MIAMI -- Destinations, properties and incentives are the focus of a
new American Express program called Extraordinary Caribbean
The program is a cooperative marketing partnership launched in
conjunction with five wholesalers and 40 properties on 18 islands
as well as several more in Belize, Bermuda, Costa Rica and Panama,
according to Glenn Harris, head of marketing, Caribbean and Latin
America, at American Express Establishment Services.
The program, which carries a minimum-stay requirement of four or
more nights, is valid for booking and travel through Dec. 31,
Participating wholesalers are Air Jamaica Vacations, American
Airlines Vacations, Classic Custom Vacations, Gogo Worldwide
Vacations and Travel Impressions.
Harris said each hotel package includes a value-added incentive
feature "selected by the individual hotel with a retail value of
The incentives vary by resort and "represent a significant value
for clients," he said. Examples include a couples massage, a round
of golf, a sailing lesson or a dinner cruise, among others.
American Express cardholders who book by Dec. 31, 2002, receive
double Membership Rewards points.
Harris said the genesis of the program began during discussions
earlier this year with hoteliers and tourism officials in the
region, who voiced the need for a program to promote their
properties and destinations without incurring high expenses.
"Because this is a co-op program involving several components,
no one group had to bear high costs," Harris said.
Package prices are set by the wholesalers, and all programs must
be paid with an American Express credit card.
The high-end resorts in the Escapes program were selected by
American Express based upon cardholder feedback, research, ratings
and destination input, according to Harris.
"The one segment of travel that was the quickest to rebound
after Sept. 11 was the affluent travel market," he said. "We are
confident that this program will help propel that segment even
further along this winter and next year."
The resorts did not have to pay a fee to be part of the program.
Each resort will donate two five-night stays per year for use by
selected agents as client incentives.
The program's description, participating properties and
amenities are listed at www.extraordinarycaribbeanescapes.com. For more
information, call (800) AXP-3421.