Most Valuable Travel Rewards in 2024

ByTravelling For Business

May 26, 2024
Discover the most valuable travel rewards of 2024 from loyalty programs, including top benefits and insights on travel trends and preferences.

Among the myriad travel perks available, loyalty program membership stands out as a significant benefit.

The second annual Barclays US Consumer Bank’s Travel Rewards and Loyalty Reports reveal the most frequently used and valued travel benefits among travellers, underscoring their importance in the travel landscape.

Loyalty Program Membership is Crucial

A survey by Wakefield Research of 1,000 US travelers found that 77% currently belong to a travel loyalty program. These respondents have flown at least once in the past 12 months and plan to travel again within the next year. Notably, 89% of respondents have been members of a loyalty program at some point.

The types of loyalty programs include:
– Airlines
– Car rentals
– Cruise lines
– Hotels
– Online booking sites

Approximately 51% of travelers join to earn airline rewards, 43% for hotel rewards, and 30% for booking sites. Fewer travelers join cruise and car rental programs due to limited travel opportunities in these categories.

Of those enrolled, 76% stated they could not imagine taking their current caliber of trips without the benefits. Without rewards, travelers might switch providers, opt for more affordable accommodations, shorten their trips, or choose less convenient travel methods.

Millennials lead in loyalty program enrollment at 83%, compared to a 75% average for Gen X, Gen Z, and Baby Boomers. Furthermore, Millennials are more likely to travel this year.

Most Valuable Travel Loyalty Rewards

Given the widespread value of travel loyalty programs, 77% of respondents anticipate traveling more in 2024 than in 2023, with 79% for leisure and 21% for business. The most sought-after benefits, ranked by demand, are:

1. Ability to earn and redeem rewards (70%)
2. Lower costs, reduced fees, and low rate guarantees (58%)
3. Elite status perks, free checked bags, priority boarding (55%)
4. Improved travel experience through upgrades, lounge access (51%)
5. Access to experiences like concerts and events (29%)

Travel points are the most valuable benefit, with respondents planning to use 65% of their points for flights and 54% for hotels.

Most Valuable Travel Points

Airline miles are considered the most valuable type of travel points. Eighty-nine percent of travelers report that points are essential to their preferred travel style. The importance of travel rewards for different categories is as follows:

Airline miles (69%)
Hotel points (60%)
Car rentals (37%)
Cruise lines (26%)

Airline and hotel points provide the most value and are often the easiest to earn or redeem, offering numerous options for both domestic and international travel.

Travel Preferences and Popular Destinations

Most respondents (72%) will use their travel rewards for domestic travel this year, though international travel is increasing. The most popular international destinations include:

– Europe (29%)
– The Caribbean (23%)
– Canada or Mexico (22%)

Most Valuable Travel Deals

Beyond travel points, several non-point travel rewards offer significant value. The top discounts and upgrades for elite members and travel credit card customers are:

1. Hotel deals (71%)
2. Flight upgrades (70%)
3. Priority boarding (60%)

Frequent travellers, particularly those taking five or more flights per year, gain the most value from travel rewards.

Business Travel is the Most Rewarding

Business travelers tend to get more value from their rewards programs compared to leisure travelers, with success rates varying by travel type and generation:

– **84% of business travelers (versus 67% of leisure travelers)**
– **79% of Millennials**
– **72% of travel credit cardholders**

Final Thoughts

Every travel loyalty program offers different perks, point redemption options, and destination choices. Finding the right program can make traveling more frequent and enjoyable. For more detailed insights, see the full survey results.