Amex Discontinuing Departures Magazine & Website

Amex Discontinuing Departures Magazine & Website

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It’s the end of an era. As flagged by @ameeriklane, American Express will be discontinuing its lifestyle magazine, Departures…

Amex Departures is shutting down as of January 2024

Effective January 1, 2024, Departures will no longer be available. Card members will no longer have access to departures.com content or receive any Departures magazines.

For context, Departures is Amex’s lifestyle magazine, with a focus on luxury and travel. It’s intended specifically for those with the Amex Platinum and Amex Centurion products.

Departures has quite the interesting history, as it started all the way back in 1984. Up until 2013, the magazine was published by American Express Publishing. Then it was sold to Time Inc., along with Travel + Leisure. Then in 2017, Meredith Corporation purchased the magazine portfolio of Time Inc., including Departures. Throughout this time, a publishing agreement continued with American Express.

Then in March 2021, it was announced that Departures would no longer be a print publication, but rather would transition to a digital magazine. Furthermore, at the time, Amex brought publishing of the digital magazine in-house, as it ended its publishing agreement with Meredith Corporation.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this statement, but the New York Post (okay, so it’s probably not accurate) claims that Departures generated roughly $50 million per year in revenue at its peak.

Amex Departures has been published for almost 40 years

My thoughts on Departures being discontinued

I remember how much I’d love reading Departures Magazine as a teenager. Every time it arrived in the mail, I’d flip through every page, and dream of all the places I’d love to visit some day. Yes, the magazine felt like it was mostly ads, but it had lots of pretty pictures of beautiful destinations and luxury hotels, and it was an era where the internet wasn’t quite as popular of a resource for travel.

It’s interesting that Amex couldn’t find a way to make Departures work. After all, the customer base for Departures is large and quite affluent, so you’d think it would be easy to sell lucrative ads. However, I also see how this happened.

During the first year of the pandemic, we saw several travel print publications (including many inflight magazines) discontinued, as people wondered if travel would ever rebound. So I understand why the decision was made to go digital at that point. The issue is, once Departures went exclusively digital, it was competing directly with a lot more websites.

It’s one thing to flip through Departures Magazine when it’s sitting on your coffee table or kitchen counter. It’s a whole different thing to actually go to the Departures website, log-in with your account, and choose to read the stories there, rather than going to another travel site with a similar focus.

For what it’s worth, traffic data suggests that the departures.com site gets an average of somewhere around 250K page views per month. The “about” page of the Departures site lists nearly 50 people working at the company, so I can understand how it’s probably not a very profitable venture at this point.

Amex Departures transitioned online in 2021

Bottom line

After 40 years, Amex’s Departures publication will be ending. Until a few years ago, this was a magazine that Amex Platinum and Centurion card members were mailed. As of 2021, Departures transitioned to being online only. Unfortunately I think the concept lost most steam at that point, and now Amex is pulling the plug.

What do you make of Amex Departures being discontinued?

Conversations (56)
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  1. Kim D. Davis Guest

    I miss this magazine. Getting to view online is costly , and I think it should be included in my membership platinum card.

  2. Thomas Guest

    True, as a Centurion account cardholder, I see my benefits decline steadily each year. The difference between Black and Platinum is now minimal. Needless to say I am disapointed

  3. Erminia Guest

    AMEX Platinum has lost it's luster. The service, recommendations and concierge services have been severely compromised, departures, (which I have enjoyed ) is another takeaway..

  4. Andi Guest

    Sorry to see Departures go. Always looked forward to perusing through the pages & saving locations for my bucket list.
    A fond farewell & thanks to all the people who contributed throughout the years. Cheers!

  5. Dottie Guest

    A wonderful product! I'll miss it terribly. I'm not for this NEW world.

  6. Bob Guest

    I'm sad they're discontinuing it. Yes, it's basically an informercial but it was fun reading the weekly newsletter, seeing all the new products they recommend, though admittedly I rarely bought any of them. Also cool to see the photos of travel destinations around the world.

  7. Mary Lawrence Guest

    Departures magazine is the reason I strived to become an Amex Platinum Card Member. I wanted to be part of the segment of society who could access those fabulous deals in such amazing places. It took me a few years to move through the other Amex colors to reach that level and the time I spent with those publications was only rivaled by the subscription I had with Saveur from its inception until I adequately...

