Capital One Rewards Card Outlook

December 6, 2016: Capital One recently released the findings of the Capital One Rewards Card Outlook, and the survey uncovered some interesting stats on how cardholders across a number of credit card issuers interacted with their rewards cards this past year.

With 2016 winding down, it's time to start looking ahead to 2017. New data from Capital One shows that many people could gain a lot from just a little bit of research into credit card benefits, and this could have an impact on the resolutions they are starting to think about.

The Capital One Rewards Card Outlook shows that while people think they are making the most of their credit cards, there is actually room for improvement.

  • More than two-thirds (68%) of rewards cardholders feel they are taking advantage of most of the features their cards offer, however, only a small percentage have actually used helpful benefits like no foreign exchange fees (11%) or discounts on hotels and ride-sharing services (19%). In fact, a number of respondents didn't even know if their cards offered these types of things.

  • Almost three-fourths (74.3%) of rewards cardholders feel their cards help them save money

  • More than 80% (82.5%) of rewards cardholders indicate "my credit card and I have been with each other for a long time."

  • Nearly 70% (69%) of rewards cardholders indicate they love their credit card

  • The majority (64.9%) of rewards cardholders don't consider themselves knowledgeable about credit card rewards programs.

  • A number of credit cards offer rotating rewards categories. However, over half (51.9%) find rotating categories frustrating or confusing.

  • Travel rewards tend to be where consumers experience the most issues and frustrations. Nearly half (49.1%) feel that using travel rewards is more difficult than it should be. Similarly, 48.2% of consumers have had a hard time using airline frequent flyer miles to book rewards travel within the past year. As a result, more than half (51.1%) tend to avoid miles based programs.
    • Use a Venture® card from Capital One to help reduce the frustration – book travel on any website or app – any airline, any hotel, rental cars and more.
  • The most frustrating limitation associated with cash back credit cards is achieving a minimum amount before they can redeem awards, indicated by 28.1% of rewards cardholders.
    • Capital One Quicksilver® cardholders earn 1.5% cashback on every purchase and cardholders can redeem cash back for any amount, anytime.

With the holiday season now in full swing, gift cards and gift certificates continue to be popular gift choices in 2016, with almost one-third (29.3%) using their rewards to redeem them. Other results include:

  • Nearly one-quarter (24%) preferred to redeem rewards for a statement credit; 13.3 percent for magazine subscriptions; 11.8 percent for monthly bill payments; 11.6 percent for specific tangible items, and 8.5 percent for charitable donations.

  • Nearly one-in-five (18.9%) used rewards around the holidays; other popular times to redeem rewards include when they had enough for what they wanted (30.4%) and when booking travel (22.1%).

Perhaps it's all of the dating apps available now, but love is in the air for millennials and their rewards credit cards. Over 80% (80.4%) of millennials indicated they are in love with their rewards credit card, compared to 61.6% of non-millennials.

  • Even though this age group already says they're in love, 23.4% of them said they're in a "relatively new" relationship with their rewards card.

  • While millennials are having a love affair with their rewards cards, it's interesting to note that that 43% said they thought they lost or misplaced their credit card over the past year (in fact 16.5% indicated they did in fact lose their cards, how's that for love!).

    • A great solution for this is the Capital One Wallet sm, app which helps consumers keep track of all their purchases in real-time and keep them organized on the go. If they misplace their credit card, they can instantly lock their card and turn it back on again when they're ready, all right in the Wallet.

    • On that note, nearly 40% (39.8%) of rewards cardholders – overall – would rather keep their cards in a digital wallet as opposed to a physical wallet.

  • 59.8% of millennials surveyed indicated that they are not sure they are making the most of the rewards they earned. Additionally, less than a quarter (18.8%) said they feel they are taking advantage of only a handful of their card's features and benefits.

  • Over half of millennials (54.2%) used their rewards for airplane tickets for themselves - that's significantly more than non-millennials (35.3%). Not only are millennials using their rewards for travel perks like redeeming for plane tickets, but they also used their rewards for ride share services like Uber and hotel discounts (23.4%).

    • Capital One's Venture card offers cardholders the ability to use their miles on any airline, any flight, any ride share, any hotel, anytime with no blackout dates. With every purchase, cardholders earn unlimited double miles. Additionally, through Capital One's partnership with Uber, customers get $15 in Uber credits every time they pay for 9 rides with a Quicksilver card through March 31, 2017. The credits can be used on multiple rides at any time through April 30, 2017.

  • When it comes to redeeming the rewards they've earned, the majority of millennials (59.8%) are seeking more frequent, smaller rewards, while 69.7 percent of those 45-54 and 64 percent of those 55 and older prefer saving for something "big."

    • Capital One rewards cards offer unlimited rewards every day on every purchase. Whether consumers want to redeem rewards on something big or small, Capital One offers straightforward cards with unlimited rewards.


The Capital One Rewards Card Outlook is a national survey administered online via Toluna's nationwide consumer panel, designed to understand consumer's thoughts, attitudes, behaviors and expectations related to rewards credit cards, including card benefits and rewards redemption experiences. A total of 1,000 people who possess a travel rewards or cash back credit card from a number of credit card issuers participated in this survey. For purposes of this survey, millennials were categorized as ages 18-34, and non-millennials as ages 35-65.

Capital One does not provide, endorse, nor guarantee any third-party product, service, information, or recommendation listed above. The third parties listed are not affiliated with Capital One and are solely responsible for their products and services. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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