Third-quarter spending volume on American Express corporate cards totaled $126.1 billion, up from $119.9 billion in the second quarter and up 28 percent year over year, the payment company reported Friday.
Average third-quarter spending per Amex’s Global Commercial Services division cardholder also increased to $8,447 from $8,180 in the second quarter and $6,776 in the third quarter of 2020, according to American Express. The number of corporate cards in force increased 4 percent year over to year to 15.1 million.
Travel and entertainment-related spending during the third quarter made up 21 percent of volume on all Amex cards worldwide, up from 18 percent the prior quarter. Airline-related spending comprised 3 percent of all third-quarter volume, holding steady from the second quarter.
Recovery hasn’t been consistent across the American Express corporate customer base, executives reported during a Friday earnings call. Vice chairman and CFO Jeffrey Campbell pointed out that total third-quarter billed business by small and midsize enterprises increased 11 percent from the third quarter of 2019. By contrast, spending by Amex’s large and global clients fell 43 percent during the same period.
“Large and global corporate card spending, which historically has been primarily for travel and entertainment, continued to show fewer signs of recovery,” Campbell said. “We’ve said all along that we expect this will be the last customer type to see travel recover.”
Campbell added that the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19 affected air travel spending. “The pace of recovery slowed a bit in August, but it has strengthened again in September and into early October,” he said. “The trends we have seen reinforce our view that travel and entertainment spending will eventually fully recover, but at varying paces across customer types and geographies.”
American Express Q2 earnings