American Express Co. is continuing its expansion into social media by starting an online community that rewards cardholders for sharing their best travel tips.

Amex did a soft launch of Top Flyer earlier this year and began promoting it as it gained popularity, Pepper Evans Roukas, the company's vice president of digital brand and social media, said in an interview. "We decided to launch Top Flyer to connect with our cardholders in the social media space, much like we did with Foursquare," Roukas said.

Amex developed Top Flyer with the interactive online travel community FlyerTalk. Amex also started a pilot test with the social media locator Foursquare Labs Inc. in March.

The move into social media is important to Amex, which will continue efforts to reach cardholders where they are online, Roukas said.

"We're going to fish where the fish are and communicate with our cardholders the way they want to be communicated with," she said.

Each month, Amex holds a contest in which the top 10 participating community members with the most online "likes" on their travel tip posts win either 10,000 rewards points or a $50 gift card, Roukas said.

Amex is marketing Top Flyer through FlyerTalk, a hub where leisure and business travelers congregate and share travel information.

Amex's services are tailored to the needs of business and leisure travelers alike, FlyerTalk said in a press release last month.

American Express is also marketing Top Flyer through its various card product channels, Roukas said.

"The good news is we feel we've struck a chord with our cardholders and potential cardholders," she said. "The community is definitely going to be evolving."

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