41% of Millennial Travel Credit Cardholders Closed Their Card Due to Pandemic

Consumers are generally traveling less frequently thanks to the pandemic, which is affecting how people use (or don’t use) their travel rewards credit cards.

With 46% of consumers carrying a travel rewards credit card, many are thinking about what will happen to their points and miles since there are no travel plans for the foreseeable future.

Based on some of the results in ValuePenguin’s recent survey of credit card users, it appears that people are rethinking their credit card habits.

Key findings:

  • A rush to close cards: More than 4 in 10 millennial travel rewards cardholders say they’ve closed a card since the pandemic began, while another 34% of millennials have considered doing the same. When it comes to travel rewards cards, 30% of respondents overall have closed one.
  • Cashing out while they can: More than half of those who were laid off or furloughed (and 4 in 10 travel rewards credit cardholders overall) — have cashed out some of their points or miles due to the pandemic’s impact on their ability to travel. Another 23% say they have researched options to cash out, but haven’t done so yet.
  • Expiration worries abound: Nearly 6 in 10 are worried about their perks or points expiring, while 45% fear they’ll lose their rewards if the airline, hotel or provider goes bankrupt. Millennials are the most worried cohort, with 72% and 54%, respectively, expressing these concerns.
  • The battle for points and miles refunds is on: As unfair as it sounds, 28% of Americans who booked a trip using travel rewards and had to cancel due to the coronavirus were not able to get their points or miles refunded back to their account.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that many people are closing travel cards right now,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree, ValuePenguin’s parent company.

“Many Americans are simply trying to keep food on the table, and hoarding travel miles and points just doesn’t make any sense for a lot of people at this time.”

ValuePenguin commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,243 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded July 10-13, 2020.

For more information, visit www.valuepenguin.com

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