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Travel Credit Cards Compete With Leveled-Up Benefits & Rewards As Vacation Season Heats Up

June 11, 2021 Sarah Cavill

“During the first week in May, the number of vacation rental property reservations made in Florida was 40% higher than it was during the same week in 2019,” reports Marnie Hunter for CNN. Travel is back, with many people booking summer vacations, flights and trips to see family after more than a year of very little travel activity. 

Many credit card companies that offer travel miles are leveraging the rise in summer bookings to introduce new promotions, campaigns and benefits. To differentiate and compete in a crowded market, credit card companies integrate evolving perks and updates into digital advertising strategies that reach consumers looking for travel deals and credit card loyalty rewards.

Delta Introduces New Welcome Program For Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card Members

Delta introduced a new “welcome offer” to its SkyMiles program, encouraging travelers to strive for Medallion Member status by using their Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express. Delta explains, “Earn 50,000 bonus miles plus 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) with the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Cards.” The promotion is win-win for Delta and American Express, encouraging consumers to book with Delta and use their American Express to earn coveted miles and the perks that come with Medallion Member status. Additionally, for consumers shopping for a credit card that offers miles, the timeliness of the promotion, going into effect as travel picks up, is intended to drive enrollments for American Express. 

Chase Partners With United To Introduce United Quest Card And Launch Multichannel Campaign

United Airlines and Chase Card Services announced the launch of the Quest card in April, kicking off the campaign with the “Questination Unknown” campaign. United Airlines and Chase partnered with Pack Up + Go, a “surprise travel agency,” on a limited time promotion that gave consumers major discounts on qualifying trips with Pack Up + Go. The promotion ran across social media channels, including Instagram and Twitter, with the hashtag #pursueyourquest.

In addition to the Questination Unknown campaign and usual perks of travel credit cards, including purchase and flight credits, Quest offered new cardmembers extra bonus miles. “Now more than ever, our customers are longing to get back to travel — to the journeys, adventures and experiences they’ve missed due to the pandemic — that’s why we created Questination Unknown,” said Luc Bondar, VP of marketing and President of MileagePlus at United. “The timely launch of the Quest Card rewards travel enthusiasts, who want to get back out and explore the world, with premium travel benefits.”

Capital One Announces New Benefits To Suite Of Travel Cards Ahead Of Vacation Season 

As the travel season started to heat up in early spring, Capital One announced a spate of new benefits to its suite of travel rewards cards. The updated perks for Capital One Venture and Spark Miles cardholders are likely to appeal to consumers who are accustomed to easy online ordering and cautiously excited to travel again. Capital One is partnering with Hopper, a travel booking app, for seamless trip planning, refreshing its mile-transfer program, adding four new loyalty programs and touting the upcoming opening of two new airport lounges. The new benefits bring “the Capital One program a huge step closer to its competitors,” according to Jennifer Yellin of CNN Underscored. 

Consumer behaviors evolved during the pandemic, and those changes will impact travel planning and credit decisions. Travel credit card brands need to reach travelers where they are, with campaigns reflecting perks and benefits that resonate with today’s desires.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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