    Departures magazine is the reason I strived to become an Amex Platinum Card Member. I wanted to be part of the segment of society who could access those fabulous deals in such amazing places. It took me a few years to move through the other Amex colors to reach that level and the time I spent with those publications was only rivaled by the subscription I had with Saveur from its inception until I adequately perfected my culinary skills to where I thought I could leave it behind to become an occasional reader. That NEVER happened with Departures while it was in print. Once it went digital, I’m sorry to say I am among those subscribers who didn’t visit the website very often. I much preferred holding it in my hands while I absorbed the atmosphere it provided while I was reading it, marking the pages that beckoned my return to them and following through on the places it suggested I’d go to procure the things I hadn’t known I’d needed until I made them my own and they became my favorites.

    Departures was the ultimate world guide to the best hidden places and provided a fresh look at the places that were familiar.

    I know the medium of print is becoming increasingly less popular but holding something in your hand of such quality and value will never really go out of style. People should read more.

    If there’s ever a chance of resurrecting this publication, I’m already signing up to be a lifetime subscriber.

    Departures, thank you for all the places, events, and experiences you revealed to me. You will be missed.

  8. jhooverdmd Guest

    The online version was a resource, but unlike the print version, which I loved perusing each month (as I do all the travel magazines I receive), I infrequently visited the site unless I was "on a mission" seeking info. As such, this is not a great loss. But if the print magazine were to reappear, I'd be good with it!

  9. Patrick Murphy Guest

    I looked forward to every issue. Will really miss it.

  10. lisa c Guest

    I miss the print version terribly. Always enjoyed reading it - and for the most part, the ads were eye-candy. It's a big disappointment that they cannot figure out how to at least keep the online version rolling. I think I'm echoing someone's previously expressed opinion, but it's bad form to keep reducing card benefits (even relatively minor ones) while maintaining a hefty annual fee.

  11. BETSY BROWN Guest

    I would like to encourage Amex to rethink their strategy regarding the magazine with their loyal customers and employees in mind. I know money determines the fate and existence of most luxuries in our lives, so I don’t know what the financials would be for this suggestion. However, it would be fabulous and appreciated if the print version was resurrected with cost saving in mind. Pair back where possible and give it a fair trial run!

  12. Angela Bridges Guest

    I am very disappointed. As a Travel Agency owner, I always looked forward to the content and was able to use the information to curate travel itineraries for clients.

  13. Annette Daffron Guest

    This is truly sad news. I have enjoyed this perk immensely. Losing it is a blow. Those Platinum perks seem to be slowly being chipped away.

  14. Charity C. Guest

    I'm kinda sad about it, I hope they bring in some new perks. I feel like we're losing a lot and the gains are lacking. It almost seems as if they need to shed a few members so they're finding small ways to make space. 75k spend to bring visitors, no more audible credits, bye bye departures, and $195 for each authorized user?? Like give me a break.

  15. SW Glanton Guest

    I loved the print version of the magazine and started to google to see "where it was and why I wasn't getting it". Sad.

  16. Stephen Guest

    The visuals and writing became so drab and pretentious, no wonder Amex couldn't find advertisers anymore.

  17. Karen Guest

    DAMN!!!! Leave it online. I love reading this magazine. So informative. Wow. Sad I’m really lost for words.

  18. jill gocher Guest

    boo hoo! i wrote and photographed for so many airline magazines including departures! it was always so nice to flip thru them to find one or two articles that were worth looking at! its the end of a lovely era! not to mention all the comped travel

  19. Dee M. Guest

    I truly enjoyed reading Departure magazine to plan future trips and to become aware of new travel adventures. I agree with the other comment, another benefit being taken away from AMEX card holders.

  20. Kevin Guest

    I always enjoyed reading the mag, every issue, cover to cover. Unfortunately, another good thing that’s just disappearing. And another AMEX benefit going away. But I doubt they will drop their fees.

  21. Thomas Parks Guest

    Keep your political feelings out of your writing, The New York Post was the one to break the disputed but proven true Hunter Biden Laptop story. If your posts keep with your political beliefs, I hope that people will read other sites instead.

  22. jjmpdx Guest

    I loved that magazine. What a great cardholder benefit. Interesting content and it was beautifully published on quality paper. But I mourned it in 2021. I never read the digital version, so this news of its demise just elicits a sad shrug.

  23. danderism Guest

    I miss the print magazine. The website and useless emails not so much. How many times in a year can they tell us how to score first class upgrades by Dressing up, or what to take on the plane. Total drivel.

  24. BK Guest

    Departures pre-2021 was amazing. A really beautiful magazine with top-notch writers and photographers. It's a real shame, but not unexpected, considering the current environment for the magazine industry.

  25. Captain Freedom Guest

    Dr. Jennifer Melfi:
    That Departures magazine out there. Did you give any thought at all to someone else who might wanna read before you tore out the entire page?

