Amex patent turns reward points into virtual currency

American Express is exploring a system that would let its customers use reward points for purchases in third-party digital wallets, according to a newly published patent application. “This system, method and computer program may allow certain transaction account holders to directly pay with their loyalty points in any third-party digital wallet,” the patent says. “Utilizing the system, transaction account holders may earn one or more points for virtually every dollar charged on eligible, enrolled transaction accounts and then redeem their points for a wide array of rewards, including merchandise or travel.”