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Economy Won't Put The Brakes On Thanksgiving Travel Or Tradition, According To Discover(R) Card Survey

November 17, 2008
Seven in 10 Say They Will Not Scale Back Travel Plans This Thanksgiving; Nearly 1 in 3 Might Opt for a Potluck Dinner

RIVERWOODS, Ill., Nov 17, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Discover(R) Card today released the findings of its second annual Thanksgiving Survey that asks consumers how they plan to spend the holiday. Despite the state of the economy, seven out of 10 respondents, or 70 percent, said they will not cut down on Thanksgiving travel this year.

A similar number -- 71 percent -- said they are not considering the cost when making their Thanksgiving travel plans. But nearly half the respondents -- 46 percent -- said they will keep an eye on food costs this year and 30 percent said they may consider asking guests to bring a dish for a potluck-style Thanksgiving dinner.

Travel Plans Not Affected By Economic Conditions

Respondents plan to travel an average of approximately 114 miles over Thanksgiving weekend, with an overwhelming nine out of 10 taking to the roads. In total, 89 percent plan to travel by car, six percent by plane, three percent by train and one percent by bus.

Of the 29 percent of travelers who said they will scale back their Thanksgiving travel this year, most (71 percent) cite the cost of gasoline as one of the factors influencing their decisions. Other considerations include the worsening economy (53 percent) and the cost of flights (37 percent).

"Despite the difficult U.S. economy, Thanksgiving travelers will not be deterred this holiday season," said Ryan Garton, director of customer insights at Discover Financial Services. "The Discover Card Thanksgiving Survey shows that travel plans this season will match those from last year, especially in terms of the number of people who will travel by car."

For those traveling by car, the Discover(R) Open(R) Road Card offers a full 5% Cashback Bonus on the first $100 in gas and auto maintenance purchases each month. The Miles by Discover(R) Card allows air travelers to earn unlimited Miles, offers flexible redemption options, and the ability to book travel the way they want with no travel restrictions. Also, Discover(R) More(R) Cardmembers can make their dollars go further this season by earning a full 5% Cashback Bonus on grocery, movie and restaurant purchases through December.

When asked what they liked least about traveling over Thanksgiving, 39 percent said high gas prices, down from 44 percent last year. Thirty-eight percent cited traffic, while 12 percent said long lines at the airport, airport security hassles and high hotel prices are the least appealing aspects of the holiday.

For Most, Being with Family Makes Thanksgiving Special

When asked what they like most about Thanksgiving, almost three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) said the opportunity to see family or be surrounded by loved ones. Significantly more women (81 percent) than men (64 percent) gave this response.

Eleven percent said a big turkey dinner is what they like most, with twice as many men (16 percent) as women (8 percent) choosing this response. Six percent said watching football games, five percent said the chance to get away for a bit and two percent said knowing that the holiday shopping season is around the corner.

Twenty-two percent of respondents said the fear of putting on extra pounds or overeating was the biggest drawback to Thanksgiving. Twenty percent cited the travel, 16 percent said the expense and 14 percent said the hassle of cooking a large meal.

TRAVEL TRENDS
114 Miles: Approximate Average distanced traveled
70% Will not scale back travel this year
71% Don't consider the cost of
travel a factor when making plans
89% Will travel by car
8% Will drive instead of fly this Thanksgiving
39% Find high gas prices least appealing aspect of
Thanksgiving travel
HOLIDAY SENTIMENTS
73% Enjoy visiting with family or loved ones
11% Enjoy a big turkey dinner
6% Like watching the football games
22% Worry about putting on weight from overeating
14% Find the hassle of cooking a large meal biggest drawback
30% Are considering asking guests to bring potluck to cut
food costs

Almost Half Will Consider Cost of Food This Season

While the majority (52 percent) of respondents said they will not pay closer attention to the cost of buying their Thanksgiving meal this year, 46 percent of respondents said they will. Two percent of respondents said they may pay more attention.

When asked which of the following they would consider doing, given the economy, to cut the cost of Thanksgiving:

-- 47 percent said nothing -- tradition is priceless;

-- 30 percent said they would consider asking guests to bring a dish for a potluck-style Thanksgiving meal;

-- 28 percent said they would consider cutting other expenses so that they can maintain their traditions;

-- 15 percent said they would consider not serving food beyond traditional Thanksgiving fare such as turkey, stuffing, pie;

-- 10 percent said they would consider cutting back on the number of guests they invite; and

-- Six percent said they do not know.

About the Discover Card Thanksgiving Survey

Discover Card's Thanksgiving Survey canvassed a total of 1,000 adults (500 males and 500 females) by telephone. The research was conducted from October 2-5, 2008 by Opinion Research Corporation.

About Discover Financial Services

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a leading credit card issuer and electronic payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. The company operates the Discover Card, America's cash rewards pioneer. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. Its payments businesses consist of the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.discoverfinancial.com.

SOURCE: Discover Financial Services

Mai Lee Ua
Discover Financial Services
(224) 405-3082