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Press release from PR Newswire

Would You Cash In Credit Card Rewards for Extra Vacation Days?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Would You Cash In Credit Card Rewards for Extra Vacation Days?08:02 EDT Monday, May 21, 2012Capital One Rewards Barometer Reveals 45 Percent of Respondents Said Absolutely?if only it were an Option!MCLEAN, Va., May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With the summer travel season on the horizon, Americans are more savvy than ever about making the most of their rewards programs, according to the Capital One  (NYSE: COF) Rewards Barometer (www.capitalone.com), a quarterly survey among American consumers that focuses on how they accumulate and redeem credit card rewards. Fifty percent of respondents who plan to travel this summer will use credit card rewards to cover some of their summer vacation expenses, up from 42 percent compared to the Rewards Barometer results in 2011. Interestingly, nearly 19 percent were even willing to trade in as much as $200 worth of rewards for an extra vacation day if it were an option.Summer Rewards RedemptionWhen it comes to using rewards towards summer travel expenses, airfare tops the list (58 percent) of most popular redemption options followed by hotels (42 percent) and gas (18 percent). Sixty-seven percent of respondents are planning to travel this summer and a majority of summer travel budgets range from $500 - $2,000 (54 percent).  Eighteen percent of travelers plan to spend between $2,001 and $3,000 for a summer getaway. Surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of these travelers do not plan to go away on popular summer holiday weekends, including Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. "Two things people always want more of are time and money. In today's tough economic times, more consumers are using rewards to make the most of their summer vacation time and limiting the impact on their wallets," said Amy Lenander, Vice President of Rewards Programs at Capital One. "Flexible rewards programs that allow cardholders to redeem their rewards when and how they want can make that vacation dream an affordable reality. When choosing a new rewards program, consumers should consider both the value of rewards and the ease of using them." Travel and Mobile When traveling this summer, mobile devices can be a traveler's best friend from finding local hot spot coupons or using rewards for last minute travel deals. More than 30 percent of respondents who have a mobile device use it for on-site vacation research, such as restaurants, gas stations, coupons and deals. Meanwhile, 22 percent get ahead of the game by using their mobile device for pre-vacation research, and 14 percent book travel through their mobile device. For those who would like to redeem their rewards via a mobile rewards app, hotel (58 percent) and air travel (49 percent) were the top two options.  Unexpected Travel FeesWhen redeeming for travel rewards, some vacation-goers may be unpleasantly surprised, with nearly 2 in 5 consumers unsure if they are charged a fee or additional expense when booking travel. These fees can come in the form of surcharges such as fuel, booking fees or taxes, and vary across credit card rewards programs. Also, more than half of respondents are not aware if they may be charged international transaction fees, which can be as much as 3 percent, for purchases made while traveling abroad.Rewards TrendsAdditional trends stemming from the Rewards Barometer this quarter include:Since the launch of the Rewards Barometer in the spring of 2011, "its free money" remains the top motivation for consumers to earn and redeem rewards. Cash remains the top rewards redemption option at 41 percent followed by domestic airline tickets (29 percent) and gift cards (28 percent).  Redemption rates in the past three months are consistent with redemption rates this time last year, with an average of 44 percent redeeming in the prior three months. More than 90 percent of rewards card holders continue to be satisfied, very satisfied or completely satisfied with their rewards credit card. Rewards TipsCapital One offers the following tips for rewards card holders to save some money and make their summer vacations more satisfying: Redeem on the go. Find a rewards card that lets you redeem straight from your mobile device anytime, anywhere. (www.capitalone.com/mobile-banking/) Earn rewards on vacation. Rack up rewards for your next trip while you're on your current one! Use your rewards card to pay for your vacation expenses such as tickets, meals or local tours. Include all fees in your vacation budget. Avoid sticker shock post vacation by making sure you account for any extra fees charged when booking travel with rewards or foreign transaction fees for overseas travelers. Better yet, find a rewards credit card that doesn't charge these fees. (www.capitalone.com/rewards/)   Survey Methodology This BIGinsight survey was conducted from May 1-4, 2012 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 +/- 3.1%. BIGinsight delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, BIGinsight represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues. www.BIGinsight.com About Capital One  Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., and ING Bank, fsb, had $216.5 billion in deposits and $294.5 billion in total assets outstanding as of March 31, 2012. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One and ING Direct offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients through a variety of channels. 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.com SOURCE Capital One