There are so many different types of credit card rewards available, it can be hard to figure out which one is the best card to apply for. But one thing that might make it easier is knowing which rewards people consistently rank as their favorites.
According to the new “Roads to Rewards Revisited” survey from Excentus, the number one perk of credit cards is saving on gas. The survey, which included responses from over 1,000 Americans, found that for the second year in a row, consumers ranked fuel savings as their favorite credit card benefit.
This may be surprising to those who think of travel rewards as mostly tied to frequent flyer miles, priority boarding, free checked luggage, and other airline-related things. But gas savings are also a travel reward – and many people rely on their cars to commute to and from work each day. For those folks, saving on a tank of gas is a big perk.
Thirty-seven percent of consumers surveyed said they prefer fuel discounts to any other type of credit card rewards, coupons, points, or other discounts. Thirty-nine percent said they prefer gas rewards because they like saving money however they can, and 23% said they enjoy saving on everyday purchases.
Loyalty programs make a difference
Another finding showed that store loyalty programs do make a difference to consumer behavior. More than one quarter of respondents said they shop more often at stores where they earn rewards for making purchases, and 17% plan ahead according to what promotions are on offer. Another 14% only shop at places they will earn rewards. Thirteen percent said they would even switch brands or shop at a different store in order to save more money or earn better rewards.
Millennials and mobile apps
The report also looked at the influence of Millennials, that demographic of young people which includes folks ages 18-35. It found that almost 40% of Millennials rely on mobile apps for reward redemption. They also use mobile apps to track their reward earnings, and to make purchases with mobile wallets.
The use of plastic membership cards is on the downswing, as more people go mobile; the use of plastic cards dropped by four percent in 2016, according to the survey.