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Travel Agents

 December 09, 2004
American Express To Provide Travel Agents With A Choice

 American Express Consumer Travel Network (CTN) today announced that it will give independent travel agents a choice in how they pay for usage of CTN's proprietary travel programs for Platinum Card and Centurion Card members -- including Fine Hotels & Resorts (FH&R), Cruise Privileges and Platinum Destinations Vacations and Centurion Destinations Vacations -- through its Agency Services Desk.

Beginning in the second quarter 2005, agents will be able to select either an annual usage fee or a per transaction fee when they book the American Express travel program benefits for American Express Card members. Independent agents will continue to earn 100% of the travel commissions on these bookings, as well as full credit with suppliers for the sales.

"We talked to a number of travel agents and determined it made sense to offer independent agents who book FH&R, Cruise Privileges and Platinum and Centurion Destinations Vacations a choice in how they pay for the ability to access these programs," said Audrey Hendley, Marketing Vice President for CTN. "By adding flexibility, our aim is to make sure any travel agent who wants to offer these benefits to their customers can do so."

The new model updates CTN's plan to implement an annual fee to help defray the cost of making the travel benefits available to independent agents. In order to put the necessary systems in place, implementation will now occur in the second quarter of 2005. Until then, CTN will continue to fund the cost of making these programs available for booking through independent travel agents. As before, the American Express International Airline Program will not be subject to this fee.

The American Express travel benefits are relevant primarily to agents who focus on the upscale travel market. As such, only a small percentage of independent agents utilize these benefits.

For more than a century, American Express has partnered with travel agents and industry associations to help build a strong travel and tourism industry. The Company helps promote travel on a global basis through its active sponsorship of industry associations, including the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the Association of Travel Marketing Executives (ATME), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Interactive Travel Services Association (ITSA), The Travel Institute, Travel Business Roundtable (TBR), Travel Industry Association of American (TIA) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).