Attitudes about remote work and the need for business travel have fundamentally changed since before the pandemic. iSeatz’s new “State of Loyalty: 2022 Credit Card Rewards Report” charts how industry leaders can meet new consumer expectations around rewards, offers, and benefits.
Despite accelerating inflation, consumer spending is rebounding across all travel categories, though it’s not simply a return to the status quo. Two years adjusting to pandemic lockdowns and restrictions caused a fundamental, and likely permanent, reorientation of consumer expectations, especially with regard to remote work and the need for business travel.
To help industry leaders understand how credit card issuers are delivering against these expectations, iSeatz’s report benchmarks travel and lifestyle reward redemption opportunities and outlines the key trends at the heart of flexible and diverse engagement strategies.
“Travel continues to be a popular reward for credit card loyalty members, now more than ever,” said Kenneth Purcell, CEO and founder at iSeatz. “But as we’ve seen from the past two years, it’s critical to be able to engage customers with both aspirational and practical rewards. There are many new, innovative reward products that issuers can incorporate into their redemption portfolios that will satisfy fluctuating consumer behaviors while still providing the inspiration and engagement that many cardholders value most from their reward programs.”
Among the U.S. travelers surveyed in Skift Research’s recently launched report, “Sustainability and Remote Work Shaping the Future of Travel: A Consumer Perspective,” the percentage of those expecting to “travel less for work when the pandemic is over” was higher than the percentage of those expecting to travel more. Travelers in the younger age bracket (18-24) are the most likely to believe that business travel will contract post-Covid, with 47 percent expecting to travel less compared to 15 percent expecting to travel more.
As demand for leisure travel rises and traditional business travel recedes, credit card rewards programs are shifting accordingly. Credit card issuers are expanding the ways consumers can earn points and rewards for lifestyle products, though there’s still room for growth — and opportunity — when it comes to redemption for the same products.
Business travelers who once used points for upgrades and lounge access are now traveling with their families and working remotely for longer spans of time, blurring the lines between business and leisure travel. Today’s consumer is gravitating toward cards with flexible, more personalized offers that provide discounts on vacation rentals and lifestyle products like grocery delivery, gas, and media streaming services.
“Loyalty members who redeem rewards are more engaged and more likely to increase their lifetime value,” Purcell said. “Getting them engaged early with smaller, more attainable rewards, in addition to inspiring them to save for larger travel redemptions, provides long-term benefits to the issuer.”
In this report, you’ll also find:
- A detailed comparison of travel and lifestyle reward redemption opportunities from major credit card issuers
- An overview of the state of the Buy Now Pay Later market, including expected growth, major players, consumer groups and companies driving the trend, and the strategies of leading credit card issuers
- Three reasons why pay with points is a win-win for both issuers and consumers
- An analysis of how emerging trends such as digital wallets and cryptocurrency rewards are evolving to meet the needs of today’s consumer
- Advice on future-proofing travel and lifestyle reward strategies
Download the report to learn more.
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