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Survey: Travelers Want Options to Safely Reconnect During COVID-19

Survey: Travelers Want Options to Safely Reconnect During COVID-19
Joe Cortez

Travelers continually long to connect with friends and family, no matter how far apart they may be. The latest American Express Trendex study shows 86 percent of consumers still say travel is important to maintaining healthy friendships with friends and family, while 91 percent say travel is critical to their overall happiness.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers still say the ability to see the world is critical to their happiness and is important to keep friendships and family relationships intact. The latest travel data comes from the September 2020 American Express Trendex Study.

Travel Still Top of Mind for Consumers, But Want Safety Assurances

When asked about their want to travel, the Amex study shows that flyers still want to get back to the skies, visit new destinations, and connect with their friends and family. An overwhelming 91 percent of those surveyed consider travel to be important to their happiness, while 86 percent say travel is important to maintaining healthy relationships with friends and family. Moreover, nearly half said they would give up everyday services, like their cell phone, to “safely and comfortably” travel outside of the United States.

Infographic courtesy: American Express

But with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing with no end in sight, the ability to travel has significantly changed. Two-thirds of people said that the definition of “vacation” this year has changed, though 46 percent said they are planning to take as many days off this year as they did last year.

Among the respondents, two-thirds said they were planning to organize a “travel pod” among their family and friends to safely travel. Additionally, 44 percent said they would pay more to stay in a hotel where social distancing is easily enforced. The responses reinforce the idea that travelers are willing to pay a premium if they can travel safer.

More Credit Card Spenders Want Cash Back Over Travel Rewards

As the travel industry remains crippled by the novel Coronavirus pandemic, regular spenders are also reconsidering where they spend their money and what kind of rewards they want. Over half of those responding say they would rather get cash back rewards, up from 44 percent before the pandemic began. Groceries and gas remain the top two categories where people are spending.

Infographic courtesy: American Express

The results fly in the face of previous statements by Delta Air Lines. At the Cowen 2020 Global Transportation and Sustainable Mobility Summit, Delta executive vice president and CFO said continued spending on SkyMiles-branded credit cards suggested continued optimism towards aspirational rewards. The message was once again reinforced from Delta’s SkyMiles presentation to investors, when they noted the SkyMiles suite of co-branded cards were among American Express’ top cards – even during the pandemic.

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