    Tony Soprano:
    What?

    Dr. Jennifer Melfi:
    It's not the first time you've defaced my reading materials.

    Tony Soprano:
    You saw that, huh? People tear sh*t outta your magazines all the time, they're a mess. I try to read 'em.

  26. james Guest

    Good riddance.

    The only thing I did with it was to file it in the trash the moment it arrived.

  27. Mr. MR Guest

    Great! Saves me clicking the "unsubscribe" link. The digital mag got really boring.

  28. Jerry Diamond

    The magazine really isn't commiserate with the brand. At least not with the Platinum Card. The client base, and I'm including myself here, weren't the target for any or the articles or ads in Departures. Does Amex even consider itself a luxury brand anymore? The customer service you get from Amex Travel would indicate that they don't.

    1. Jake Guest

      Same here. I read and enjoyed the first few copies early-on as a Platinum, but it was clear the experiences and places being written about, as well as the ads, are often far beyond my socio-economic stature, so I stopped reading it. It's probably more appropriated for those holding Centurion, but I can't imagine there's enough of them to justify a magazine.

    2. TwoTonTony Guest

      Just got the latest edition in the mail yesterday. They changed to a matte finish and I feel like the magazine got better since coming back from digital only. Shame. The Tokyo edition a couple of months ago was incredible.

    3. guest Guest

      Wish Discover would get back to benefits like this or at least back to purchase protection, price protection, return protection and extended warranty. American Express can be so so on customer service but I have rarely heard Discover letting someone down on the customer service side.

  29. jetset Diamond

    Similar boat as others in that I actually read a decent number of Departures issues when it was a physical copy. Once it shifted online I completely stopped paying attention. They created a self-fulfilling prophecy here.

    1. Tara M Guest

      I received March and June physical copies in the mail - much better than digital.

  30. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

    I miss American Way. I liked the guest articles and the map of routes and terminals at the end.

  31. mark Guest

    I already miss the printed Departures. Never read it online. Sad and disappointing that printed publication stopped.

  32. 305 Guest

    Gonna miss Departures! Read tons of great stories in there while taking a you-know-what at my old job. The story in recent months about the small, hidden, locals-only restaurant in Rome was incredible

    Yet another Amex cut....

  33. tda1986 Diamond

    I was really expecting the comments to be a bunch of people saying, "No one cares." But perhaps I should've guessed the readers of a travel blog would be more likely than most to actually read Departures. For me, it was just one more piece of junk mail headed straight to the trash, just like Costco Connections.

  34. GEO Guest

    I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this statement, but the New York Post (okay, so it’s probably not accurate) claims......

    Not sure i understand this comment- The Post has been proven to be the most accurate paper around

    1. Julie Guest

      I was so bummed when the paper versions went away. Was so thrilled to get the special print last fall. Had my fingers crossed it would come back. I’ve tried to get into the digital version but was never as compelling. I agree Amex platinum card is sliding down hill. The lounge benefit is not that great anymore.

    2. Ernesto Guest

      I was wondering were that came from as well given the recent track record of other news outlets that compete with the NYP. The NYP was certainly right about Hunter Biden's forgotten laptop scoop (and not Russian disinformation), as even MSM outlets like WaPo and NYT have belatedly if not reluctantly admitted... The de-facto government influenced MSM/social media censorship of that story in October 2020 might have been one of the major factors that influenced...

      I was wondering were that came from as well given the recent track record of other news outlets that compete with the NYP. The NYP was certainly right about Hunter Biden's forgotten laptop scoop (and not Russian disinformation), as even MSM outlets like WaPo and NYT have belatedly if not reluctantly admitted... The de-facto government influenced MSM/social media censorship of that story in October 2020 might have been one of the major factors that influenced the presidential election and got us to where we are now.

    3. TMP Guest

      Sadly the comment touches upon the political sphere. I say sadly as you can no longer even read a travel blog without the blogger expressing his political view. That said, I do agree that the New York Post has been more accurate in its reporting than other leading publications such as the New York Times.

      Ben, think you need to issue a correction and keep politics out of your content.

  35. About Taste Guest

    When we moved into our first house there had been a rusted out Okeefe & Merritt range that measured 40 inches wide and deeper than a standard home oven. We could buy an oven or cabinets to normalize the space, but not both. We could not efficiently get it rehabed, although we found some options that would have been awesome. An article in Departures Magazine by David Rosengarten (an original period FoodTV host) on restaurant...

