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American Express Travel pilots Select Homes + Retreats

US: American Express Travel is piloting a new vacation rental program, Select Homes + Retreats, to complement the brand’s existing Fine Hotels + Resorts and Hotel Collection program offerings.

According to Travel Weekly, the pilot program is currently only available to a small group of consumer and small business Platinum Card members, and offers premium accommodations in a range of desirable destination markets across the United States, including: San Diego, California; Vail and Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Colorado; Orlando and the Florida Panhandle, Florida; Maui; Park City, Utah; and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

American Express Travel is working in partnership with several vacation rental management companies to provide its supply. Its partners currently include the likes of Vacasa, Moving Mountains, Island Escapes, Casiola Vacation Homes, Bluewater, Panhandle Getaways, Maui Paradise Properties and East West Hospitality Group.

More partnerships are expected to be announced in the future as and when the program is rolled out further.

While the American Express Travel portal already enables AmEx card holders to earn extra points when booking flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and other reservations, its Fine Hotels + Resorts program [Amex FHR for short] is a collection of more than 1,300 high-end and independent hotels around the world. The program is accessible for holders of Amex Platinum, Business Platinum and Centurion-branded American Express cards and offers elite status-level hotel benefits such as free breakfasts, room upgrades, complimentary wifi, late checkouts and extra credits.

Meanwhile, American Express Travel’s Hotel Collection connects Gold Card members with a host of benefits at more than 700+ upscale hotels worldwide. Benefits include experience credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities, and room upgrades upon arrival, where eligible.

While American Express first established a travel division as far back as 1915, after its founding in 1850, more and more financial services are venturing into the segment as a way to provide added incentives and benefits to their card holders and increase loyalty.

Last August, it was announced that JP Morgan Chase was putting together a full-service travel business, which could make it the third largest travel agent in the world.

Expedia Group has struck partnerships with the likes of Mastercard, American Express, JP Morgan Chase, TD Bank and the American Association of Retired Persons [AARP], while Hopper has collaborated with Capital One to provide access to flight inventory and its suite of fintech products.

The topic is set to come up in a session about payments at the inaugural STRz Summit in London on Wednesday 18 October, when representatives from Stripe and Planet will discuss ‘The future of travel payment solutions’.

See the full event agenda here and book your tickets now at this link.