American Express Ends Print Editions of Departures and Centurion Magazines

American Express will no longer publish Departures or Centurion magazines in print. They are in-sourcing both publications which will be available online only. Meredith Corporation, which had been publishing for American Express, has “laid off most of the staff and halted publication of the seven-times-a-year print titles.”

According to American Express,

We regularly evolve our premium card offerings and have made the decision to transition the Departures and Centurion US magazine benefits to a new digital-first editorial platform.

The magazines used to be produced in-house by American Express Publishing, which was sold to Time in 2013 and then Meredith in 2018. The final print issue of Departures is May/June and the final Centurion Magazine is Spring/Summer.

These print publications lasted longer than many, since they were reaching a highly targeted affluent cardmember audience. However they’re not the only traveler-focused print magazines to make their final appearance coinciding with the pandemic. Delta’s Sky magazine was abruptly ended and staff laid off at the start of Covid-19.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I rarely even looked at it. Sorry for all those that lost their jobs, maybe it will keep them from raising the price of the card for a while.

  2. Looked it over once, was nonsense. Called to try and cancel, that didn’t seem to work. Straight to recycling after that.

  3. All ads and no substance. I read a short blurb on lounges once. It was borderline inaccurate.

  4. When departures was around in the 90’s, it was about travel. It had articles, and it was somewhat interesting. Today it seems to be a fashion guide to 20 something billionaires.
    Hopefully I can block the electronic copy too.

  5. Every now and then the summer travel edition would have some interesting content. Other than that, as others have said, just a lot of advertising. Departures wasn’t meant for cardholders as much as it was for advertisers. I felt valued to receive the magazine, but once opened, it was usually worthless.

  6. Praise the Lord. It took up a huge amount of space in my mail box and it always went straight to the recycle bin.

  7. I’m the contrarian here, but there were some travel articles I occasionally found helpful. I’ll miss it.

  8. I was surveyed about this around the time COVID started, and I said that I never read it because it was effectively just a fashion magazine that had zero relevance to me and my lifestyle.

    Apparently I wasn’t alone…

  9. I loved it. The issue is that Amex Plat is no longer a premium card, so the magazine doesn’t fit its users.

  10. Speaking as a former magazine editor & publisher myself, I’d say that Departures Magazine used to be really, really great, until its longtime editor Richard David Story (who had also excelled as Vogue features editor before that) left in 2017, after 17 years there. He died in March 2021.

    Under his editorship, the magazine had wonderful articles (with real content rather than being mere travel-spending glosses) and photography, including excellent long-form nonfiction. After he left, the magazine devolved essentially into short-form, front-matter-type shopping pieces telling you where to use your Amex card. Also–in my opinion–it seemed to be tilted more toward the female spender, with not a lot for men. Perhaps their demographic research found the greatest (spending) interest from female readers, and that’s how they aimed the magazine content. Of course, this may be the case for most high-end magazines.

    After Story left, I would flip through each issue with disappointment, find nothing interesting, and quickly toss it.

    It takes a lot of hard work to make a great magazine. After Story left, they just coasted.

    One further comment: I have just been on the Departures “magazine” website. It is attractively designed, with good graphics and an intuitive GUI. And as a website it is easier ( = cheaper) to update and add stuff to, rather than crafting a self-contained, linear series of pages like a traditional magazine. Even so, it would be nicer if the production team created a faux digital magazine in a pdf file. That would also increase pass-along readership, a concern for advertisers. But I doubt that will happen, since younger generations with the attention span of a turnip prefer to indulge their click-bait addiction.

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