American Express leads the way in travel expense management with launch of Corporate Travel Account

Published May 8th, 2008 - 08:11 GMT

Businesses in the Middle East will now be able to manage their travel expenses more efficiently and at reduced costs through Corporate Travel Account (CTA), an industry leading solution from American Express. This announcement was made today at the Arabian Travel Market, where American Express Middle East and Amex (Saudi Arabia) Limited, unveiled the new expense management solution for the first time in the region.

CTA is a cardless solution that will empower companies by providing greater transparency on their travel expenses, helping to streamline costs and identify important savings opportunities. CTA also removes the need for travel agencies to allocate funds for airline bookings, thereby significantly improving their cash flows. 

CTA is now available in Saudi Arabia through Amex (Saudi Arabia) Limited and is being developed for rollout across other Middle East and North African countries. 

“For most companies in the Middle East, travel and entertainment is often the third largest operating expense, of which air travel is the largest cost item. Meanwhile, travel agencies invest a great deal of money, time and resources in managing payment receivables. CTA has been launched as the ideal solution to overcome such challenges,” said Mark Turner, Regional Group Director for Commercial Cards for American Express Middle East and North Africa.

“As a virtual solution, CTA enables billing of air travel expenses through a centralised account lodged with travel agencies. This leads to greater speed and efficiency in processing the bookings of tickets. Descriptive billing statements provided by American Express to companies will provide enhanced data helping them to easily reconcile and allocate these expenses. The central billing service provided by American Express also removes the need for travellers to process numerous high cost air travel expense claims. In addition, detailed management information is a highly valued product benefit that will provide companies in the Middle East with the latest ‘next practice’ reporting capability.

“American Express is a global partner and supporter of the travel trade, this product is being launched at a time to support Middle East travel agencies as they transition to a new business model. In addition, the back-end cost of processing airline tickets booked through travel agents is managed by American Express. This means that travel agents are no longer required to allocate cash provisions for tickets booked through them. It also reduces time and manpower resources involved in the processing and follow up of payment receivables.” 

Turner added that air travel spend on American Express Corporate Cards issued in the Middle East grew 30% from 2006 to 2007. CTA is set to redefine and streamline the management of such expenses throughout the region, he said.

“CTA reflects our competitive edge in the payments industry and our commitment to businesses and the travel industry sector,” said Fahad Mubarak Al Guthami, Chief Operating Officer of Amex (Saudi Arabia) Limited. “As the largest payments market in the region and with many local and multinational companies based in the Kingdom, we are very pleased that CTA is being launched in Saudi Arabia.”

Al Guthami added that CTA is designed for corporations that spend over US$50,000 annually on air travel. The CTA number is issued in the name of the company and is equipped with enhanced processes for dispute handling and partial payment. The CTA’s highly descriptive monthly billing statement is enriched with supplementary data from the travel agent, such as invoice number, ticket number, departure date, full itinerary and client-specified data including cost-centre employee identification and project name.

Turner highlighted that this compelling financial management tool comes as a result of American Express’ unique business model. “Businesses will have greater confidence in knowing that their travel expenses are routed centrally through American Express. We are the single point of contact for issuing the CTA, managing the technology, risk and customer services.” 

About American Express:
American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network Services Company founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travellers Cheques, travel, financial planning, business services, insurance and international banking.

AMEX (Middle East) B.S.C. (c) - AEME established its presence in the Middle East in 1959 and set up its first office in Bahrain in 1979. In 1992, American Express became a joint venture company owned by Mawarid Investment Limited and American Express.

Operating in 18 markets in the Middle East and North Africa region, AEME issues dollar currency Credit and Charge Cards: Personal (Green), Gold, Platinum as well as Company and Corporate Cards. Since 2001, with the introduction of its first local currency Credit Card in the United Arab Emirates, AEME has been introducing a range of local currency Credit Cards across the region.
Amex (Saudi Arabia) Limited was established in 1999 as a joint venture company equally owned by Amex (Middle East) B.S.C (c) and the Saudi Investment Bank. The Saudi Investment Bank is a Saudi Arabian joint stock company established in 1976.
Amex (Saudi Arabia) owns and operates the American Express Card and Merchant business in Saudi Arabia issuing more than 12 different types of Charge and Credit Cards with both US dollar and local currency Cards: The American Express Card (Green), The Gold Card, The Platinum Card, The Centurion Card, and wide range of Credit Cards as well as The Business Card, and The Corporate Card.
American Express Cards are accepted at millions of locations in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.




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