You may have already used your AmEx rewards points to pay for a ride via Uber. Or you may simply have earned double points using your AmEx card for Uber. For more than a week the two have had this kind of partnership. All you had to do was download the Uber iOS app.
But what you might not have reflected on is the brilliance of this alliance. It represents a pioneering move for both.
Establishment AmEx is aligning its elite brand with controversial upstart Uber. Right now in Europe traditional taxi drivers are protesting Uber. Here in the U.S. (the only place the partnership operates, at least for the time being), some have ranted that Uber boosts rates during peak hours.
As seasoned public relations pros know, controversy is a wonderful platform for publicity. The trick is that it has to be managed right. Obviously, AmEx has the resources to do that delicate job.
As for Uber, what could be better than having the king of the credit card industry associated with it. The AmEx brand lends Uber old-line prestige. Sure, being part of the sharing economy is cool. But having AmEx as a high-profile partner could pan out in big profits. Also, this makes it easier for Uber to attract other major brandnames.
Today, on Payment Week, which I view as the Tech Crunch of the payment niche, I have an article deconstructing the pioneering spirit. Here you can read it.