Skift Take

Credit card loyalty programs play a unique role in shaping consumer behavior and travel spending. A new report from iSeatz explores how banks are structuring their rewards to encourage flexibility, enable choice, and unlock value for today’s consumers.

This sponsored content was created in collaboration with a Skift partner.

Credit card loyalty programs have become one of the most popular ways to access travel rewards and perks. According to Skift Research, roughly a third of U.S. Gen Z and millennial travelers book airline and hotel reservations through credit card platforms, while only a quarter use online travel agencies (OTAs).

Credit card platforms unlock significant value for consumers due to their appealing rewards and direct link to payment methods — but competition among credit card companies is fierce, with new cards and rewards frameworks launched every month, all vying for share of mind and wallet.

In a new report, “State of Loyalty: 2024 Credit Card Rewards,” iSeatz examines the availability of credit card rewards and their supporting programs in North America, leveraging publicly available information to communicate the state of the loyalty ecosystem.

The report explores how providing consumers with choice creates a sense of abundance and provides more opportunities to match their desires and aspirations. While adopting a one-size-fits-all approach may be economical, delivering bespoke products, services, and offers creates lasting value. 

“The market for travel options for card programs is getting more competitive, making it critical for banks to understand the competitive landscape,” said Dave Parsons, chief customer officer at iSeatz. “By understanding the latest trends in reward offerings, banks can differentiate their loyalty programs, driving their cards top-of-wallet.”

Focused solely on reward point redemption, the report aims to establish a benchmark for assessing redemption opportunities and engagement strategies within today’s credit card rewards landscape. It reviews North American banks and financial entities that offer travel and lifestyle rewards through their credit cards, excluding those offering solely cashback rewards. 

The report’s goal is to assist financial institutions in grasping the competitive dynamics of the current loyalty environment and crafting a rewards strategy that stands out, fostering engagement, loyalty, customer satisfaction, and retention.

“One of the key findings in the report is the continued expansion of lifestyle rewards,” Parsons said. “By offering complementary rewards like dining and activities, in addition to core travel, banks create additional opportunities for engagement and satisfaction, driving customer loyalty and lifetime value.”

In this report, you’ll also find:

  • A comparison chart of travel and lifestyle rewards offerings from major credit cards
  • How experiential travel rewards continue to resonate with cardholders
  • How credit cards companies are expanding their portfolios to meet cardholder demand for value  
  • Why portfolio expansion around sustainability-related rewards is lagging behind 
  • An update on consumer sentiment around personalization and artificial intelligence (AI) 
  • Key challenges and opportunities within the competitive landscape

This content was created collaboratively by iSeatz and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX

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Tags: credit cards, iseatz, loyalty, SkiftX Creative Studio, SkiftX Showcase: Technology, the prompt, travel rewards, travel technology

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