After The WeWork Debacle, Has AMEX Partnered With Another Icarus In AWAY Luggage?

by joeheg

American Express has been trying to go outside the box with their partners. Last year they announced a partnership between the Platinum Business card with co-working space company WeWork, which might have been the shortest lived credit card benefit ever.

When AMEX relaunched the Green Card, one of the signup bonuses with the card was a $150 statement credit for purchases with AWAY.  I’m sure that I was not the only one who asked, “What the heck is AWAY?”

Away is a luggage company, but according to their website, they’re much more:

We live in an age of access. Anyone can go everywhere. The world is a shared place, and every trip is part of the exchange, no matter the destination. We believe in making connections: on the road, online, and in person. We value access over aspiration, and exploration over escape. For us, all time away is time well spent.

We also believe in leaving the world better than we found it, and we want to help make a difference through the things we make, the platform we have, and community we create. That’s why before we sold a single suitcase, we partnered with Peace Direct, a nonprofit building peace in areas of conflict around the world. If you’ve bought anything from Away, you’ve also contributed to their work. Because we’re all in this together.

Sounds great. You can buy luggage and be a part of a greater global vision.

However, according to an article on “The Verge,” working for AWAY isn’t just about trying to leave the world better than you found it.

In a post titled, “Emotional Baggage,” The Verge claims that while Away’s founders sold a vision of travel and inclusion, former employees say it masked a toxic work environment.

Starting a new company isn’t easy. It takes long hours from everyone involved to bring a vision to reality. The hardest thing is to not take advantage of those who buy into that vision. (Note from Sharon – You guys, y’all have NO IDEA. But holy crap, I KNOW for a FACT that truer words were never said!)

As the holidays approached, the team had to work around the clock to keep up with customer demand. In December, Caroline was wrapping up work at 1AM when she saw a Slack message from Pasanen. “Okay everyone! Take a photo with your computer in bed when you get home. Here’s mine!” She was sitting in bed wearing a face mask, still working.

It’s hard to trust the words of ex-employees, but I am hesitant to support a start-up that reportedly forced their employees to work on holidays and threatened to check up to make sure they were working when they should have been be off the clock.

Final Thoughts

Finding out AMEX’s new partner, AWAY, was a boutique luggage brand did nothing to make me want to have a relationship with them. Reading this article about how they are treating their employees is making me even less likely to make an order from them, even if AMEX is providing a statement credit.

Any guesses on the over/under on the length of the AMEX/AWAY relationship?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


DD December 6, 2019 - 9:30 am

I think you may the the only person who has never heard of Away luggage. It has been blogged about, advertised in magazines and on TV, seen in airports,….etc. For someone in the travel industry, your credibility has just taken a dive.
PS – I love my Away suitcases!

joeheg December 6, 2019 - 9:51 pm

I had never heard of them before the AMEX credit was announced. I’m not in the market for a new bag so even if I had seen a post about them, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Sorry to hear that my lack of knowledge of the current luggage trends has decreased my credibility when writing about any other topic.

Toys Samurai (@ToysSamurai) December 6, 2019 - 10:49 am

Another thing is, according to some reviews, their luggage does not last.

Mike Anderson December 6, 2019 - 4:01 pm

I think it’s a $100 credit, not $150, isn’t it?

joeheg December 6, 2019 - 10:01 pm

The public offer is $100. There are some links that offer up to a $150 AWAY credit.

Jackson Thomas December 6, 2019 - 9:21 pm

This is beyond ridiculous. What does AWAY’s employee situation and work environment have to do with a suitcase credit. All employees work voluntarily and consensually for wages they agree to. Amex offers the credit, I use it, case closed.

I had the $100 credit with 45K MR (which I received the day before my first statement date). I bought 2 mini suitcases as I’m not in the mood to pay $100 plus on top of the credit for a suitcase or $95 for a backpack I don’t want. The mini suitcases (for toiletries or whatever you want to store) are nice. I threw out the packaging which I wish I hadn’t done because people are paying 80% of the purchase price on eBay for them new. Credit posted within 2 days of purchase.

joeheg December 6, 2019 - 10:06 pm

Maybe I wouldn’t want to buy luggage from a company that treats its employees in such a manner. Because the AMEX credit is baked into the annual fee, I’m forced to support a company and purchase their products in order to get value from the card.


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