You’ve heard of cash back for groceries or restaurants, but what about cash back for freight? That’s exactly what Amazon Freight is doing through a partnership with American Express. The new offering will give freight brokers and forwarders 3% or 5% back on every load they book through the company’s trucking arm.
It goes without saying, but moving freight can be expensive. Earlier this month, FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller explained the ebbs and flows of the trucking cycle, breaking down just how costly inland shipments can be when certain conditions align. And while trucking rates are steadily coming back to Earth after a wild winter, a little money back never hurt.
Amazon Freight’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) offer, revealed Wednesday on its website, will run through Feb. 27, 2023, and apply to eligible American Express cardholders. Amazon Business American Express card members will be able to earn 3% back per load, while Amazon Business Prime American Express card members can earn 5% back.
Read: FreightWaves research: Amazon’s new online freight platform is viewed negatively by 8 of 10 carriers and freight brokers
Unsurprisingly, the deal is only valid for services in the lower 48 states purchased directly with Amazon Freight as the merchant of record.
For decades, most U.S. companies have relied on the Big Three carriers — UPS (NYSE: UPS), FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and the Postal Service — to handle the vast majority of inland parcel shipments. Amazon, though, has quickly carved out its own niche in the freight industry.
Carriers and freight brokers were cold on Amazon Freight when it launched in 2019. But Amazon’s trucking arm has steadily grown into a legitimate national carrier. While not quite on the level of the Big Three, it boasts a network of more than 30,000 trailers, as well as extra capacity through carrier partners.
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Amazon Freight offers a few different services. It leverages its network to provide inbound shipping to Amazon facilities, outbound shipping to customer facilities and interplant shipping between a company’s own facilities. All of those shipments will now be eligible for money back.
American Express, meanwhile, is entering the freight space for the first time since the company was founded as a freight forwarder in the 19th century. It’s not the first major credit card company to get involved, however.
That distinction belongs to Mastercard. It started facilitating cross-border freight payments in 2017 and partnered with U.S. Bank last year to give fleet owners the ability to manage costs like fuel, parking and tolls in one place.
Financial institutions like U.S. Bank injecting themselves into the freight industry are nothing new. The entry of credit card companies, though, is only a recent development.