American Express will end its travel representative network division at the end of this year, according to an email from Cruise Planners’ executive team to its travel advisors.
Cruise Planners (No. 23 on Travel Weekly’s 2021 Power List) confirmed the email was accurate and meant to inform advisors of the change ahead.
American Express did not immediately return a request for comment.
Related: American Express sheds some light on why it is shutting down rep network
The representative network division, Cruise Planners said, will end on Dec. 31. Cruise Planners has been an AmEx affiliate for 18 years.
“American Express has always been, first and foremost, a financial institution, with their primary business being a credit card transactions company, as most people know American Express to be,” Cruise Planners wrote. “But being a financial institution in today’s cyber world comes with many stringent regulatory guidelines, which frankly presents challenges with the Rep Networks continued relationship with them.”
Cruise Planners said its travel advisors will still have access to some benefits for clients with qualifying AmEx cards, like the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Cruise Privileges Plus.
Marketing and technology “for the most part” came from in-house, Cruise Planners said. Proprietary programs will continue, with the only change being the removal of AmEx’s logo from its assets.
“As this news just broke, we are sure you have many questions, as do we. … We will communicate more details as soon as we can, and can assure you we will leave no stone unturned,” Cruise Planners wrote.
The agency franchisor expects to share more with advisors in the next six to eight weeks.
“While we’ve always been very proud to be affiliated with American Express as part of their travel representative network, Cruise Planers has evolved into a powerhouse agency in the travel industry,” CEO and co-owner Michelle Fee said. “We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial partnership for the past 18 years but look forward to this next chapter of continued growth and exceptional sales.”
UPDATED: The report was updated on May 12 to include a comment from Cruise Planners’ executive Michelle Fee.