American Express Launches Instant Point Redemptions For NYC Taxis

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The days of having to have cash to pay for a cab in New York City are long gone, and you’ll find me using a points-earning credit card to rack up even more points as I drive around the city.

Folks looking to use their points on taxi fares just got a new option today thanks to a new partnership unveiled by Amex today where eligible cardholders can now use Membership Rewards points for their fares in NYC taxi cabs at point of sale. The value (1 cent per point) isn’t amazing, but it is always good to have more options to use your points.

Amex and VeriFone are changing the way you pay for taxis.
Amex and VeriFone are changing the way you pay for NYC taxis.

Thanks to a tech-integration with VeriFone Systems, Inc., members will be able to ride in VeriFone taxi cabs that accept Membership Rewards points, just as they already accept credit card payments via the Taxi TV screen at the end of the ride.

Once the rider has reached their destination, folks who have chosen to pay with “credit” will be prompted by the Taxi TV screen to swipe their card as usual. But if it is an Amex card enrolled in the Membership Rewards program such as the Premier Rewards Gold or Platinum cards – and if there are enough points in the account – they will receive an on-screen prompt giving them the option to use points for their ride fare, including tip and tolls.

The redemption rate is 1 cent per point – the same as Pay With Points for other travel expenses if you have any Membership Rewards Amex card except the Business Platinum (which is 1.25 cents per point). While I personally would not redeem my Membership Rewards points at that rate since I get much better values by transferring them to partners including Delta, or British Airways and Virgin Atlantic during their current transfer bonus period, as well potentially to Singapore’s KrisFlyer program for first and business class redemptions on the airline, it’s still interesting to me that you can redeem your points at a decent rate at point of sale like this.

VeriFone Taxi Solutions
VeriFone Taxi Solutions

VeriFone already has devices in 7,000 NYC taxis servicing 200,000 fares a day, so the technology is already in place, just be sure you are hopping into a participating vehicle.

VeriFone has payment systems in 7,000 New York taxis.
VeriFone has payment systems in 7,000 New York taxis.

Here is how it will work:

  • NYC cabs that accept Membership Rewards points for redemption will feature a video explaining the program immediately following the Taxi and Limousine Commission welcome message on the Taxi TV screen.
  • At the end of the ride, members follow the existing prompts to choose “Credit,” add a tip and then swipe or tap an eligible American Express Card.
  • Before the payment is processed, members will be shown the number of points required to redeem for the ride, and on-screen buttons labeled “Use Points” or “No Thanks.” Card Members that choose “Use Points” will receive on-screen confirmation that the points have been redeemed.  If a Card Member chooses “No Thanks,” or does nothing, the payment will be processed as usual.

As I mentioned, the redemption rate will be 1 cent per point.

I normally use my Chase Sapphire Preferred to pay for cabs, even if a disgruntled driver is adamant that I pay with cash, because I get 2x points as they are included under “travel.” When away in cities such Los Angeles (where taxis are scarce and expensive) I find Uber to be uber-useful, as it is a great app that allows you to page private cars and taxis directly from your smartphone without having to wait out on the street and try to hail a cab or call a town car.

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