2024 Travel Card Predictions: The Year of Hygge

March 18th, 2024 | Emily Pardo

In the ever-evolving world of travel and finance, 2024 stands out as the year where comfort, nostalgia and the pursuit of coziness—the Danish and Norwegian concept known as ‘hygge’—take center stage in the US travel card space. As we delve into the trends and strategies that will shape the travel card industry, it’s clear that brands and consumers alike are seeking the familiar warmth of cherished experiences.

Embracing Nostalgia in Travel

A significant shift is underway in consumer behavior, with a growing preference for nostalgia in travel. The days of seeking out new and unfamiliar destinations are giving way to a desire to revisit beloved places. This yearning for the familiar is influencing how consumers choose their travel destinations, and brands are responding by tailoring their messaging to evoke memories of past joys.

Source: Comperemedia Omni [12/1/2021 – 12/31/2023] as of 3/1/2024

Channel Strategies: Sticking to What Works

In terms of marketing, brands are expected to continue with channel strategies that have proven effective in the past. Travel card brands are focusing on national TV to promote aspirational experiences, while co-branded cards are leveraging direct mail to highlight exclusive sign-up bonuses. Despite the ever-changing digital landscape, these traditional channels remain a steadfast component of travel card marketing.

Direct mail will continue to be used to tout exclusive sign-up bonuses, with the traditional method of crossing out an old offer remaining. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card continues to stand out by including enhanced personalization within its direct mail efforts.

Source: Comperemedia Omni [1/1/2023 – 12/31/2023] as of 3/1/2024

The Rise of In-Flight Comfort

As airport lounges become increasingly crowded, leading to consumer dissatisfaction, travel card rewards are shifting from pre-flight to in-flight perks. Brands are now emphasizing benefits that enhance the in-flight experience, such as seat upgrades and complimentary Wi-Fi. These offerings are not only about comfort but also about addressing a key consumer desire: making the journey as enjoyable as the destination itself. Further supported by the fact that recent Mintel research shows that 52% of consumers would be persuaded by more space to upgrade from an economy seat to a premium service class.

Features such as complimentary seat upgrades, as seen in the American Express email,  will be increasingly touted and centered in brands’ creatives as they look to make the typically stressful and uncomfortable experience of flying a little less taxing.

American Express | Email | 9/12/2023 | Vol: 44.6k | RR: 43%
Source: Comperemedia Omni [1/1/2023  – 12/31/2023] as of 3/1/2024

What we think

The travel card industry in 2024 is set to be defined by a blend of nostalgia and comfort, with a strategic focus on proven marketing channels and seasonal consumer behavior. As brands adapt to these trends, they will continue to provide consumers with the means to relive cherished memories and enjoy the journey, making every trip a return to something they love.

Interested in learning more about the Omnichannel and Consumer data that backs up these predictions? Contact us today!