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Inside American Express's New Weeklong Virtual Experience

The brand's inaugural Membership Week showcased special cardmember offers and perks.

Shot on a beach in Santa Barbara, the virtual performance of American Express UNSTAGED with SZA and surprise guests Travis Scott and Isaiah Rashad aired on June 17.
Shot on a beach in Santa Barbara, the virtual performance of American Express UNSTAGED with SZA and surprise guests Travis Scott and Isaiah Rashad aired on June 17.
Photo: Kanya Iwana, courtesy of American Express

American Express is known for offering a wide range of experiences and activations for its cardmembers—even through the pandemicincluding drive-in food festivals and high-tech concert events.

From June 14-18, the financial services brand debuted a sort of “best of” program, called Membership Week, that was filled with more of those exclusive rewards, events and deals—all of which were offered virtually.

American Express cardmembers have the opportunity to purchase NFTs from SZA’s very first NFT collection, called Amex UNSTAGED x SZA: The Collection, which is hosted and sold by Fanaply. It features her favorite moments from the show, including behind-the-scenes and other never-before-seen photos from her Amex UNSTAGED performance.American Express cardmembers have the opportunity to purchase NFTs from SZA’s very first NFT collection, called Amex UNSTAGED x SZA: The Collection, which is hosted and sold by Fanaply. It features her favorite moments from the show, including behind-the-scenes and other never-before-seen photos from her Amex UNSTAGED performance.Photo: FanaplyAs part of the weeklong initiative, cardmembers were able to see a virtual performance by SZA, purchase tickets to a virtual cooking class with celebrity chef David Chang and access meditation sessions from Calm and workouts from Equinox.

“We used Membership Week as an opportunity to thank our loyal cardmembers for being part of our community, while also highlighting what it means to be with Amex by showcasing some of the great rewards, opportunities and one-of-a-kind moments we provide across dining, retail, entertainment, travel, wellness and more,” explained Andy Goldberg, SVP of global content and planning at American Express.

But how did this five-day event differ from the brand’s other ongoing offers? “The idea behind it was to consolidate and provide a wide array of unique experiences one can have as an American Express cardmember all in one week,” Goldberg said. “In addition to promoting special offers, we used the week as an opportunity to curate new, exclusive experiences.“

Through a series of prompts on Instagram, consumers were able to help design items for a limited-edition travel capsule collection by Quincy Moore of New York or Nowhere.Through a series of prompts on Instagram, consumers were able to help design items for a limited-edition travel capsule collection by Quincy Moore of New York or Nowhere.Photo: American ExpressThis included a limited-edition travel capsule collection, which includes a sweatsuit, tote bag, socks and more, designed by Quincy Moore of New York or Nowhere. Cardmembers were able to collaborate on the designs for the collection through a series of prompts on the American Express Instagram account.

Each day of Membership Week focused on a different category. For example, Tuesday featured perks related to restaurants and bars, as well as the cooking class with Chang.

American Express also teamed up with media brands to offer access to subscriber-only content. “We identified key media partners such as Condé Nast, Thrillist and Vox that aligned with the campaign’s daily themes to help create additional engagement to both existing and prospective cardmembers,” Goldberg said. “For example, we worked with Wired and Vanity Fair to remove their paywalls, making it easy for those interested in reading their content to do so.”

While there are no definitive dates yet, Goldberg said that the brand plans to make Membership Week an ongoing experience, “evolving into a hybrid approach where there are local activities supported by virtual components.”

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