Amex CFO: Cardholders Are Hoarding Points and Miles

American Express offers a plethora of travel-related credit cards. In addition to co-brand cards (e.g. Delta SkyMiles Card, Marriott Bonvoy card, etc.), the company portfolio has an impressive lineup of flexible currency cards (Platinum, Gold, etc).

However, what happens with travel “points” when travel is extremely limited?

INTERVIEW WITH THE CFO

This week during a virtual conference, American Express Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Campbell said that cardholders have been stockpiling their points and miles, according to Bloomberg.

“They’re not choosing to redeem them for online retail, which they could, they’re just stocking up the points to travel,” Campbell said.

Over the course of the pandemic, American Express has been adding supplementary perks to cards at a blistering pace – including additional points for purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and streaming services – to make them more relevant to customers. However, 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,” Campbell said.

FINAL STAMP

First, I’m glad to know that I’m not the only person stockpiling their points.

But personally, I don’t think people are hoarding points because they are planning to redeem them for a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list trip. In fact, experience has shown us that the overwhelming majority of cardmembers don’t understand how to use points for travel, let alone for online retail.

Additionally, redeeming points for online retail can be rather duplicative. For example, you can redeem points for items like iPads or expensive noise cancelling headphones. But how many pairs of headphones does one need?

I think people are seeking more “experiences” rather than “stuff” but when experiences are limited, and stuff is piling up in my house, what is the next step?

So how are you planning to redeem all the points you’ve been hoarding?

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2 comments

  1. I’m stock pilling mines. Learned so much this year thanks to your blog about saving money and using portals to shop to get more points. Did you know Amex offered 4x restaurants promotion but they have some kind of glitch and the extra points are not posting. I’ve called about it several times in the last few months and still no updates. Tbh it has kind of annoyed me and makes me not want to use my Amex Delta card but instead use my chase.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. @J.O. Much appreciated. And yes I was aware of the increased points. I wrote about it:

    https://1tattedpassport.com/2020/08/23/solid-deal-delta-offering-additional-bonus-on-credit-card-spend/

    But I had not heard of any glitches. That is annoying but I recommend just staying on top of it. The restaurant purchases / paper trail is on your account so there shouldn’t be any need for additional information. IME, the points have eventually posted even if I had to make a call or two.

    Like

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