August 11, 2022

WalletHub Survey: Best Credit Cards for Summer Travel

With summer right around the corner and 58% of Americans reporting that inflation is affecting…

WalletHub Survey: Best Credit Cards for Summer Travel

With summer right around the corner and 58% of Americans reporting that inflation is affecting their travel plans, the personal-finance website WalletHub today announced its picks for 2022’s Best Credit Cards for Summer Travel, highlighting deals worth $800+ in airfare, hotel reservations and more. This report is accompanied by a new WalletHub survey examining people’s summer travel habits, worries and expectations.

Please find key takeaways below.

  • Inflation Deflating Travel Plans: 58% of Americans say inflation is affecting their travel plans.
  • Credit Card Payments Take a Back Seat to Vacations: 41% more people would skip a credit card payment instead of a vacation this year compared to last year.
  • Debt-Fueled Travel is Common: 32% of people say travel usually gets them into debt.
  • Paying with Points, Miles & Cash Back: 38% of people are planning to use credit card rewards to pay for a vacation this year.
  • New Cards for Summer Travel: Around 1 in 3 people are “likely” or “very likely” to apply for a new credit card before a vacation in 2022.
  • Most & Least Popular Credit Card Perks: Rental car insurance (27%) is the most used benefit. It’s nearly twice as popular as extended warranties (14%), the least used benefit.
  • Best Travel Credit Card: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the best credit card for summer travel because it offers an initial bonus worth $750 in travel, along with double miles on all purchases and a reasonable annual fee.

Q&A with WalletHub 

Is inflation affecting people’s travel plans in 2022?
 
“Roughly 58% of Americans say inflation is affecting their travel plans, according to a new WalletHub survey. Inflation has increased to levels not seen in decades, and when prices on everyday items rise, there’s less money left over for luxuries like travel,” said Delaney Simchuk, WalletHub analyst. “Even travel itself has gotten unusually expensive. For example, airfare was 33% pricier in April 2022 than one year prior, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and costs are expected to keep rising.”
 
Do people prioritize vacations over financial obligations like credit card payments?
 
“Some people do prioritize vacations over financial obligations like credit card payments, and that group actually seems to be growing. A new WalletHub survey found that 41% more people would skip a credit card payment instead of a vacation this year compared to last year,” said Delaney Simchuk, WalletHub analyst. “After two-plus years of pandemic living, many Americans are clinging to the idea of making up for lost time, and if some interest charges and possibly a late fee are part of the price of making a long-awaited getaway happen, so be it. At least that’s where consumer sentiment seems to be right now.”
 
Should people consider traveling if it will get them into debt? 
 
“You should really rethink your travel plans if they won’t be affordable without borrowing, since travel is a luxury and there are lots of inexpensive options and alternatives, like a staycation or a road trip somewhere close to home. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. Thirty-two percent of people say travel usually gets them into debt, according to a new WalletHub survey,” said Delaney Simchuk, WalletHub analyst. “Having debt looming over your head while you’re trying to relax is no fun, so it’s best to save in advance.”  
 
Are people planning on using credit card rewards to pay for a vacation this year?
 
“A new WalletHub survey found that 38% of people are planning to use credit card rewards to pay for a vacation this year. People have a lot of unredeemed rewards saved up from the pandemic, and in many cases, these rewards could expire if they aren’t used soon,” said Delaney Simchuk, WalletHub analyst. “Being able to pay for even part of a vacation with credit card rewards is very gratifying. The trick is to choose the right rewards credit card, use it regularly, and then redeem in a way that gets you good value for your rewards.”
 
What advice do you have for people looking to save money on their vacations in 2022?
 
“One easy way to save money on a vacation is to apply for one of the best travel credit cards weeks or months before you plan to travel. This gives you enough time to earn any initial bonus the card may offer, or to use the vacation to meet the initial spending requirement for such a bonus. A good initial bonus alone could save you $600 or more, and ongoing rewards could add hundreds of dollars in additional savings,” said Delaney Simchuk, WalletHub analyst. “Other ways to save include signing up for a frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program, comparison-shopping for transportation and lodging, and setting a clear budget in advance. A lot comes down to careful planning and then discipline in the moment.”