The new travel booking experience delivers smarter features not found anywhere else in the credit card industry.
While the COVID-19 pandemic limited opportunities to travel in 2020, Americans are visiting their favorite destinations again. In July 2021, Americans spent $98.5 billion on travel, which approached that of 2019 levels.
“As the pandemic recedes, we’re seeing tremendous progress and recovery in the industry,” says Fred Lalonde, CEO and Co-Founder of Hopper. “While international travel has still not fully recovered and business travel is still down from pre-pandemic levels, we are seeing strong signals of recovery, and we expect travelers to continue to get back out there.”
Lalonde is right. There’s been significant momentum around domestic flight searches for folks planning to head home for the holidays. Nearly half of Americans (44.9%) are planning to take at least one holiday-related trip this season, just slightly less than 2019 levels (52.8%). While travelers are getting accustomed to the idea of working from anywhere, allowing them to travel more freely, there has been an increased desire for flexibility and improved customer experience.
That’s why Capital One partnered with Hopper to develop a new, smarter travel booking experience—Capital One Travel—which is currently live in beta.
“We had several conversations with different travel companies, viewed countless demos, and found that Hopper was really doing things differently,” says Jamie Nettles, Head of Travel Rewards at Capital One. “Not only were they extremely data-driven and design-forward, but they were customer friendly, which aligns completely with Capital One. We felt that together we could create a unique travel booking experience for cardholders and combat existing pain points in the current booking process.”
Introducing Capital One Travel
The new travel booking experience will deliver smarter features not found anywhere else in the credit card industry, including predictive pricing models, free price drop protection on flights, and the option to freeze a flight price for up to 14 days, so you can come back and book it later.
“Capital One customers love to travel, but we knew there were pain points they experienced throughout the travel process," Nettles said. "We spent a lot of time talking to our customers to truly understand where those pain points existed so we could deliver more value. We studied the entire travel journey—from our customers’ initial desire to travel to booking a trip to being in transit to being at the destination itself.”
“We learned that the booking process is one of the most stressful parts of traveling as customers juggle searches across a variety of sites without a clear indication of what constitutes a fair deal," said Matt Knise, Vice President of U.S. Card and Head of Travel Strategy. "Capital One Travel solves this need by providing one site for all booking needs to give customers the assurance they are getting our best prices and options available.”
The ultimate goal with Capital One Travel is to deliver an experience that bridges the gap in what customers want with how the experience actually unfolds.
Providing A Seamless Travel Experience
During the initial beta launch, Capital One Travel is providing dynamic features that help protect customers from price volatility and provide flexibility when booking travel. In the coming months, we plan to release additional features. While offerings may vary by booking, here's what's currently available:
Price prediction and price watches: Capital One Travel analyzes billions of data points on real flight prices and trends, leveraging AI-powered dynamic pricing to deliver flight recommendations and 24/7 price watch alerts, which can help save customers an average of 15% per flight.
Free price drop protection: As a demonstration of the confidence in the price prediction technology, Capital One Travel gives free price drop protection to customers who purchase flights we recommend and offers customers a partial refund if the price drops after booking.
Price match guarantee: Capital One is offering price match guarantee on thousands of flights, hotels and rental cars. That means that if a customer finds a better price for a flight, hotel or rental car on another site within 24 hours of booking, Capital One Travel will refund the difference.
Lowest hotel prices: Capital One Travel compares hotel rates against Expedia, Orbitz and other travel booking sites and proactively adjusts their prices to beat or match competitors, ensuring that customers are seeing the best available price.
Option to freeze a flight price: If a customer finds a great price but isn’t quite ready to book, Capital One Travel gives them the option to freeze the price for a small fee for up to 14 days so they can book it at a more convenient time.
“Today’s customers are expecting more than just the ability to book flights and hotels,” says Lalonde. “These days, everyone shops and compares prices before booking travel. As consumer preferences evolve, we’ll continue to see companies invest in better technology and improve on mobile offerings and innovations. Capital One is uniquely positioned to broaden its travel offering and deliver on new, innovative technology and experiences for its customers.”
Capital One Travel is integrated into the Capital One rewards ecosystem, allowing customers to both earn and redeem rewards through the Hopper-powered platform, while also leveraging Capital One’s industry-leading mobile app and digital messaging capabilities.
It is one of several areas in which Capital One is elevating travel support to help customers get the most out of their experiences.
This fall, Capital One introduced its new class of travel card, Venture X and opened its first Capital One airport lounge at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), with additional Capital One Lounges coming to Denver International Airport (DEN) and Dulles International Airport (IAD) in mid-2022.
“What truly differentiates us from other banks in the travel space is the end-to-end experience—our new travel card that delivers best-in-class rewards, our exceptional booking experience, and our airport lounges that provide things like curated menus by local chefs and wellness-focused amenities like yoga rooms and Peloton bikes, says Nettles.”
Over the coming months, Capital One plans to release additional features including improved digital self-servicing tools that make it easy for customers to cancel their travel plans all through their mobile device. Early next year, we’re launching a partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects to plant trees for every flight, hotel or rental car a customer books to help with forest restoration.
Capital One Travel is available for Venture X cardholders, who can earn unlimited ten miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars and five miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
The booking experience is also open to Venture, VentureOne, Spark Miles and Spark Miles Select cardholders, who can earn unlimited five miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.