Eight-in-ten reward travellers are frustrated by having to book flights
months in advance
TORONTO, May 31, 2011 /CNW/ - Most Canadians opt for travel when using
rewards points, with 57 per cent redeeming for flight options, well ahead of merchandise (30 per cent) and gift
cards (27 per cent), according to an RBC poll of Canadian travel
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 for
financial rewards vouchers to use towards their mortgage, lines of credit, RRSP, TFSA and
"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,"
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 vacation.
Judek offers five tips that travellers can use to maximize their rewards credit card:
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
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.
For further information:
Cyndi Maisonneuve, RBC Corporate Communications, 416-974-1757
Matt Gierasimczuk, RBC Corporate Communications, 416-974-2124