Formed 13 years ago as a joint venture between Maritz Inc. and American Express, American Express Incentive Services is now entirely owned by Maritz Holdings Inc. AEIS offers products including prepaid cards, American Express Gift Cheques, and American Express Travelers Cheques for programs such as employee recognition, sales incentives, dealer/distributor incentives, consumer promotions, and rebates to drive employee and consumer behaviors, build loyalty, and increase brand awareness.

Based in Fenton, Mo., AEIS will continue to operate as an independent entity, maintain all of its vendor and merchant relationships, and continue to issue American Express–branded prepaid cards. AEIS also will continue to run on the proprietary network of American Express. A new name and corporate brand will be announced within the next several months.

AEIS will offer the same services and products, including its patented DirectSpend product, which has seen 200 percent growth year over year for the past five years. DirectSpend falls in the category of Restricted Authorization Networks, or RANs, which are prepaid cards that can be used only with designated merchants.

“We will be exploring the vast possibilities that Restricted Authorization Networks offer,” says Darryl Hutson, CEO of AEIS. “The projected growth for RANs in the next four years is significant, and with our DirectSpend patent, we can tap into that potential by filtering cardholder spend to unique merchant subsets and groupings. In the future, we're looking forward to continuing to leverage this process to provide innovative, value-added products.”

A particular growth area, says Hutson, is corporate meetings. “One of the new products we've launched to help with the deep scrutiny within meetings and incentive travel is a filtered destination card,” he explains. “We can custom filter event cards, pre-loaded for participants but restricted for use exclusively on property and with select DMCs. We've even done dine-around cards for events. It offers control of spend with less micro-management on site.”

Service to the AEIS roster of more than 4,000 clients will continue without interruption and with the same management team. Cardholders, according to a press release issued by AEIS, “will see no material change in the cards or programs.”

Maritz, which has been in the incentive business for more than 100 years, is based in St. Louis, Mo. Maritz Holdings Inc. is the corporate entity managing the growing portfolio of Maritz businesses, including joint ventures and other development opportunities.