AmEx customers are sitting on a pile of points.
Customers of American Express Co.’s travel-related co-brand cards, as well as the firm’s Platinum, Gold and other proprietary cards, have been stockpiling their points and miles during the pandemic, according to Chief Financial Officer Jeff Campbell. That means the rewards are likely to be used eventually for big vacations, he said.
“They’re not choosing to redeem them for online retail, which they could,” Campbell said at a virtual conference Tuesday. “They’re just stocking up the points to travel.”
AmEx added temporary perks to some of its most popular cards -- including the US$550-a-year Platinum card -- to make them more relevant to customers stuck at home during the Covid-19 crisis. The new rewards can be used on purchases popular during the pandemic, such as streaming services.
Those perks have helped the company keep a lid on attrition, with about three-quarters of U.S. Platinum cardholders having used some portion of the new benefits, Campbell said. Still, the company isn’t moving away from its longtime focus on travel.
“We’d be crazy to dramatically pivot the whole company because of what we view as a fairly temporary change in the way people are going to spend,” said Campbell, who was at American Airlines Group Inc. during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “The human urge to travel -- to gather, to explore -- is insatiable.”