American Express reported "particularly strong"
travel and entertaining spending among all its customer types in the fourth
quarter, CFO Jeff Campbell said in an earnings call on Friday.
Total T&E spending on American Express products in the
fourth quarter was $25 billion, up 44 percent year over year and down 9 percent
compared with 2019. The total was about flat with the previous quarter and a
percentage point better in terms of recovery.
T&E spending by large U.S. and global corporate
customers was up 86 percent year over year but remained at two-thirds of
pre-pandemic levels in the quarter. T&E spending by small and midsized Amex
customers was up 30 percent year over year and 14 percent higher than levels in
the fourth quarter of 2019.
International customers' T&E spending on Amex products,
which includes consumer as well as business spending, totaled $21 billion in
the quarter, up 53 percent year over year and 7 percent above 2019 levels.
In terms of total T&E spending by category, only
spending on airlines was below 2019 levels in the fourth quarter, down 6
percent but up 67 percent year over year. Spending on lodging was up 35 percent
year over year and up 3 percent compared with 2019, and restaurant spending was
up 24 percent year over year and 37 percent compared with 2019.
"On a dollar basis, most of our spending categories
have fully recovered, so I would expect more stable growth rates this year,"
Campbell said, noting T&E would likely be an exception in the first quarter
due to the lingering impact of the omicron Covid-19 variant in the first
quarter of 2022.
Amex reported total revenues of $14.2 billion in
the fourth quarter, up 17 percent year over year, and both increased spending
and higher net interest income drove the growth. The company's net income for
the quarter was $1.6 billion, down from $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter of