The Hidden Costs Behind Holiday Travel

Capital One Canada unveils tips to save on unexpected day-of-travel costs this holiday season

TORONTO, Dec. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Holiday budgets are set, flights are booked, and bags are soon to be packed, but many Canadians may have forgotten to include a number of day-of-travel costs in their holiday travel spend plans. Known for its analytical expertise, Capital One Canada looked at consumer spending trends to help Canadians plan better for all expenses so that holidays don't get spoiled by unexpected travel costs.

Capital One's analysis found that people who use their credit card en route to their flight had the following average spend on the day they travelled:

  1. Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport - $70
  2. Calgary International Airport - $58
  3. Toronto Pearson International Airport - $57
  4. Vancouver International Airport - $48

Taking a deeper look at the travel-related data of consumers who spend on their credit card during their day-of-travel, the highest average transaction costs across the country tend to be duty-free purchases at $85, taxis/limos ($48), and airline fees ($39); costs that can add up when travelling with family and friends. With proper planning, many of these costs can be avoided entirely, and consumers may not realize that some of these costs can be covered by redeeming travel reward points.

"We recently made some exciting changes to our popular line of Capital One Aspire Travel rewards cards, to make redeeming rewards easier than ever," said Brent Reynolds, Vice President of Marketing and Analytics, Capital One Canada. "Cardholders can now take advantage of partial reward redemption, which means they can use reward miles as they earn them. For example, in cases where cardholders don't have enough reward miles to cover the full cost of a trip, the new version of the Aspire card allows them to redeem for part of it, helping them save over the holiday season."   

Capital One Canada offers a few additional tips to help Canadians cut down on common day-of-travel expenses, including:

  • Baggage Fees – Day-of-travel baggage fees tend to be higher than pre-purchased options - so plan ahead and use travel reward miles to cover fees and taxes where possible. If you're travelling with family or a group, consider putting all of your liquids into one checked bag to split the cost. If you are taking gifts to your destination, plan ahead and ship them ahead of time to cut down on bag size and weight.
  • Taxi & Limo – It's easy to run out of time during the holidays, meaning you have to take a taxi or limo to the airport. However, you can cut down on costs by packing lightly and leaving yourself ample time to take public transit to the airport. If a taxi is a must, consider using travel reward miles to cut down on spending.
  • Duty Free – By far the highest average transaction cost nationally, duty free can be a budget-breaker. Avoid killing time in the shop unless you have a specific purchase in mind and it is something you would purchase even if you were not travelling.

"If a holiday trip is not planned this year, Canadians can use their reward miles to offset other holiday costs," said Reynolds. "Aspire cardholders have the ability to redeem reward miles for gift cards to various retailers to use as stocking stuffers or for cash to help pay for holiday bills."

Over the last three years, cash redemptions have been an average of 38 per cent higher in January than the rest of the year. When it comes to purchasing gift cards with reward miles before the holidays, apparel gift cards have seen a spike this year, up from the number six position in 2014 to the top position in 2015. Food and Beverage cards remain in second place, while electronics gift cards have dropped from first place in 2014 to third place this year.

To learn more about Capital One and its Aspire Travel suite of MasterCard products, visit or follow @CapitalOneCA on Twitter.

About Capital One
With offices in Toronto and Montreal, Capital One has offered Canadian consumers a range of competitive MasterCard credit cards since 1996, and now includes the Aspire suite of rewards cards which are regularly cited by leading rewards experts for the great value they offer consumers.  Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) is an authorized foreign bank branch of Capital One Bank (USA), N.A, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF). Capital One believes in empowering Canadians to take control of their finances through programs and resources like Understanding-Credit.caCredit Education Week Canada, and the Capital One Financial Education Challenge.

SOURCE Capital One Canada

For further information: Media Contact: Andrew Clarke, Capital One, 416‑549‑2930,

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