Overall American Express has done well after the recession, as upscale shoppers have spent freely. That's because Amex cardholders are in general about a third more affluent than other credit card holders.
Through the first nine months of 2012, revenue grew 5 percent, while net income rose 3 percent.
Spending by cardholders jumped 8 percent in the fourth quarter, despite some softening early in the period due to Superstorm Sandy, the company said.
Chenault noted that, since the recession, American Express has been consistently gaining market share.
Despite that success, he said the company must embrace new technologies, become more efficient and position itself to invest in growth opportunities in a marketplace that's increasingly becoming defined by consumers' use of the Internet and mobile technology.
To that end, American Express' restructuring plan calls for overhauling its travel business to cut costs and invest in ways to cater to a growing volume of customers turning to online and automated tools to make their travel arrangements.
"One outcome of this ongoing shift to online is that we can serve a growing customer base with lower staffing levels," Chenault said during a call with analysts.
The company also will reconfigure its cardholder servicing and collections operations to focus more on online and mobile, rather than telephone and mail.
"The overall restructuring program will put us in a better position as we seek to deliver strong results for shareholders and to maintain marketing and promotion investments at about 9 percent of revenues," Chenault said.