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AmEx to launch its first cross-brand loyalty program in U.S.

(Reuters) - American Express Co (AXP.N) said it will team up with seven U.S. companies, including Macy's Inc (M.N), AT&T Inc (T.N) and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), to launch a cross-brand loyalty program for the first time in the United States.

The program, called Plenti, will launch this spring and operate like drugstore-rewards programs, letting customers earn points by making purchases at the participating companies, which also include Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N) and Hulu.

For example, users will be able to pay for their purchases at Rite Aid using the points they earn on paying their AT&T bills.

AmEx will operate the so-called coalition loyalty program and collect fees from partner companies. It runs similar programs in Poland, Germany and Italy.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news. (http://on.wsj.com/1betYdz)

AmEx issues cards co-branded with individual U.S. companies such as Delta Airlines Inc (DAL.N), Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (HOT.N) and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd <0293.HK>.

The company's announcement on Wednesday comes about a month after Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) said it would end its 16-year partnership with AmEx in March next year.

AmEx said the loss of the contract would hurt earnings for the next two years while a JPMorgan analyst said the loss would reduce spending on AmEx cards by about $80 billion a year, including their use at businesses other than Costco's stores.

AmEx raised interest rates for over 1 million of its cardholders for the first time in more than five years last month.

(Reporting by Shivam Srivastava in Bengaluru; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi and Savio D'Souza)