Chase to launch a new travel portal, expand travel business — here’s what we know

Jun 1, 2022

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According to Chase, $1 out of every $4 of leisure travel is charged to one of its credit cards. However, only a “small percentage” of that travel was actually booked through Chase. To that end, the credit card giant accurately ascertains that its “assets were not differentiated.”

To capitalize on that massive volume of travel purchased by its cardholders, Chase just announced the creation of ChaseTravel.com, a new stand-alone consumer travel portal, coming later this year. This announcement was made at the company’s 2022 annual Investor Day, as first reported by Skift.

Here’s why Chase is going deeper into the travel booking business — and what this will mean for Chase customers.

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Chase has been moving toward this for a while

Chase expects to have $8 billion in travel sales volume by the end of the year and is hoping to nearly double that to $15 billion by 2025. That’s no small amount of money and something that Chase is clearly hoping to capitalize on as travel rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic.

Right now, the company estimates that it’s a top-five travel provider. Its impending move to expand Chase Travel to be a leading travel booking platform shows that it has ambitions to move even higher in the ranks.

This announcement isn’t too out of left field, as Chase made two key travel-related acquisitions during the coronavirus pandemic: CxLoyalty and Frosch.

CxLoyalty is a technology company that provides travel booking, gift card sales and other transactions to loyalty programs, and currently runs the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Meanwhile, Frosch is a leading travel agency that specializes in the corporate and luxury travel segments.

A new Chase Travel could help Chase catch the competition

Growth and innovation are important for Chase’s travel efforts, especially as competitors like American Express and Capital One continue to make their travel offerings more robust.

Chase shares that this product “will deliver distinctive content and experiences and become a full-service travel agency to our small business and premium leisure travelers,” according to Marianne Lake, the co-chief executive officer of consumer and community banking at JPMorgan Chase.

As an example of the catching up and differentiation that Chase has to do to really compete in this area, Capital One’s new travel portal will monitor flight prices and let you know when it expects the cost of airfare to go down. Likewise, the program will actually refund you the difference if it tells you to book a flight and the price later drops. This is a hallmark feature of the Capital One portal and one that the TPG staff has used on a number of occasions.

Capital One also made a handful of travel acquisitions, including Freebird, a travel insurance company, and Lola, a travel management company.

Likewise, Amex Travel has a slew of features offered to premium cardholders. For example, travelers with The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express can take advantage of discounted premium-cabin airfare with the International Airline Program and hotel perks with Fine Hotels + Resorts. The catch is that you must book through Amex Travel to take advantage of these benefits.

What could ChaseTravel.com offer consumers?

Details are still sparse, but we can make a couple of assumptions about Chase Travel based on Chase’s current offerings, recent acquisitions and competitor analysis.

First off, Chase Travel is likely to focus on high-end luxury travel. In its Investor Day presentation, the bank specifically stated emerging affluent and high-net-worth individuals as key focus areas when expanding its reach.

Chase Presentation slide
(Screenshot from Chase)

Chase currently runs the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, which offers exclusive perks when staying at select luxury hotels to Chase credit card holders. But right now, you cannot redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points on LHRC hotel stays, and they must be booked using a separate portal.

With a renewed focus on Chase Travel and the luxury travel segment, I think we’re likely to see LHRC integrate directly with the Chase Travel booking portal. This is similar to how Fine Hotels + Resorts is baked into Amex Travel. Likewise, the bank could use its Frosch acquisition to provide curated luxury experiences and trip planning in its portal.

Chase Presentation slide
(Screenshot from Chase)

We’re also likely to see Chase add travel content to Chase Travel. This is in large part due to the bank’s recent acquisition of The Infatuation, a major dining publication. The bank could leverage this acquisition to create travel guides and upsell Chase Dining reservations throughout the Chase Travel booking process.

It would also not be surprising if Chase completely reworked the airfare booking process to keep up with the competition. This could mean adding similar price tracking and protection features and adding optional cancel-for-any-reason coverage, similar to what we see with the newly revamped Capital One Travel portal.

When Chase Travel does launch, it will first open to Chase credit card holders, and later open up to Chase’s other banking customers.

Bottom line

We now know that Chase is planning to launch a new Chase Travel by the end of the year. The details of this launch are still forthcoming, but the bank seems set on massively expanding its travel business over the next few years. It’s a big business for the bank and one that will help it diversify away from traditional banking activities.

TPG has reached out to Chase for comment and more details. As always, we’ll keep you updated when we know more about the program.

Featured photo by Jon Hicks/Getty Images.

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