Credit Cardholders Don't Redeem Rewards Points, Survey Says

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Fifty percent of consumers enrolled in a credit card rewards program five years or longer have never redeemed their points, a new survey from Maritz Loyalty Marketing found.


Despite this, a rewards program remains a major factor when consumers decide which card to use for a purchase, according to Maritz, St. Louis.


"Credit card issuers recognize the popularity and value of these programs but are missing the boat when it comes to persuading the customer to redeem their rewards," said Gail Sneed, director of financial services market development at Maritz Loyalty Marketing.


When a consumer redeems for a reward, the percentage indicating that a rewards program influences their decision rises to 75 percent.


"Credit card issuers need to be more proactive when it comes to communicating with the consumer, especially about reward redemptions," Sneed said. "Customizing credit card rewards programs to fit the customer's lifestyle is one step toward increasing reward redemption."


When consumers were asked what types of rewards they prefer, they responded: cash back, 73 percent; free merchandise, 27 percent; free travel, 26 percent; gift certificates, 25 percent; members-only offers or discounts, 12 percent; special benefit or upgrades, 10 percent; and free tickets to events, 7 percent.


The findings come from a larger survey conducted in October by Maritz Research to gauge attitudes and behaviors related to rewards/loyalty programs for retailers, hotels, airlines, credit cards and restaurants. The study is based on 407 interviews with randomly selected adult participants in an online panel.


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