This post comes from our partner @americanexpress

Creating and sustaining meaningful relationships with travelers is no easy task. Loyalty points historically were started with this original purpose: forging stronger connections with customers, but a lot has changed over last decade and the programs for airlines and hospitality sectors are going through a lot of reinvention.

For avid business travelers, earning loyalty points is a competitive game, a contact sport meant to get the best out of the system. But once they earn those points, what consumers want out of it is a key marketing insight.

What do they think is the best use of it?

Skift + American Express decided to ask the business travelers themselves about their views — through an online survey — on what’s most important to them when it comes to redeeming loyalty points earned during their business travel. The results were eye-opening. A large majority of business travelers like to redeem these points outside of their travels for work, it turns out. We’ve outlined the top-level results of our survey, as well as differences by demographics, below.

Important: This survey was commissioned by The Hilton HHonors (TM) Surpass® Card from American Express. This single-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population from July 9-15, 2014 through Google Consumer Surveys, with a qualifying question with 5.400 responses. The primary question was served to 503 regular business travelers. The methodology is explained here. See previous Skift Surveys here.

» Topline Result (Chart 1, below): A majority of business travelers, about 60 percent, said that using points to secure free leisure travel or getting upgrades for their leisure travels was the best use of loyalty points earned during their business travels. Only about 21 percent of business travelers want to use their points during the travels that enabled them to earn these, that is, work travels.

survey-4mofwq3t7ug5o-question-2 »

Breakdown by hardcore vs regular business traveler, Chart 2 below: The results don’t vary much and within margin of error: most business travelers, whether regular ones (“Yes, probably” below) or road warriors (“Yes, definitely” below), love to use these points during leisure travelers.

survey-4mofwq3t7ug5o-question-2 (1) »

Breakdown by gender, Chart 3 below: Somewhat minor but surprising difference: more women business travelers like to spend the points during their business trip than men. survey-4mofwq3t7ug5o-question-2 (2) »

Breakdown by age, Chart 4 below: Also surprising, the youngest of business travelers want to use points earned during business travels within their business trips. survey-4mofwq3t7ug5o-question-2 (3) »

Breakdown by region, Chart 5 below: The U.S. southern region would like to spend their business travel points on leisure travels. survey-4mofwq3t7ug5o-question-2 (4) »

Breakdown by region, Chart 6 below: Rural region business travelers love spending their points on leisure travels. survey-4mofwq3t7ug5o-question-2 (5) »

Breakdown by income, Chart 7 below: The richer you are, the more you want to use the points earned during business travels on getting free leisure travels! survey-4mofwq3t7ug5o-question-2 (6)

Photo Credit: How do business travelers like using their points, once earned?