American Express to end travel agency affiliate program : Travel Weekly

ByRochelle W. Stone

May 11, 2022

American Express will end its travel rep network division at the end of this year, according to an email from Cruise Planners’ management team to its travel advisors.

Cruise Planners (No. 23 on Travel Weekly’s 2021 power list) confirmed the email was accurate and intended to notify planners of the upcoming change.

American Express did not immediately return a request for comment.

Related: American Express explains why it is closing its network of representatives

The representative network split, Cruise Planners said, will end Dec. 31. Cruise Planners has been an AmEx affiliate for 18 years.

“American Express has always been, first and foremost, a financial institution, with its core business being a credit card transaction company, as most people know,” Cruise Planners wrote. “But being a financial institution in today’s cyber world comes with a lot of stringent regulatory guidelines, which frankly presents challenges with Rep Networks’ ongoing relationship with them.”

Cruise Planners said its travel advisors will still have access to certain benefits for customers with eligible AmEx cards, such as the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Cruise Privileges Plus.

Marketing and technology “for the most part” came from in-house, Cruise Planners said. Proprietary programs will continue, with the only change being the removal of the AmEx logo from its assets.

“As this news has just been announced, we are sure you have many questions, as do we. … We will communicate more details as soon as possible and can assure you that we will leave no stone unturned,” Cruise Planners wrote. .

The agency franchisor plans to share more with advisors over the next six to eight weeks.

“While we have always been very proud to be affiliated with American Express as part of their network of travel representatives, Cruise Planers has become a powerful agency in the travel industry,” said CEO and Co-Owner Michelle Fee. . “We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial partnership for 18 years, but we look forward to this next chapter of continued growth and exceptional sales.”

UPDATE: The report was updated on May 12 to include a comment from Cruise Planners director Michelle Fee.