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American Express Launches Installment Pay Feature for Flights

By Eric Volkman - May 14, 2021 at 9:52PM

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Cardholders can choose the option when making bookings through AmexTravel.com.

American Express (AXP -0.27%), obviously eager to exploit two growing trends, has launched an installment plan under which its credit card holders can pay for flights. Those "members," as AmEx calls them, now have the option of utilizing the company's Plan It installment plan feature when paying for airline tickets.

Plan It for flights is an option at checkout in the company's proprietary AmexTravel.com cardholder portal.

A man with a smartphone in an airport.

Image source: Getty Images.

Before long, AmEx cardholders will be able to pay for hotel stays the same way; the company said this will be rolled out later this year. It did not provide a more precise timetable.

The move comes as travel bookings on the website soared 50% on a quarter-over-quarter basis in the company's first quarter. That momentum looks set to continue, with the coronavirus pandemic receding, vaccinations rising, and mask-wearing guidance being relaxed. This, combined with broader consumer adaptation of at-the-point-of-sale installment payment plans, makes for good timing for AmEx's Plan It expansion into the travel sphere.

"Plan It has become a popular tool for many of our Card Members – particularly among Millennials and Gen[eration] Z," the company quoted its vice president of U.S. consumer lending Shikha Narula as saying.

AmEx, which was once renowned among voyagers for the ease of use and availability of its travelers checks, has always had a sharp focus on that corner of the economy. The company's Q1 results were pulled down by a sharp year-over-year decline in travel spending.

AmEx is predicting a full recovery by next year. According to research conducted by the company, 69% of consumers aim to book a trip at the moment since prices remain relatively low -- at least for now. 

American Express is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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