American Express Canada Makes Aggressive Push into the Small Business Market

    - Launch of the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card offers
    Cardmembers greater choice, more value and increased earning
    capabilities -

    MARKHAM, ON, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - Amex Bank of Canada today announced an
increased focus on the thriving small business market beginning with the
launch of the Business Gold Rewards Card and a multi-channel advertising and
marketing campaign 'Built for Business Owners.'
    The expansion of American Express' small business organization is in
response to the enormous growth in the small business sector, and the Small
Business Services division has grown exponentially to gear up for this push
into the market. Customer service models and products have been developed
based on extensive feedback and input from business owners.
    "Small businesses are a driving force within the Canadian economy and
they rightfully expect more services and better support from financial
institutions," said Howard Grosfield, VP & General Manager, Small Business
Services, American Express Canada & International. "American Express is
committed to this sector and is putting significant resources behind the
creation of products and services that meet the needs of business owners."
    Central to the Company's increased focus on development and marketing of
new products and services to the small business market, the American Express
Business Gold Rewards Card is a Charge Card specifically built to fulfill the
unique needs and demands of small business owners.
    The new American Express Business Gold Rewards Card gives business owners
the choice of earning rewards points they can use to transfer instantly to the
Aeroplan program, or book virtually any trip with American Express Travel and
pay all or part with points with no blackouts. Points can also be redeemed for
hundreds of other rewards including electronics, dining, retail and hotel
    "We have built a product from the ground-up designed specifically for
Canada's 2.3 million small business owners. This Card provides a truly
differentiated offering with the rewards and services business owners want on
a single Card," said Grosfield.

    Some key Card features include:

    -   Ability to transfer points to Aeroplan. 1 point = 1
        Aeroplan Mile.
    -   Ability to transfer points to Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles,
        Continental Airlines, or Delta Air Lines and access their combined
        27 airline partners.
    -   Flexibility to book virtually any trip with American Express Travel
        and pay all or part with points, with no blackouts.
    -   Hundreds of other reward choices including The Home Depot, Starwood
        Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Sony and Apple.
    -   Earn rate of one point for every dollar charged and up to 40,000
        bonus points every year.
    -   Additional Cards for employees to earn even more points.
    -   Quarterly Business Management Reports and discounts at places like
        FedEx and Hertz.
    -   No pre-set spending limit can give businesses the cash flow they

    American Express is also offering a limited-time welcome bonus of 25,000
points when Cardmembers make $1,000 in purchases during their first three
months of Card membership, which is enough for a flight to most North American
destinations. American Express is also offering the Card free for the first
year, waiving the $180 annual Cardmember fee.
    To support the launch of the Business Gold Rewards Card, American Express
has introduced a new marketing campaign: 'Built for Business Owners'. This
multi-channel campaign uses TV, print, online, radio and event platforms to
communicate the key Card benefits to Canadian small businesses. The creative
campaign was developed by Ogilvy & Mather.
    The launch of the new product and business focus in Canada is the
forerunner for the expansion of Small Business Services for other
international markets. Canada was chosen as the lead small business market for
American Express largely because of the robust and growing entrepreneurial
sector in this country that American Express sees as offering untapped
potential. The company is leveraging the success of the American Express small
business operations in the U.S. that has grown to become a significant part of
its business there, operating under the American Express OPEN banner.
    For more information on American Express Business Gold Rewards card,
please visit or

    About American Express in Canada

    American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex
Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American
Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of
the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American
Express Cards in Canada. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel,
Travel Services Network and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American
Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now
employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast.

For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Link or Tom Sargent, Edelman, (416)
979-1120 ext. 235, 250,,;
Lauren Dineen-Duarte, American Express Canada, (905) 474-8169,

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