American Express and other card companies are seeing increased interest by Americans in travel and spending on entertainment. Allison Prang reports in The Wall Street Journal:
American Express Co. AXP +3.96% is seeing consumer spending start to normalize as Covid-19 vaccinations pick up in the U.S.
Spending in travel and entertainment categories rose 40% in March from February and bookings through American Express Travel jumped by 50% in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter, Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Campbell said in an interview Friday. Mr. Campbell said the number of people signing up for the company’s co-branded cards with Delta Air Lines Inc. rose 90% in the quarter compared with the fourth quarter.
Card companies took a hit over the past year as lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus led consumers to spend less on travel and entertainment.
Mr. Campbell said there is an inflection point around the improving economy and increase in vaccinations.
“People are finally able to exercise the pent-up demand for travel that we believed in the whole time,” he said.
Billed business, or the amount spent on its cards, rose 6% in the first quarter from a year earlier adjusted for currency fluctuations. That measure fell by half for the travel and entertainment category during the quarter, compared with a year earlier, but it rose in March compared with declines in January and February.
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