New York City shops reward American Express purchases

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NEW YORK -- This summer, it will pay for clients to shop in the city with their American Express cards.

More than 40 high-end retailers will offer discounts of up to 20% and free gifts with purchases made with the card during July and August.

Dubbed "New York City, Where the World Comes to Shop," the promotion is designed to boost tourism and to drive customers into shops whose summertime business drops as locals go on vacation.

The participating retailers are located on Madison Avenue and in SoHo, two of the city's shopping hot spots. In addition to using the American Express card, shoppers must present a copy of the "little black map" to get their discounts and gifts.

The maps -- there is one for participating Madison Avenue shops and another for shops in SoHo -- will be available at the concierge desks of about 18 high-end hotels in the Madison Avenue area and at the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau's information center at 810 Seventh Ave., at 53rd Street. Participating hotels include the Waldorf Towers, the Four Seasons, the Carlyle, the Mark, the Peninsula, the Plaza Athenee and the W New York.

The visitors bureau, in conjunction with American Express and Continental Airlines, will produce a total of 60,000 maps, including 10,000 that will be mailed to select American Express cardholders in the New York metropolitan area.

The promotion will be advertised in the New York Times and in Departures and Where magazines. For information about participating hotels and merchants, call the visitors bureau at (800) NYC-VISIT or (212) 397-8222. Information about the promotion also is available on the bureau's Web site at www.nycvisit.com.

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