“While other card associations offer a ticket to Lionel Richie anywhere in the world, American Express brings Lionel Richie to your house,” said Dave Bekker, when asked about the new adventure in South Africa that the global brand has charted with Nedbank at the #AmexExperience media event in Johannesburg.

The stylish gathering of top lifestyle and business figures signalled the arrival of premium banking and lifestyle brand American Express in fine fashion on Monday evening.

Renowned broadcaster Andile Khumalo presided over the gathering focused on American Express’s new adventure in the South African marketplace.

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Chris Wood, Head of Nedbank Card Issuing Payments, noted the exciting opportunity to reintroduce South African consumers to the American Express brand, demystifying the relationship that Nedbank and American Express have shared for over 40 years.

According to the Nedbank Amex SA team, offers include a dual card product that ties American Express cards to a Nedbank account, such as Greenbacks, or partner offerings like the SAA Voyager cards giving members the full benefits of reward programmes.

Through American Express, greater value is added to these offerings, while still ensuring members have a choice in their banking.

Also offered to the South African market are standalone American Express branded products referred to as Centurion Line products that are linked to a global rewards programme called Membership Rewards. These products are both banking and lifestyle products.

This bodes well for local consumers and corporate clients with an eye for global travel and lifestyle options, as well as for local merchants who want to see high-spending, loyal international tourists with a similar taste for a walk through their doors.

“This is the core value proposition of American Express,” said Privesan Naidoo, Head of Corporate Card Issuing and the Amex Merchants business.

He explained that Amex leverages its universal reputation as a brand that uses banking to innovate on lifestyle, offering 100 000 local merchants access to all of the foreign customer spend as well as spend from over one million local members.

Nedbank’s Mahen Thamanna said: “Amex is not just a banking product, it’s a lifestyle product. This essentially makes Membership Rewards a complimentary rewards programme that leverages the American brand and its global partner relationships to bring members great benefits in redemptions for travel and lifestyle offerings across the planet, thereby making Membership Rewards a global currency.”