American Express, Vitality boost rewards for physical fitness

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American Express is launching a credit card that provides consumers in the U.K. cash back for reaching physical activity goals.

Amex is teaming up with life insurance and investment firm Vitality in delivering a co-branded chip and contactless card that gives up to 1% cash back on spending, but will boost it to 3% depending on how much physical activity the companies tracked in any given month.

"Working with American Express, we are delighted to be introducing this credit card that uses this behavioral economic model and fuses it together with a person's everyday spending, directly providing additional cash back linked to how active they are," Neville Koopowitz, CEO of Vitality, said in a Tuesday press release.

To earn points, Vitality members track their activity on a compatible device, which then connects to their Vitality app. Users earn points for activities such as completing 7,000 steps a day, visiting the gym or taking part in a running event. The more activity the app records, the more cash rewards Amex provides.

Increasingly, wearable fitness trackers or watches with fitness apps have included payment capabilities, such as Fitbit Pay, but it has been less common for credit card rewards to tap into health and fitness activities.

In some ways, the American Express-Vitality co-branded card follows a model that Pokemon Go deployed in providing rewards to gamers for walking distances while playing. It operates through synching the Pokemon Go app with the iOS HealthKit app on an iPhone or Google Fit on an Android device.

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