According to American Express CEO Steve Squeri, Americans are increasingly using their credit cards as Covid-19 health restrictions ease and travel demand resumes.
The payments company, known for its namesake credit card, reports a near-complete recovery in domestic travel bookings after Covid lockdowns stymied the industry.
“When we look at our travel numbers, our May travel bookings were 95 percent of what they were in May of 2019,” Squeri said on “Mad Money” with Jim Cramer.
“We also believe that by the end of the year in the United States, we will have a full consumer recovery from a travel standpoint, and overall by the end of the year, I think globally we’ll probably be around 80% of where we were in 2019,” he added.
On Friday, the Transportation Security Administration screened 2.03 million passengers at airports, the first time in 15 months that more than 2 million passengers passed through checkpoints in a single day.
Still, according to the agency, that’s only 74% of travel volumes on the same day in 2019.
According to Squeri, American Express is also seeing a rebound in restaurant spending, with May dining expenses totaling 85 percent of May 2019 levels.
“The people who are really spending a lot in restaurants [are] millennials — 130 percent of what they spent in April of last year,” he added. “We believe that this will continue to progress.”
American Express delinquencies are at their lowest levels in years, and personal savings have more than doubled, according to Squeri.
“When you look at the economy in the United States right now, I think it’s really starting to come back,” he said. “Credit numbers are not what anyone expected them to be.”