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AmEx eliminates gift-card fees, expands Simon Property partnership

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New York City American Express announced on Wednesday that it is eliminating monthly fees on all of its gift cards.

The change, effective immediately, aims to help consumers not worry about their gift cards losing value if they don’t use them quickly.

American Express Gift Cards no longer have fees after purchase -- no fees for activation, no fees for checking a balance, no fees for monthly servicing, no fees for card replacement, and the funds on the cards never expire. The company previously had a monthly fee of $2.00 that was applied at month 13 after purchase.

American Express said it is the only major issuer of universal, or “general purpose,” gift cards to eliminate all fees after purchase.

In addition, American Express and Simon Property Group announced a new, expanded relationship that makes American Express the primary provider of Simon gift cards.

“Simon has been an innovator in this space since the launch of our Simon Giftcard program in 2003,” said Mikael Thygesen, chief marketing officer, Simon Property Group. “Through our expanded relationship with American Express, we will continue to reinforce our leadership position. The elimination of monthly fees on the American Express/Simon Giftcard will be a major differentiator in the marketplace and will drive our growth this season and beyond.”

Thygesen added that American Express/Simon gift cards will be available for the holiday season at 230 Simon properties nationwide.

American Express also plans to roll out several new designs for its gift cards this holiday season, including three new limited-edition designs by pop-artist Peter Max, best known for his recent Presidential portraits and “Cosmic” art of the 1960s. 

New customizable gift-card designs will also give buyers the opportunity to write personal messages to their recipients directly on the card. 

American Express plans to promote the new gift cards later this year through a comprehensive marketing campaign.

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