(NAPSI)—When it comes to travel, the open road is still king. That’s a key finding from the latest spending data in the Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index.
The index, a barometer of consumer trends based on aggregated Chase Freedom cardholder spending data, revealed that 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 1 percent between 2011 and 2012, actually saw a 3 percent decline from the first quarter of 2012.
Good for the Economy
“Our cardholders, who represent a significant segment of the U.S. credit card market, have taken to the open road, investing on average hundreds of dollars each in communities across the country,” said Phil Christian, general manager, Chase Freedom.
A Cross-Country Snapshot
The Index’s “road trip price tag” reveals an average spending of $366.80 on these purchases between April and June 2012. This represents a 3 percent increase from the same quarter in 2011 and an 8 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 has been on the rise throughout 2012. In the category of car rentals, June marked the highest spending of the year so far.
Dining Out Is on the Menu
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).
Ladies Who Lunch, Breakfast and Dinner
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 9 percent. In the fast-food category, women spent 17 percent more this quarter, whereas men spent 15 percent more.
Cash Back on the Road and at the Table
Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases at gas stations and restaurants from July through September 2012. Customers can activate 5 percent cash back online, over the phone, via text message, on Facebook or at one of the bank’s 5,500 branches.
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