American Express enters partnership with destination club

By Michelle Baran
American Express and luxury vacation club Inspirato have partnered to create Inspirato with American Express, a destination club with benefits for American Express cardholders.

The partnership marks Amex’s foray into the destination-club industry. As part of the deal, American Express has taken a "small" stake in Inspirato, said Ira Bahr, Inspirato's chief marketing officer.

Private equity-backed Inspirato was launched in 2011 as a luxury destination club based on the model of leasing and managing properties around the world. The company has attracted more than 3,000 members since it was founded.

It offers membership rates on private vacation homes, luxury hotels and adventure travel experiences in destinations that include Aspen, Colo.; St. Barts; Nantucket, Mass.; Sonoma, Calif.; Los Cabos, Mexico; the Maldives; Tuscany, Italy; Maui; and Provence, France.

The club offers members-only benefits and privileges, such as access to spas, golf clubs and children's clubs; discounted pricing with private air and luxury transportation services; and VIP event access.

Members also receive vacation-planning and on-site concierge services.

“Our club is specifically designed for people who want the spaciousness and privacy of a multimillion-dollar villa while on vacation but are not willing to sacrifice the five-star service received at the finest hotels,” Brent Handler, Inspirato co-founder and CEO, said in a release.

Bahr told Travel Weekly that the product is available for travel agents to sell, and that Inspirato would handle those relationships “on an agency-by-agency basis.”

Bahr noted that the majority of members are families looking for more space and intimacy than luxury hotel properties can provide. He said that Inspirato is looking to expand its customer base to couples and singles.

The company is also looking to grow its destination portfolio as well as its roster of private residences, he said.

Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtravelweekly. 
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