This “Black Friday,” the traditional prime holiday shopping day, nearly half of rewards card holders are not planning to hit stores or online retailers according to the latest Capital One Rewards Barometer, a quarterly survey among American consumers that focuses on how they accumulate and redeem credit card rewards. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean holiday shopping budgets are down as more than half of rewards card holders’ (58 percent) budgets remain the same as last year and 14 percent are planning to spend more this year. Credit card rewards can help supplement these holiday budgets, yet only 18 percent are taking advantage of redeeming rewards for gifts.
More than one-third of respondents said the economy has changed how they use rewards, especially women with 23 percent reporting that they now use rewards to offset essential expenses like gas and groceries. Further, this holiday season, more women plan on spending less than the prior year in comparison to men (24 percent vs. 18 percent). Thinking ahead to post-holiday shopping bills, men and women are on the same page with one-quarter planning to use their cash rewards earned from holiday shopping as a credit on their statement to offset holiday expenses.
The hustle and bustle of holiday travel is the ideal time to take advantage of rewards, but more than a quarter of those who tried to redeem rewards for travel were unable to do so with blackout dates to blame. With 24 percent of respondents still undecided as to whether they’ll plan to travel this holiday season, these blackout dates as well as rewards restrictions may prevent their last minute travel. In fact, more than half would consider traveling during peak holiday periods (e.g. within 1-2 days of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years), if guaranteed to be able to use rewards for their trip. Interestingly, nearly 80 percent of respondents haven’t even tried to redeem for holiday travel this year, with many saying that they thought it was too much of a hassle (28 percent) or they didn’t have enough time to plan (29 percent).
Additional trends stemming from the Rewards Barometer this quarter include:
- Since 2011, the top three credit card rewards have been cash, gift cards and domestic airline tickets.
- Since the spring of 2012, 40 percent of rewards card holders consistently reported they prefer a simple rewards card offering the same rate across all purchases.
- Approximately one-third of consumers remain unaware if they are charged a fee or additional expenses when using rewards to book travel.
- Over the last year, approximately half of rewards card holders remain unaware that they may be charged foreign transaction fees for purchases made while traveling abroad.
- Capital One is also reminding cardholders that they can Book Now, Redeem Later. Customers can retroactively redeem rewards online and on your Smartphone within 90 days of your travel purchase with Purchase Eraser.
More about Purchase Eraser here:
Original document from The Wise Marketer.