Many Americans expect to use credit card rewards for travel in 2022: survey

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Credit card users are ready to start using their rewards points for travel in 2022, according to a recent survey. (iStock)

Over the past two years, many Americans have accumulated a stash of unused credit card points amid travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now credit card users are ready to cash out those rewards, according to a new Forbes Advisor Survey.

Credit cardholders participating in a travel rewards program can earn points through their transactions and use them to cover expenses such as car rentals, airline tickets, luggage or other reservations and travel purchases. Some of these cards have annual fees, but many waive foreign transaction fees. Credit card issuers typically grant cardholders their travel benefits in the form of statement credit after the card has been used for eligible purchases.

The survey indicates that about 88% of Americans are planning a trip in 2022 and 50% are planning at least two trips this year. And many of these travelers expect to put their reward miles to good use. Twenty-five percent of travelers said they expected to redeem their points to pay for their trip, and 36% said they would pay for two trips with the rewards. Another 12% said they would pay for three or more trips using their rewards.

If you want to explore options for a new travel rewards credit card to help cover your travel expenses and earn rewards for your next vacation, you can visit Credible to find the card that’s right for you.

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Americans reveal their stock of available miles

Most respondents said they had a reserve of miles and points at their disposal. Fifteen percent said they had at least 20,000 points, which could be enough for a free return flight or hotel stay, according to the survey. And 46% of respondents said they saved even more than that.

The survey indicates that this accumulation is partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with around 49% of respondents saying that they had not used their points because the pandemic had affected their travel hopes or plans. But many other Americans said they didn’t use their points because their value didn’t seem worth it.

If you’ve used a credit card during the pandemic and have an outstanding balance, you might consider taking out a personal loan to pay off high-interest debt. Visit Credible to compare multiple lenders at once and choose the one with the best interest rate for you.

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Many credit card users did not understand the value of their points

The survey also revealed that many consumers do not understand the value of their credit card points. While most cash-back credit card programs value their points at around one to two cents each, only 12% of consumers estimated the correct value of their points. However, 18% said they thought their points were worth around three cents each and 42% of respondents thought their points were worth 20 cents or more, according to the survey. And more than a quarter of credit card users (27%) said they didn’t know the value of their points at all.

But users were more accurate when it came to estimating how much of a trip their airline miles would earn them, according to the survey. Many have acknowledged that airlines advertising 100,000 miles would likely pay for two round-trip domestic flights.

If you want to compare cards to find one with travel or other cash back or bonus points benefits, you can visit Credible to compare multiple cards at once and find the best option for you.

Do you have a financial question, but you don’t know who to contact? Email the Credible Money Expert at [email protected] and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.

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