Credit Card Consumers Want Better Rewards Programs

November 5, 2015, Written By John H. Oldshue

Only one in four credit cardholders are completely satisfied with their primary card’s rewards program, according to the fifth annual Rewards Barometer Study by Capital One. This is a fairly significant decline from 30% a year ago.

Nearly 96% of of the 1,000 cardholders are somewhat satisfied with their credit card rewards program, but most feel there is room for improvement. In fact, 40% of cardholders said they would consider switching their primary rewards card if they could earn better rewards for every dollar spent.

Cardholders report they are looking for ease of use and have some fairly simple suggestions for issuers.

Ease of Use

Most consumers are aware that reading the fine print is important when choosing a rewards card. While cash back cards sound simple, 75% of cardholders realize there are limitations on the rewards. Examples reported were:

  • 42% of cardholders said cash can only be redeemed when they reached a certain balance, such as $25 or $50.
  • 34% reported that certain spending categories offer higher cash back rates, but these rates change throughout the year.
  • 32% of consumers said the higher cash back rates were in categories where they didn’t spend a lot of money.

Cardholders also want to travel this holiday season without jumping through a number of hoops. According to the survey, 35% of travel rewards cardholders reported frustrating limitations on their rewards. Many have needed more points or miles than initially expected to book a specific flight or hotel.

Some Simple Solutions

Respondents reported wanting to see upgrades, such as:

  • Being able to earn the same rewards on everything they buy (60%)
  • Eliminating confusing reward requirements, such as sign-up points, special categories and spending thresholds (43%)
  • Not having limits on the amount of rewards they can earn (30%)

One in four respondents want to be able to redeem their cash back rewards at any time and for any amount of money. An additional 19% said it was important to know exactly how much cash back they are earning on purchases.

Finally, almost half of the respondents said they want travel and shopping rewards to be easier and more flexible. 30% said they do not want their rewards card to decide where they shop.

In response to the survey results, Capital One offers cardholders some straightforward products that make it simple to earn and redeem rewards, such as the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card for cash back or the VentureOne Rewards card for travel.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 5, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.