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Credit card rewards disappoint

By Marcie Geffner ·
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

Rewards are a key factor that consumers might well consider when they decide to apply for a new credit card. But in fact, many consumers who have a rewards card aren't all that thrilled with the rewards.

That was the chief finding of a recent survey of 1,045 adults conducted by BIGresearch for Capital One Financial Corp., a financial company in McLean, Va. The survey found only 22 percent of consumers who said they had a rewards card were "completely satisfied" with the program.

Here's a summary of the other findings:

  • Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they hadn't redeemed any reward points in the last three months.
  • Twenty-eight percent of those who'd wanted to redeem points but hadn't, cited difficulty in doing so as the reason.
  • Twenty-seven percent of those who'd wanted to redeem points but hadn't, cited a lack of attractive redemption options as the reason.
  • Nineteen percent rated the flexibility of redemption options as fair or poor.
  • Twenty-three percent rated their ability to earn rewards quickly as fair or poor.
  • Fifty-eight percent said they didn't have enough points to take a trip this spring.
  • Twenty-nine percent said blackout dates would preclude their doing so.
  • Fifty-seven percent said the perception of "free money" was their top motivation to earn and use credit card rewards.
  • Forty-seven percent preferred domestic airline tickets to international travel as a reward option.
  • Thirty percent chose international airline tickets over domestic travel.
  • Seventy-two percent wanted the ability to redeem points for cash.
  • Fifty-four percent had actually done so.
  • Forty-seven percent said they could redeem rewards for electronics, housewares or other merchandise.
  • Thirty-two percent said they wanted that option.

And, finally:

  • Thirty-one percent of those surveyed said they'd choose the Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey as their preferred destination for a reward points trip.
  • Seven percent said they'd pick the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House.

Obviously, royalty rules.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff

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