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One-Third Of Vacationers Don’t Have A Rewards Credit Card, Discover Survey Finds

[Thursday, June 7th, 2018]

If you’re planning a vacation in the near future, there are a few things you’re probably thinking about: where to go, how to get there, where to stay while you’re there, and what kind of activities you’ll do. But there’s one thing many people are forgetting to plan for, and it could be costing them. What is this forgotten to-do list item?

Using a rewards credit card to pay for the trip and earn free miles, points, and upgrades that can make the vacation even more fun.

A recent survey by Discover card found that 30 percent of people planning a trip don’t have a rewards credit card at all. And even of those who do, 26 percent don’t redeem their rewards for vacation-related expenses. This means they are missing out on chances to stay at a hotel for free or at a reduced cost, get a free airline ticket, upgrade their hotel reservation, or enjoy luxury VIP perks on the road.

Breaking it down by generations

When they looked at different demographics, the folks at Discover found that this problem persists across all age groups. Although Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation – the oldest groups surveyed – preferred to use a credit card to pay for things on vacation, they weren’t any better about redeeming rewards than younger people, who more often use cash to cover expenses. Sixty percent of Baby Boomers and 68 percent of the Silent Generation favor using credit cards on vacation, while 35 percent of Generation Z says they use cash when they have the choice.

Overall, 46 percent of vacationers prefer to use a credit card, 25 percent reach for their debit card, 24 percent prefer cash, and 3 percent use a check or a traveler’s check.

Emina Dautovic, senior marketing manager at Discover, said consumers shouldn’t underestimate the usefulness of a rewards credit card. “This survey shows that there is no one-size-fits-all vacation regardless of your age or preference for travel. Wherever your travel takes you, there’s an opportunity to earn rewards on travel-related and everyday purchases by using a travel credit card.”

She emphasized that credit card rewards can be used on airfare, hotels, gas, and groceries. “The rewards you earn can be put toward the cost of your next vacation.”

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