AmEx and Zynga Strike Pact

Forget taking free trips or going to great restaurants—why not use your credit card purchase to earn fake stuff?

Now you can, as the result of a new pact between American Express and Zynga. The credit card giant is the first company to allow its members to redeem Membership Rewards points, which are earned as the result of various purchases—to acquire limited edition virtual goods in Zynga’s popular social games.

Zynga has reportedly built a massive business—north of $500 million in revenue per some analysts—on selling virtual goods in its hugely popular games like FarmVille and FrontierVille. Now, American Express cardholders will be able to buy specialty items only available to them, such as windmills in FarmVille or stoves in Café World. American Express customers can also redeem rewards points for Zynga game cards, which are available in various stores.

“Our partnership with American Express marks the first time that virtual goods are available for purchase with rewards points and reinforces our commitment to offer consumers meaningful experiences that enhance their game play,” said Vishal Makhijani, Zynga’s svp of business operations.

The Zynga/AmEx partnership will expand over the coming weeks, said officials, including the release of 20 exclusive virtual goods planned for Dec. 6.