    When we moved into our first house there had been a rusted out Okeefe & Merritt range that measured 40 inches wide and deeper than a standard home oven. We could buy an oven or cabinets to normalize the space, but not both. We could not efficiently get it rehabed, although we found some options that would have been awesome. An article in Departures Magazine by David Rosengarten (an original period FoodTV host) on restaurant pro level ranges helped us find and feel comfortable purchasing a range from DCS (when they were made in Long Beach and few had heard of them). The article was terrific, and seemed to be significant as it was mentioned on chatboards where ovens were discussed. We kept the Okeefe in our garage until we found someone that would take it and restore it.

  36. NSS Guest

    I know it’s not massive but it is another card benefit going away. Added to the lounge restrictions, when does the annual fee go down? HAHAHA.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      On the one hand, the demise of Departures seems inevitable. I stopped reading when it went online only, as I always enjoyed thumbing through it.

      On the other hand, you're 100% correct that it's another card benefit going away. I didn't think of that at first, but you nailed it. Thanks for that.

  37. JetSetFly Guest

    What a shame. I’ve always enjoyed flipping through Departure. I used to keep them. I remember the days when Amex plat used to mean luxury. Now sadly it has dumbed down to becoming a coupon book where everyone under the sun gets approved. There is no longer any mystic of exclusivity. After carrying it for decades, I finally just cancelled it. I rather go eat in a restaurant than wait in line to get into...

    What a shame. I’ve always enjoyed flipping through Departure. I used to keep them. I remember the days when Amex plat used to mean luxury. Now sadly it has dumbed down to becoming a coupon book where everyone under the sun gets approved. There is no longer any mystic of exclusivity. After carrying it for decades, I finally just cancelled it. I rather go eat in a restaurant than wait in line to get into a Centurion lounge. The whole lounge experience is no longer luxurious. It feels more like kettle ranch cafeteria where everyone angling to get ok food while squeezing through hoards of people and hoping you don’t spill your drinks on some kids running by.

  38. Ivan X Gold

    At least we still get six (6) Delta lounge visits per year. Next stop; $999 annual fee, but you get a $100 credit towards affluent-oriented supermarkets in Manhattan.

    Actually, I’m just being snarky, but I won’t miss Departures at all and was happy when it went paperless, it promoted a gross culture and felt like a waste of trees, at least for me. On the other hand, it did reinforce the card’s branding.

    Does Luxury card still publish their magazine?

  39. Pat Guest

    I would hardly ever read the magazine, but it was a monthly treat that reminded me that I had a Platinum Card. It would make for a good coffee table book.

    Once it went digital, the writing was on the wall.

  40. Tara Miller Guest

    They returned to print recently - I received June 2023 and March 2023 issues mailed to my home. I enjoyed Departures and will be sad to no longer receive it.

  41. Robin Guest

    I find it pathetic on AmEx's part. Another "departure" from luxury and the pursuit of excellence as they continue in the direction of couponing and WalMart.

    It's equally sad that, as you correctly point out, Lucky, many "weren't sure if travel would ever rebound".

    Only a fool wholly ignorant of history would make such a statement. When the phrase "in these unprecedented times" was a daily occurrence, I wanted to scream. Pandemics have happened throughout...

    I find it pathetic on AmEx's part. Another "departure" from luxury and the pursuit of excellence as they continue in the direction of couponing and WalMart.

    It's equally sad that, as you correctly point out, Lucky, many "weren't sure if travel would ever rebound".

    Only a fool wholly ignorant of history would make such a statement. When the phrase "in these unprecedented times" was a daily occurrence, I wanted to scream. Pandemics have happened throughout human history, and OF COURSE things would return to normal again. They always will, no matter what.

    There are so many stupid people, and they're taking over every sector of society because they scream the loudest. It's a shame, but it's what we've let happen in the name of "being nice".

    1. Ivan X Gold

      I wish we could all be smart like you.

    2. T. Magee Guest

      Well thank heavens you’re here to rescue us from the social scourge of “being nice!”

    3. tda1986 Diamond

      Wait--your complaint with society is that it lets things happen "in the name of 'being nice'"? You must be a truly miserable human being if you think society is being too nice.

      Also, you complain of "fools ignorant of history," yet apparently have no comprehension of the major ways in which past pandemics have altered the course of human history? Things didn't just "go back to normal," whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

NSS Guest

I know it’s not massive but it is another card benefit going away. Added to the lounge restrictions, when does the annual fee go down? HAHAHA.

3
Ivan X Gold

I wish we could all be smart like you.

3
james Guest

Good riddance. The only thing I did with it was to file it in the trash the moment it arrived.

2
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