Foursquare & AmEx Take Checkin Deals Nationwide

Foursquare and American Express are introducing a partnership that will reward users with loyalty card-like credit when they check in.

The New York startup won’t be receiving any revenue from the deal, but the partnership could give Foursquare a better shot at becoming a mainstream service.

“A big part of what we’re doing is building enhanced loyalty tools,” Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley told The Wall Street Journal when the company first announced the partnership in March. “We’re seeing that things like this can drive users.”

Foursquare recently announced that it had surpassed 10 million users, but it hasn’t clarified how many of them are actively using the service after registering. A 2010 Pew Survey found that just 4% of online Americans use any checkin service.

Foursquare is an appealing partner for AmEx as the credit card company targets younger consumers and encourages spending on its cards. Edward Gilligan, vice chairman of American Express, told The New York Times that in a test run of the program at South by Southwest, AmEx customers who participated in the deal program spent 20% more than those who didn’t. AmEx has also partnered with another location-based checkin service, SCVNGR, to offer paperless deals — presumably with similar goals.

Will a reward system that looks more like a loyalty card than the coupon offers that Foursquare users currently receive entice a broader adoption of the service?

Foursquare is about to find out. The first deals will launch at Sports Authority, H&M and a handful of restaurants in New York. Those who link their AmEx cards to Foursquare, check in to Sports Authority and spend $50 at the store, for instance, will receive a $20 reward on their AmEx accounts.

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