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AmEx (AXP) Adds & Upgrades Platinum Card Benefits in Thailand

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American Express Company (AXP - Free Report) recently added benefits, effective from January 2022, to its Platinum Card in Thailand. As a result, AXP’s Card members can avail some exclusive restaurant and entertainment perks and earn reward points.

In addition to the newly introduced benefits, a number of existing benefits have undergone upgradation in a bid to better serve the Card members. Despite the launch of new benefits, the annual fee of the Platinum Card remains the same as before. The bundled benefits will return three-fold the yearly charge incurred on the card to the Card members.

The latest move is expected to boost American Express’ presence across Thailand. With the card-issuing business remaining an important source of revenues for American Express, initiatives to upgrade card offerings are expected to continue contributing to AXP’s top-line growth.

American Express operates a global proprietary card-issuing business through its Global Consumer Services Group (“GCSG”) and Global Commercial Services (“GCS) segments. AXP provides a diversified suite of card products, rewards and services to a wide consumer and commercial customer base globally.

The latest move seems to be a time opportune one as well since the global economy is well-poised to pose a turnaround. Increased consumer spending and resumption of business activities continue, which is likely to bolster travel, restaurants and entertainment categories. This will enable American Express to capitalize on advancements made in card products. Per the company's third-quarter 2021 earnings call, total worldwide travel and entertainment (“T&E”) spending is anticipated to recover to roughly 80% of 2019 levels in the fourth quarter of 2021. This is further good news for AXP, whose T&E business carries high profit margins.

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) integrated payments company has been focused on launching refreshed versions of its card offerings. In October 2021, American Express relaunched the Business Gold Rewards Card with added rewards and bonus features in a bid to aid Canadian small business owners. Meanwhile, AXP transformed its UK Business Gold Card in June 2021 to provide enhanced Membership Rewards and additional flexible benefits, savings and discounts. These efforts have bolstered the company’s product and services portfolio, and extended its global presence.

Similar to American Express, other companies boasting of well-performing card issuing businesses include Discover Financial Services (DFS - Free Report) and Synchrony Financial (SYF - Free Report) .

Discover Financial issues Discover-branded credit cards to individuals on the Discover Network through the company’s Digital Banking segment. DFS’s cardmembers utilize several card products devoid of any annual fee and earn rewards based on purchases. In the first nine months of 2021, card sales of Discover Financial improved 28.4% from the prior-year comparable period.

Synchrony Financial, via its Retail Card platform, offers private label credit cards, Dual Cards and general purpose co-branded credit cards. Robust contributions made by the platform’s product offerings provided a boost to interest and fees on loans, which contributed 99.7% to SYF’s interest income for the first nine months ended Sep 30, 2021. In August 2021, the banking unit of Synchrony Financial — Synchrony Bank issued the myWalgreens Credit Card program, featuring two industry-first retail health and wellness credit cards for Walgreens. Such initiatives reinforce the trust that companies have on SYF as a card issuer.

Shares of American Express have gained 37.1% in a year compared with the industry’s growth of 19.4%.

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

Shares of Discover Financial and Synchrony Financial have appreciated 32.2% and 41.5%, respectively, in a year.

A Stock to Consider

A better-ranked player in the finance space includes The Blackstone Group Inc. (BX - Free Report) , which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Headquartered in New York, Blackstone is a well-renowned investment firm with assets under management (“AUM”) of $730.7 billion as of Sep 30, 2021. A diversified product suite, revenue mix and superior position in the alternative investments space are likely to continue supporting AUM growth. The company’s scale, diversified business, sustained record of strong investment performance and sound client relationships position it well for growth in the days ahead.

BX’ bottom line for 2021 has witnessed five upward estimate revisions in the past 60 days and no movement in the opposite direction. During this time period, its earnings estimates have risen 15.1%. Blackstone beat earnings estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 23.74%.