American Express expands vacation rental platform to new destinations

American Express has recently announced the expansion of its luxury vacation home rental platform, Select Homes + Retreats, to new destinations and a wider audience. The pilot program, which was initially offered to a small group of consumer and Business Platinum Card members, has shown promising results and is now being opened up to more members.

The vacation home rental platform was first introduced in August, with a limited number of locations including beaches near San Diego, the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama, Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Vail in Colorado, Maui in Hawaii, and Park City in Utah. However, the platform has now expanded to include additional destinations such as Palm Springs in California and Charleston in South Carolina.

To be eligible for the program, American Express Platinum Card members receive emails and invitations signaling their eligibility. While the exact eligibility requirements are not clearly stated, it is likely that certain spending thresholds or membership statuses are considered.

One of the key benefits of booking through Select Homes + Retreats is the ability to earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on each getaway made using the Platinum Card. Furthermore, members can also choose to pay for their rental using points, offering flexibility and value for cardholders. It is worth noting that there is a two-night minimum for booking a stay, as indicated by sample bookings made on the website.

The Select Homes + Retreats website states that the program will continue to evolve and expand based on feedback and learnings from the initial roll-out. The company plans to add additional properties and locations in the coming months, providing even more options for luxury vacation rentals.

American Express is not the only company entering the luxury vacation home rental market. Marriott, Accor, Hyatt, and Mandarin Oriental all have their own platforms offering high-end vacation rentals. However, these platforms differ from Airbnb in that they only work with homes operated by professional vacation management companies like Vacasa or Island Escapes, rather than individual homeowners.

This trend reflects the growing demand for a variety of accommodation options among travelers. While these companies may not appeal to the couch-surfing crowd, they recognize the need to cater to existing customers who prefer a different kind of accommodation while still being able to earn and redeem points.

It is important to note that American Express’s Select Homes + Retreats platform is still relatively small compared to Airbnb, which boasts over 6 million listings. Airbnb appeals to a wide range of travelers, from those looking for a spare room to those seeking a luxury waterfront mansion. Despite the overlap, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky believes that there is room for both platforms, as Airbnb has enabled a new demographic of travelers to experience the world.

In conclusion, American Express’s expansion of its luxury vacation home rental platform, Select Homes + Retreats, demonstrates the company’s commitment to providing its members with unique and high-quality travel experiences. By partnering with professional vacation management companies, American Express offers a curated selection of luxury homes while allowing members to earn and redeem points. As the program continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how it competes in the increasingly crowded market of luxury vacation rentals.

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