American Express has beefed-up its ‘Membership Rewards’ program to include two new program levels: ‘Membership Rewards Plus’ and ‘Membership Rewards Options’. ‘Membership Rewards Options’ is available today and ‘Membership Rewards Plus’ will become available later this month. Membership Rewards Plus is designed for cardholders who travel frequently and desire maximum flexibility of rewards. ‘Plus’ cardholders have all the benefits of the existing ‘Membership Rewards’ program plus two new, specially designed features ‘Your Ticket’ and ‘Your Reward’. ‘Your Ticket’ permits enrollees to obtain airline tickets to any destination in the world from any airline without blackout dates and frequent flyer seat restrictions. ‘Your Reward’ allows enrollees to use ‘Membership Rewards’ points to pay for any item charged on their AmEx card, including the card’s annual fee. The annual fee for the ‘Plus’ option is generally $75. ‘Membership Rewards Options’ is designed for cardholders who desire lower redemption levels and a lower annual fee. With an annual fee of $15, ‘Membership Rewards Options’ points earned have a different redemption value compared to the other ‘Membership Rewards’ programs. For example, a $25 gift certificate to Champs Sports would require 3,500 points for ‘Membership Rewards Options’ enrollees and 2,500 points for ‘Membership Rewards’ enrollees. The rewards program was first launched in the U.S. in June 1991 under the name ‘Membership Miles’. In 1995, retail and other non-travel rewards were added to the program, and it was re-named ‘Membership Rewards’. There are now 32 ‘Membership Rewards’ programs around the world. For more details on the new AmEx program options visit CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com]).