Agents Say Holiday Travelers Seek Value, Rewards Redemption to Offset Costs

Despite the current economic slump, consumers are still finding ways to follow through with holiday vacation plans, a new American Express Travel Survey suggests. By stretching vacation budgets, meticulously seeking value in every aspect of travel plans and cutting costs wherever possible (be it through the redemption of reward points, shorter trips or closer trips, alternative destinations, and choosing less expensive hotels), travelers are doing all they can to ensure an affordable holiday vacation.

Out of the more than 1,100 American Express Travel agents surveyed, 77 percent said vacationers are looking for more bargains than in the past, while 86 percent said clients are looking for “smart luxury” options such as unique travel with special treatment for less.

In addition, 86.5 percent of travel agents said that customers are using rewards points to offset travel costs this holiday season (up from 70 percent the year before) while 47 percent said their customers are booking more value-priced hotels.  Meanwhile, 40 percent of agents said clients are booking more closer-to-home flights this year and 58 percent said customers are purchasing travel delay protection for delayed and cancelled reservations.

When it comes to the best ravel options, 53 percent of American Express Travel agents surveyed said that cruising offered the best deals, followed by 38 percent who said that tour packages provide value by combining airfare and hotel accommodations.

The polled agents also named New York City the most popular domestic destination this year and Los Cabos, Mexico the most popular international destination. In addition, agents designated Miami/Fort Lauderdale the most popular warm-weather destination and Vail, CO the most popular cold-weather destination.



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