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17 Aug, 2012

American Summer Travel Seen Favouring Road Over Air


WILMINGTON, Del.-August 15, 2012-(BUSINESS WIRE)–When it comes to spring and summer travel, the open road is still king, according to the latest edition of the Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index, a barometer of consumer trends based on aggregated Chase Freedom cardholder spending data.

While overall spending on travel has remained flat since 2011, road trip purchases, such as gas, fast food, hotel, car rental and toll purchases, saw double-digit increases between the first and second quarters of 2012, as well as modest gains year-over-year. Airline purchases, which only grew by one percent between 2011 and 2012, saw a three-percent decline from the first quarter of 2012.

“Americans’ love of road trips shows no sign of slowing down,” said Phil Christian, general manager, Chase Freedom. “Our cardholders, who represent a significant segment of the U.S. credit card market, have taken to the open road this spring and summer, investing on average hundreds of dollars in communities across the country.”

Calculating cardholders’ actual gas, fast food, hotel, car rental and toll purchases, the Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index’s “road trip price tag” reveals an average spending of $366.80 between April and June 2012. This composite represents a three-percent increase from the same quarter in 2011 and an eight-percent increase over the first quarter of 2012.

  • The average man’s “road trip price tag” is nearly 45 percent higher than the average woman’s ($437.80 vs. $302.80).
  • Cardholders between the ages of 35 and 44 had the highest level of spending ($448.50), while those over the age of 65 had the lowest level ($269.00).
  • America’s heartland saw the greatest expenditures on road trip spending, led by South Dakota (where the average cardholder spent $476.90), Wisconsin ($472.50) and Indiana ($468.80).
  • Increased travel spending was most notable in Arizona, Florida and Illinois.

Spending on hotels and car rentals, two staples of the road trip experience, have been on the rise throughout 2012. In the category of car rentals, June marked the highest spending of the year so far.

Q2 2012 vs. Q2 2012 vs.
Q2 2011 Q1 2012
Gas 0% 2%
Fast Food 17% 15%
Hotel 4% 22%
Car Rental 1% 15%
Tolls 29% 17%


Dining Out is on the Menu for 2012

Whether it’s a quick stop on a road trip, or a special dinner out at a favorite restaurant, Americans are also dining out in greater numbers in 2012. Overall dining spending is up 11 percent between the first and second quarters, with fast food outpacing general restaurant establishments (15 percent vs. 10 percent).

Among age groups, cardholders aged 45-54 drove the largest restaurant spending increase, at 14 percent, and the 65-and-over crowd led spending gains in the fast food category with a 17-percent increase over last quarter. By gender, women increased their spending in both dining categories by a slightly higher margin than men: they spent 13 percent more in restaurants than last quarter, whereas spending among men grew nine percent. In the fast food category, women spent 17 percent more this quarter, whereas men spent 15 percent more.

For more information, visit Chase Freedom’s Website or Facebook page