewhere down the road.

The pilot isn’t directly generating any revenue for Foursquare, cofounder and CEO Dennis Crowley tells us. But he hopes that it’ll be successful, and that it could lead to future deals that could generate revenue for the startup.

The first step is to go to AmEx's SXSW site and sign up your credit card

It's at

Note: Only personal cards will qualify for the deals. NOT corporate AmEx cards.

It's pretty simple: Fill in your name and AmEx card number, and choose which parts of the promotion you'd like to participate in (for most people, both)

Check in to the location just as you would normally


OK, it's loaded. Now go ahead and eat! And when you're ready to pay, just pay the full amount as normal with your AmEx card. This is a behind-the-scenes rebate, NOT an instant coupon.

Once you've paid, you'll get a push notification from Foursquare letting you know that your special deal has been confirmed. The $5 credit will show up on your AmEx statement within a few days.

BONUS: The first time you make a purchase in Austin after you've activated a card, you'll earn a special Foursquare badge, and $1 will be donated to a nonprofit.

What do you think?

It's interesting, and could be cool if AmEx rolled it out widely.

It would have to be special to be special -- sizable discounts, a few times a year perhaps. Not just a few pennies saved here and there. Christmas shopping in New York, ski season, etc.

Think it's simple enough once you've registered?

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