Consumers are becoming less satisfied with their credit cards rewards programs as conditions such as expiration dates and spending minimums have diminished the experience, according to a new survey.
Just 50% of the roughly 1,000 consumers surveyed in February rated the value of their rewards programs as "very good" or "excellent, compared to 55% who responded favorably in a similar survey just three months earlier. Forty-seven percent said that they were pleased with how quickly they can redeem rewards, down from 52% in the November survey.
The Capital One Rewards Barometer is a survey conducted each quarter by Capital One Financial and the consumer marketing firm BIGinsight.
In general, consumers want their rewards programs to be simpler, the survey found. Only 45% of respondents even bother to redeem rewards and almost half said that they would be more likely to redeem rewards if banks or card companies made the redemption process easier. Forty percent said that eliminating expiration dates for the rewards would improve their experience and 60% said they would be more likely to cash in rewards if their cards had more special deals with merchants, such as discounts for using their card at a specific restaurant or retail chain.
Cash continues to be the most popular redemption option, but gift cards have overtaken airline tickets as the No. 2 most redeemed item. Forty-five percent of consumers typically opt for cash and most will use the cash reward to pay down their card balances. In the November survey, airline tickets were the second-most redeemed item at 30%, but they dropped to No. 3 in the February survey, at 28%. Thirty-two percent of respondents in the February survey said that they used their rewards on gift cards, primarily for shopping or dining. Despite rising gas prices, only 6% requested gift cards for gas cards, the survey found.