Casual dining restaurants like Chili’s don’t usually jack their menu prices up to the point where diners are scrambling to pinch pennies when the bill comes, but American Express is betting that these consumers still appreciate a good deal where they can get it.
Plenti, Amex’s all-in-one loyalty rewards program, announced Wednesday (Jan. 20) that it had finalized a deal to bring Plenti into all Chili’s Grill & Bar locations by the second half of 2016. Abeer Bhatia, executive vice president and CEO of U.S. loyalty at Amex, explained that bringing Chili’s on board marks a significant expansion for Plenti and, ideally, will bring more of the same ambitious growth to come.
“We’re excited to have Chili’s on board as the first restaurant in Plenti’s lineup, given their strong focus on the guest experience and commitment to bringing greater value to loyal customers,” Bhatia said in a statement. “By expanding into the restaurant category with another well-known brand, we’re introducing a great way for members to earn and use points at Chili’s and across multiple Plenti partners. We continue to grow our next-generation loyalty program and make it more exciting and rewarding for our customers.”
Having run its own rewards program prior to Plenti, Chili’s brings about 4.4 million members into Amex’s blossoming rewards network. That consortium already includes names in disparate industries, including AT&T, Macy’s, Hulu and ExxonMobil. Krista Gibson, CMO at Chili’s, hinted at pulling in some of the shoppers already engaged with other partnering brands in the Plenti program — an omnichannel marketing move that Plenti seems tailor-made for.
The news continues a strong start to the new year for Amex and Plenti, which began 2016 by bringing Rite Aid into the fold. Any more client partners for Plenti and consumers will be able to earn rewards points as they fill the car up at the gas station, drive it to Chili’s for a meal and then head to Rite Aid for some antacids — with loyalty discounts, of course.