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Press release from PR Newswire

More Americans Plan on Using Credit Card Rewards This Summer to Offset Rising Travel Costs

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Americans Plan on Using Credit Card Rewards This Summer to Offset Rising Travel Costs08:00 EDT Thursday, June 23, 2011Capital One Rewards Barometer reveals hotel and gas among top reward redemption choicesMCLEAN, Va., June 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE: COF) today released the findings of its quarterly Capital One Rewards Barometer,* which surveys how consumers accumulate and redeem credit card rewards. Given the current economic climate, high value credit card rewards are becoming even more critical as consumers plan their summer getaways. While about a third used their credit card rewards for summer travel last year, more than 40 percent plan to use their rewards for travel this summer.  Redemption TrendsThe survey reveals that 62 percent of respondents are not planning a "staycation" as an alternative to a summer trip this year. For those who would use credit card rewards to supplement their summer vacation, the most popular redemption choices were hotels (55 percent), air travel (48 percent) and gas (42 percent). "Pain at the pump" resulting from soaring fuel prices is another factor affecting summer travel, with 48 percent of survey respondents reporting that gas costs will influence their summer travel plans. Rewards Satisfaction TrendsIn the past three months, 43 percent of respondents redeemed rewards, yet only 24 percent of consumers are completely satisfied with their current program. Blackout dates (26 percent) and inability to book a last minute trip (24 percent) continue to be the main barriers preventing consumers who wanted to redeem rewards for travel but couldn't. "Free money" continues to be the number one motivation for consumers to earn and use credit card rewards (61 percent). Many consumers (33 percent) also note that they appreciate the everyday savings provided by rewards programs. Hidden Fees AwarenessGiven summer is the peak international travel season, it's no surprise that more than one-third of respondents (36 percent) indicate they would use rewards for a summer vacation outside of the United States, with Rome being the top international destination.** While credit card rewards can offset the costs of an overseas getaway, nearly 60 percent of respondents are unsure as to whether they would be charged foreign transaction fees on their credit card purchases that could drive up their vacation costs between 2-3 percent. Only 19 percent of consumers report that they are not charged this fee. Additionally, other fees raising vacation costs such as fuel surcharges (12 percent) and baggage fees (10 percent) have prevented respondents from successfully redeeming rewards for travel. "Planning a summer vacation can be stressful given today's economic conditions. With soaring gas prices and increasing airline fares, consumers are seeking greater value from their credit card rewards to maximize their benefits, " said Troy Jamison, Vice President of Loyalty Services at Capital One. "A key to easing the stress of the financial impact of summer travel is to use a rewards card that fits one's lifestyle offering simple and flexible means to earn and redeem those rewards on their own terms."  Capital One offers the following tips for travelers on how they can use their rewards to save some money and make their summer vacations more satisfying: Follow your travel habits: If your travel patterns - such as hotel or airline - vary from trip to trip, a credit card that is not linked with a specific brand may be an optimal choice.Don't let your vacation expire: Rewards programs differ, so read the fine print to make sure you redeem for your vacation before you lose those hard earned rewards.Account for extra fees: Additional charges such as fuel surcharges, baggage fees and foreign transaction fees can add up, so take those costs into consideration when budgeting. Also investigate whether your credit card rewards program allows you to use rewards to cover these costs.For more information about Capital One rewards visit, www.capitalone.com* Survey conducted among U.S. Adults 18+ who indicated that they currently have a credit card with a rewards program that is issued by a bank or credit card company** Air Transport Association, May 16, 2011, 26.3 million international travelers forecast for June ? August, topping  last summer's record of 25.8 million by 1.9 percent Survey Methodology This BIGresearch® survey was conducted from May 31-June 8, 2011 among U.S. Adults 18+ who indicated that they currently have a "rewards credit card" ? that is, a credit card with a rewards program that is issued by a bank or credit card company. The total sample size for this survey was N=1,045, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%. BIGresearch® consumer intelligence provides answers for the marketplace around demand, media influence, predictive applications, and new thinking. Users include some of the largest manufacturers, retailers, Wall Street firms, hedge funds, and leading edge companies across the U.S. and Internationally. BIGresearch® consumer insights are gathered online using very large sample sizes to empower users with unique insights.About Capital OneCapital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A. and Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., had $125.4 billion in deposits and $199.3 billion in total assets outstanding as of March 31, 2011. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Capital One, N.A. has approximately 1,000 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 100 index. Capital One is committed to driving industry leading rewards by consistently engaging its customers with rich rewards, perks and benefits. The No Hassle Rewards® program from Capital One offers easy ways to earn rewards and a flexible suite of redemption options including travel, cash back, merchandise, gift cards, experiential rewards and more. With No Hassle Rewards, there's no limit to the amount of rewards a customer can earn and rewards don't expire.Contact: Sukhi Sahni703.720.2390sukhi.sahni@capitalone.comSOURCE Capital One Financial Corporation