Report reveals points and miles help make travel possible in the face of inflation and economic uncertainty.
The Barclays US Consumer Bank 2023 Travel Rewards and Loyalty Report, released today, explores how economic conditions and market trends have influenced consumer attitudes, sentiments, and behaviors related to travel, loyalty, and rewards programs.
Barclays partnered with independent market research company Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 US adult travelers* from May 19 to May 27, 2023.
The report highlights the value consumers place on travel rewards programs and co-branded credit cards with insights related to consumer preferences, gender and generational differences, as well as the role inflation has played in spending behaviors.
Over the next 12 months, nearly one in five (16%) plan to travel primarily for business, while 67% plan to travel mostly for personal trips.
Inflation Is the Primary Reason for People Putting off Travel
Travel costs continue to rise, including increased pricing for flights, lodging, ground transportation, and dining. Rising costs due to inflation is the top reason why travelers have been less likely to take trips over the past five years, surpassing concerns about health risks or cancellations.
Points Make it Possible – Getting the Most out of Loyalty and Rewards
For many loyalty and rewards program members, earning rewards outranks the cost of traveling. Nearly half of travelers in such programs (44%) prioritize earning rewards over finding the lowest costs when traveling, demonstrating the value that these travelers place on their loyalty programs.
"This new research indicates that three out of four people currently enrolled in a travel loyalty program couldn't imagine taking the trips they want without its benefits," said Doug Villone, Head of US Cards and Partnerships at Barclays US Consumer Bank. "By tracking the value of loyalty and rewards, this report uncovers how travelers are making key decisions about leisure and business travel."
Even beyond loyalty programs, many travelers are looking to get the most out of their credit card rewards. The majority use their credit cards to earn rewards frequently, with many (41%) using their credit card as a strategic way to maximize benefits.
"As a partner-first organization we create highly customized co-branded credit card programs for some of the country's most successful travel and retail brands," said Villone. "We focus on enhancing their loyalty programs by providing best-in-class experiences, rewards and benefits that help drive increased engagement with their customers."
Additional insights from the report include:
- Rewards Are Paramount for Millennials
For nearly three in four Millennials (74%), earning the most rewards is more important than getting the lowest price. And during times of economic uncertainty, Millennials are the generation most focused on cost-cutting through miles and points programs.
- Savings and Flexibility Are Valued During Economic Uncertainty
During times of economic uncertainty, travelers prioritize lower fees (52%), flexibility in redeeming miles and points (47%), and the ability to earn more miles and points (46%).
Travelers are looking for more ways to make trips possible. For those who consider travel essential, having a loyalty or rewards program with the dependability and flexibility to meet their needs is the way to keep travel viable going forward – even in the face of inflation and economic uncertainty.
Click here to read the full 2023 Barclays Travel Rewards and Loyalty Report.
*Travelers are defined as having traveled by air in the past 12 months, and likely to travel again in the next 12 months.