“During the first quarter of this year, global Card Member Travel and Entertainment spending grew 121% from 2021,” writes Audrey Hendrey, president of American Express Travel, in Fortune. “In March, it hit pre-pandemic levels for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, propelled by a 56% year-on-year increase in Millennial and Gen-Z consumers’ total spending in the first quarter. March was also our busiest month ever, with a 61% uptick in bookings compared to pre-pandemic levels. In other words, our Card Members are logging more miles than they were before the pandemic.”
U.S. American Express Card Members ranked Miami in the top 10 destinations for global travel this summer, despite the fact that summer and fall are low season. (The top three: London, Paris ad New York.)
Airbnb, American Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines are also reporting strong demand for summer travel, especially to Europe. The TSA expects summer travel demand to approach or exceed 2019 levels.
While other surveys show Americans pulling back on travel spending, in part due to inflation, the bulk of the data shows pent-up travel demand—after two years of COVID-19 restrictions—outpacing concerns about costs. In fact, strong demand is actually helping to drive up travel costs, such as hotel rates and airfares.