New numbers from the Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index, which tracks spending by Chase Freedom cardholders, show that when it comes to summer road trips, spending is speeding right along at a healthy pace.
Piling into the family minivan or station wagon and hitting the highway is a time-honored tradition for Americans, who love nothing more than a vacation spent on the road. Stopping at favorite fast-food restaurants, staying at a hotel and cooling off with a dip in the pool, and stocking up on treats for the car at each gas station while fueling up – those are the delights of a good old-fashioned summer road trip.
With two of the most popular cash back credit cards offering five percent back on gas and other road trip necessities, this summer was the perfect time to take to the open road for Discover More and Chase Freedom customers.
When You Can Drive, Why Fly?
According to Chase, airline spending dropped by three percent this summer, compared with the first quarter of 2012, and travel spending has been sluggish overall since 2011, but road trip spending is up by double-digits this year.
Spending on gas, hotels, car rental, highway tolls, and fast food – hallmarks of a great road trip – saw average spending of $366.80 per cardholder between April and June 2012, the Chase study found. Other interesting highlights of the study showed that on average, men spend more than women on a road trip, with men spending an average of $437.80 and women ringing up $302.80 worth of charges so far this summer.
Seniors Save More, South Dakota Leads in Spending
Other findings showed that spending was highest in the middle of the country, with South Dakota leading the way in credit card charges at an average of $476.90, followed closely by Wisconsin and Indiana, at $472.50 and $468.80, respectively, and that cardholders aged 35-44 spent more than other age groups. People over 65 spent the least, with an average of $269.00 – maybe all those senior discounts helped them save a few bucks!
Seasonal Categories Give Five Percent Back
Chase and Discover, two popular cash back rewards credit cards, encouraged summer road trip spending with their rotating categories offering five percent back on gas from June through September. Cardholders have to sign up for these bonus categories, which offer five percent back on spending in certain merchant categories on up to $1500 in spending.
These categories change every three months, and during the summer months, Discover gave its biggest cash back bonus on gas, movies, and museums, while Chase Freedom tagged gas station and restaurant purchases with the five percent back reward.
Upcoming fiver percent back categories for Chase Freedom are airline, hotel, Kohl’s, and Best Buy purchases, from October through December, while during the same time period, Discover will give five percent back on spending at department stores, toy stores, electronic stores, and movie theaters.
Sign Up and Save
There’s still time to get cash back on gas all through September, for anyone who wants to squeeze in a last road trip while the sun still shines. Customers just need to remember that to get the five percent back in these bonus categories, they not only need to have a Chase Freedom card or a Discover card, they need to sign up for the reward – it is not given automatically. Customers can sign up online or by phone, text, or even through Facebook.