American Express announces SME travel spending is now exceeding pre-covid levels

Spending on travel and entertainment by UK SMEs using American Express corporate cards exceeded pre-Covid figures during the second quarter.

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

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

American Express’ chief financial officer Jeff Campbell called this uptick “a sign of a more meaningful business travel recovery”.

“We don’t see demand in the T&E categories declining significantly anytime soon, based on the strength of future bookings,” added American Express CEO Stephen Squeri.

Total second quarter spending on Amex corporate cards reached $153.1 billion in the April-June quarter, which was up from $135.7 billion in the first quarter and a 28 per cent increase year-on-year.

Travel and entertaining related spending during the second quarter made up 26 per cent of volume on all Amex cards worldwide, compared with 23 per cent in the previous quarter. Airline-related spending comprised 6 per cent of all Q2 volume, up from 5 per cent in Q1.

The number of corporate cards in circulation increased by 11 per cent year-on-year to 16.4 million.