The two obvious trends in local deals lately is public offerings, by Groupon and LivingSocial, and the rising competition from web giants like Google and Facebook. But American Express stands a chance to be the next major player to watch in this field. The credit card company is 162 years old. But you wouldn’t know it by the way it’s been throwing itself into social media and activating local deals and discounts through emerging social channels. With its Smart Offers API, a platform that allows third-party deal services to build upon its payment system, it’s been able to partner with Foursquare, SCVNGR and, most recently, Facebook to offer local deals to its members. American Express has some 90 million card members worldwide, and its service is a simple and elegant way to offer a very robust and personalized deal service. While it only works for existing card members, it will have lot of reach with businesses. Altogether, if AmEx can execute, it could show many of the new deal companies how commerce, loyalty and offers are really done. Get the full story at GigaOM