American Express is discontinuing its franchise agency model at the end of the year because of a changing travel booking environment.
In a statement to TMR on Friday, an Amex spokesperson confirmed the news, sayings that the company was grateful for the collaboration throughout the years. Still, because of a shift in consumer behavior, it had decided to move in a different direction.
“We’re grateful to our Representative Network agencies for their collaboration and support of our Card Members over the years. The travel environment has changed and so has the way our customers book travel with us, so we’re moving away from a franchise model and discontinuing the US Travel Network at the end of the year,” the spokesperson said.
The model gave agencies with the Amex affiliation benefits when dealing with their clients and with some suppliers, including the ability to pay with points and other cardmember perks like membership in Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts Program, another membership benefits program, and more.
Cruise Planners, the only travel franchise with an American Express Travel Affiliation, told TMR on Friday that its relationship with Amex was ending, but reiterated its commitment to its members.
“We’re grateful for the wonderful partnership we’ve shared with American Express for the past 18 years. Change is inevitable but one thing I can assure you that will remain constant is Cruise Planners’ commitment to delivering the best marketing, training, and technology tools for our network of advisors,” Michelle Fee, CEO, and Founder, Cruise Planners, said.