February 3, 2023

Americans are increasingly drawing on their credit lines as Covid-19 health restrictions wear off and travel demand spikes again, American Express CEO Steve Squeri told CNBC on Monday.

The payment company, known for its credit card of the same name, reports that domestic travel bookings have recovered almost completely after the industry was paralyzed by Covid bans.

“If we look at our travel numbers, our travel bookings in May were 95% of those in May 2019,” Squeri told Mad Money in an interview with Jim Cramer.

“We also believe we will have a full consumer recovery from a travel perspective by the end of the year in the US, and overall I think we will likely be around 80% of what we were globally by the end of 2019” , he added.

The Transportation Security Administration screened 2.03 million people at airports on Friday, the first time in 15 months that more than 2 million passengers had passed checkpoints in a single day.

Nevertheless, according to the agency, that’s only 74% of the travel volume on the same day in 2019.

American Express is also seeing a rebound in restaurant spending, Squeri said, with food spending totaling 85% in May 2019 levels.

“The people who really spend a lot in restaurants [are] Millennials – 130% of what they spent in April 2019, “he added.” We believe this will continue to move. “

American Express defaults are at their lowest level in years and personal savings have doubled, Squeri said.

“If you look at the US economy right now, I think it’s really coming back,” he said. “Loan numbers are not what anyone thought they would be.”