Up in the Air: RBC
Travel Rewards poll finds twice as many Canadians choose
flights over any other reward option
Eight-in-ten reward travellers are frustrated by having
to book flights months in advance
TORONTO, May 31, 2011 Most Canadians
opt for travel when using rewards points, with 57 per cent
for flight options, well ahead of merchandise (30 per cent)
and gift cards (27 per cent), according to an RBC
poll of Canadian travel rewards cardholders.
Still, using points to book travel is not always an easy
experience. Many reward travellers say they have faced obstacles
when trying to travel on reward points, with 81 per cent expressing
frustration at having to book months in advance. Among those
booking a flight, 40 per cent have been unable to book the
flight or dates desired and almost one-third (29 percent)
had to fly on an alternate date or were forced to choose an
indirect flight (31 per cent). All travel rewards cardholders
(99 per cent) say it is important that points don't expire.
"Canadians are looking for flexibility and choice when
it comes to travel. It should be no different when booking
with rewards points," said Anna Judek, senior manager
of Card Products, RBC. "The key is choosing a rewards
credit card that allows you to treat yourself to a wide range
of experiences that mean the most to you - whether it's a
day at the spa, a weekend trip or an extended getaway."
Exactly half of survey respondents (50 per cent) are saving
up their rewards points for a big item such as a flight or
a new television. Almost one-quarter (24 per cent) prefer
to use their rewards for mini-vacations once a year and 18
per cent regularly reward themselves to smaller items such
as gift cards and movie tickets. The poll found that many
respondents (62 per cent) would like the option to redeem
rewards vouchers to use towards their mortgage, lines
of credit, RRSP, TFSA and RESP.
"Canadians fall into two types of point collectors;
those who save for a long period of time to purchase a big-ticket
item or family vacation and those who redeem points for small
scale items or shorter trips," added Judek.
Among activities they would like to try on their next vacation,
Canadian reward travellers list boat tours (44 per cent) and
a visit to a winery (39 per cent) as the most popular choices.
One-in-three (33 per cent) opt for a massage or spa appointment
and 26 per cent are interested in snorkeling on their next
Judek offers five tips that travellers can use to maximize
- Stick to one program - Make sure to focus on one or two
reward programs you really believe in and align your spending
accordingly. Focusing on just one program will allow you
to collect points faster while consolidating your expenses
into one monthly statement.
- Be flexible - Look at reward programs that offer choice
and cater to your lifestyle without restrictions or surprises.
Check the fine print to ensure your points can be redeemed
on any airline, with no seating restrictions, blackout periods
or points expiry. Also look for reward options that offer
a range of choices to suit your lifestyle including gift
cards, merchandise and financial rewards vouchers, which
can be used towards RRSPs, TFSAs or to pay down your mortgage
or line of credit.
- Look for deals - Take advantage of bonus offers and promotions
to make sure that you're getting the most value out of your
rewards credit card. Special enrolment offers and seasonal
airline partnerships can give you bonus points on top of
what you normally collect.
- Make it automatic - Paying monthly expenses such as insurance
premiums, fitness memberships and utility bills with your
rewards credit card can help you automatically rack up points
and simplify your finances. You can also sign up for automated
payments, which pay a set amount on your credit card so
you don't have to remember every month.
- Check the extras - Many reward credit cards offer additional
travel benefits such as extra insurance for flight delays,
medical emergencies and baggage loss.
About the RBC Travel Rewards Survey
The online survey of 2,086 premium travel reward card holders
was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel. All respondents
held a credit card with an annual fee of at least $50 that
rewarded use with travel points or miles. Data were collected
on April 15 to 26, 2011. An unweighted probability sample
of this size, with 100 per cent response rate, would have
an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage
points, 19 times out of 20.
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For more information:
RBC Corporate Communications, 416-974-1757
RBC Corporate Communications, 416-974-2124