Blue From American Express(R) Re-Launches Blue PLAY(R) Site With Real-Time Online Auctions That Money Can’t Buy, and Surveys Consumers’ ‘Play’ Habits

National Poll Shows That Time, Work and Money are Top Barriers to ‘Playing’ More; Data Reveals Many Differences about How Men and Women Spend Their Leisure Time

NEW YORK, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ — American Express today announced the re-launch of Blue PLAY — a real-time, online auction that allows Blue from American Express Cardmembers to bid for once-in-a-lifetime experiences — many of which money literally can’t buy. In conjunction with the re-launch of the Blue PLAY site, American Express released the results of the Blue PLAY Survey that sheds light on how important “play” time is to adults and how they want to spend their valuable leisure time. Survey respondents also ranked time, work and money as the top three barriers to personally enjoying playful activities.

Through the Blue PLAY site, American Express offers a unique remedy to at least one of those concerns. Blue from American Express Cardmembers who are enrolled in the Membership Rewards(R) program can use Membership Rewards points, rather than money, to bid on memorable experiences — from front-row tickets to a premiere fashion show, to flag-to-flag excitement at the motor raceway, to romantic vacation packages and exclusive shopping extravaganzas. There is no fee to bid, and points are deducted from the winner’s Membership Rewards account after the close of an auction.

To play, Cardmembers can visit http://www.americanexpress.com/blueplay to review descriptions of current and upcoming auctions. The auctions are organized under key categories, such as Unique Getaways, Arts & Entertainment and Sports, allowing players to browse for experiences most relevant to their tastes. Players can bid on as many auctions as they like, and new auctions will be posted throughout the month.

Upcoming Blue PLAY Auctions Include:

— Indy Racing League(R): Two tickets to next month’s TOYOTA Indy 300,
with private tours of the garage and pit areas at the Homestead-Miami
Speedway, and a ride in the pace car on race day.
— Europe’s Cool Capitals: An amazing ten days in Amsterdam, Vienna, and
Zurich — three 21st-century cities with world-class reputations for
classical works of art and architecture, as well as haute design,
cuisine, fashion, and music.
— Tribeca Film Festival: Five nights in New York City with all-access
entry into star-studded film premieres and exclusive parties at one of
the year’s most exciting cinematic events.

According to the Blue PLAY Survey, 40% of adults have bid at least once for merchandise or experiences through an auction, with nearly three-quarters (74%) of those bidders having won an auction. Of those who have bid for merchandise, 35% have placed bids via the Internet.

“The Blue PLAY Survey reveals that the vast majority of adults love to play but face serious challenges such as time, work and money,” said Pam Codispoti, vice president, Marketing, American Express. “With online auctions and experience-based rewards growing in popularity, Blue PLAY opens unique ‘playgrounds’ to help Cardmembers enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences without using cash.”

Survey: Time, Work & Money Cut into “Play” Time — Women Have Less Time to
Play

According to the Blue PLAY Survey, 92% of adults love to play. Twenty-one percent of respondents say their ideal “play” activity is to “goof off” with the kids, followed by socializing with friends or family (18%), relaxing or doing nothing (12%), participating in a sport (12%) and traveling (11%). By far, men would most prefer to spend valuable playtime with their spouse or partner (51% vs. 35% of women respondents). Women, however, would rather spend playtime with their kids (36% vs. 26% of men) or with a friend (21% vs. 16% of men). Less than 1% of the more than 1,000 respondents care to spend their playtime with co-workers or their boss.

Although adults love to play, 50% of respondents say they don’t spend “enough time” or “any time” enjoying fun activities outside of work.

Where time is concerned, more women than men (41% vs. 32%) say they love to play, but don’t have the time or energy. Men are much more likely than women to say they love to play, and they do so as often as possible (54% vs. 45%), according to the Blue PLAY Survey.

With time at a premium, male and female consumers together average 16 hours of playtime in a typical month — only four hours per week. A quarter of respondents (26%) squeeze in up to seven hours of play a month, if any time at all.

Men Spend Nearly Twice as Much to Play as Do Women …

In a typical month, consumers spend an average of $135 on fun activities. Men outspend women by almost two to one, shelling out about $178 monthly vs. $96 by women. Westerners are the “big spenders” when it comes to playing ($179 per month), followed by consumers in the South ($127), the North East region ($124) and the North Central region ($115).

When they have disposable income, consumers are more likely to spend the money on themselves or others (68%), rather than save or invest it (33%). Also, 31% say they don’t typically have disposable income with which to play.

… But “Playing” Takes on a Different Meaning when Time and Money Are No
Object

The survey emphasized the importance of rewards programs like Blue PLAY that offer incredible experiences for consumers who want to use points instead of currency. Respondents shared grand ideas about how they would spend their playtime if time and money were no object. Nearly half of respondents (49%) envision flying away for a romantic weekend, while others would opt for VIP treatment at an entertainment event (17%), to shop ’til they dropped (16%) or treat themselves to a relaxing day at a spa (11%). Interestingly, a romantic weekend getaway seems vastly more appealing to men than women (55% vs. 44%). If time and money were no object, women are more than twice as likely to opt for a shopping spree (22% vs. 9%).

Survey Methodology

The Blue PLAY Survey, is based on a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 adults, 18 years of age and older. The survey was conducted via telephone by International Communications Research (ICR) from January 14 – 18, 2005. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.1%.

About American Express

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network ser vices company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking. For more information about American Express, visit http://www.americanexpress.com/.

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