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SME travel spending tops 2019 levels for American Express

Travel and entertainment (T&E) spending by SMEs using American Express corporate cards surpassed pre-Covid figures in the second quarter.

In a further sign that SMEs are leading the recovery in corporate travel, their overall spending reached 108 percent of the figure recorded in the second quarter of 2019.

There are also positive indications that spending by larger and global firms is increasing, although it remains well below pre-Covid numbers. Spending by larger firms reached 60 percent of 2019 levels in the second quarter, up from just 38 percent in the first three months of this year.

American Express Chief Financial Officer Jeff Campbell called the uptick “a sign of a more meaningful business travel recovery.”

“Based on the strength of future bookings, we don’t see demand for the T&E category slowing down significantly anytime soon,” added American Express CEO Stephen Squerry.

Total second-quarter spending on Amex corporate cards reached $153.1 billion in the April-June quarter, up from $135.7 billion in the first quarter and up 28 percent year over year.

T&E-related spending accounted for 26 percent of volume across all Amex cards worldwide in the second quarter, compared to 23 percent in the prior quarter. Airline-related spending comprised 6 percent of all Q2 volume, up from 5 percent in Q1

The number of corporate cards in circulation rose 11 percent year-on-year to 16.4 million.


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