Uber and Starbucks lead the way, but Delta and American are ranked among the top five of most expensed North American brands

6 May, 2019

There's no arguing that Uber and Starbucks are mainstays of corporate travellers, but US majors Delta Air Lines and American Airlines also appeared in the most top expends brands in North America, according to research from SpendSmart.

The company's regular reports, which track T&E spending benchmarks in the US processed by Certify and which totalled USD3.3 billion in 2018, sees Uber and Starbucks ranked number one and number two in the study's highest rated brands and vendors by share of expense receipts. Amazon takes the third spot with Delta and American, taking the fourth and fifth spots.

Delta has touted its corporate revenue growth during the last year even as trade tensions and the general threat of economic uncertainty have hovered over the business climate. Its toppling corporate revenues grew by 8% year-on-year in 1Q2019, and in its most recent corporate travel survey, 90% of travel managers expected to maintain or increase their travel spend in the second quarter of this year.

"This is a record for our June quarter survey," Delta president Glen Hauenstein recently told analysts and investors.

The 1Q 2019 data from SpendSmart shows that the airlines have the highest average expense cost among the ten most expensed brands and a list that also includes Southwest Airlines in seventh and United Airlines in ninth. At USD446.73, Delta has the highest average expense cost among this group.

Together the four airlines hold a 12.43% share of the total expense market in North America, which is only slightly higher than Uber, that has a 12.04% share, according to SpendSmart more than three times its closest rival, Starbucks.

Uber's average expensed spend during the period was USD25.19, down slightly on the same period last year, but its share is growing significantly, up from 7.43% in 1Q 2017 and 10.07% in 1Q 2018. Amazon and Lyft are the only other top ten brands to see a growth in their share of expenses from 1Q 2017.

Breaking down the most expensed brands by category: Starbucks took the to spot for meals; Marriott for hotels; Delta for airlines; Uber for ride hailing; National for car rental; Bird for Scooters; and Grobhub for food delivery.

TABLE - Uber is by far the most expensed brand in North AmericaSource: Certify SpendSmart Quarterly Report