Home Travel Surprise (Not)! People Want Travel Credit Cards For Travel Benefits, Not Other Perks

Surprise (Not)! People Want Travel Credit Cards For Travel Benefits, Not Other Perks

by joeheg

Have you ever looked at the results of a survey and thought, “Did they really need to do a survey about that?”

Sometimes the topic is so innocuous that the results don’t make any difference, like asking, “What’s your favorite type of doughnut?” But there are other times where the answers seem obvious, but the survey takers wanted to confirm what everybody already knew. That’s how I feel about the recent travel survey from YouGov taken for Forbes Advisor.

In the survey, they asked several questions about travel credit cards. The answers were not surprising.

People Don’t Pick Travel Credit Cards For Lifestyle Benefits

Credits like the ones for Peloton from the Chase Sapphire cards or the money back for eating at Shake Shack from the Amex Gold card aren’t important to people. Less than half of the respondents said these perks have a large or moderate impact and 22% said benefits like these have no impact at all when deciding whether to get a new travel credit card.

During The Pandemic, People Like Options To Redeem Points

With people traveling less for work and leisure, they’re redeeming fewer points. Seeing balances grow and no way to use those points, 42% of the respondents have used points for non-travel redemptions. Many of these uses are new, like Chase’s Pay Yourself Back. It will be interesting to see if the banks keep these options available when things get more back to normal.

Devaluations Matter

Devaluations are the main risk when using any card that earns travel points but you’re most vulnerable when using a co-brand card that earns points in a single program. 8 in 10 of the respondents say the choice about which travel card to get is impacted when programs increase the number of points needed for a certain redemption. After devaluations, customers are more likely to change cards in search of better rewards.

Housekeeping Cuts May Become Permanent

Do people get what they want or do they get what they deserve? Sometimes it’s a combination of both. For instance, at the beginning of the pandemic, hotels did away with housekeeping services. The explanation was that this practice would keep both guests and employees safe because less contact with other people was seen as a positive.

More than 18 months later, we know that having someone clean your room isn’t a considerable risk, particularly if you’re vaccinated. However, hotels have been slow to bring back housekeeping services, not for safety but for staffing reasons (even if they’re still using the safety excuse).

It turns out that people don’t seem to care that much about reduced housekeeping services, with only 30% of respondents saying that this would impact their decision to stay at a hotel. I’d bet if they dug a bit deeper, it would depend on the type of hotel. I’d want to get housekeeping if I was away for a luxury holiday but if I’m going tubing on the river for the weekend, all I need is clean towels and empty trash cans.

Final Thoughts

I wasn’t surprised by the survey results, as it’s what people have been saying over the past year. Some of them were no-brainers, like people hating devaluations. I was happy that so many people were switching cards after programs made redemptions more expensive.

Like those surveyed, we didn’t miss having full housekeeping. We just wanted to know ahead of time what services to expect.

And finally, people want travel cards to be travel cards, not lifestyle cards. If you want to add benefits, make sure they’re travel-related. People will use the lifestyle benefits because they’re there, but no one signs up for a travel credit card because of a discounted gym membership.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

Cover image by Andreas Breitling from Pixabay

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