American Express’ latest global Trendex has found Australians across all generations are adopting creative spending strategies to continue enjoying experiences and purchases they love, despite cost-of-living pressures. 

Booking off-peak dinner reservations, cashing in loyalty points to pay for vacations, and renting, rather than purchasing, luxury goods are just some ways Australians continue to treat themselves.

According to the Amex Trendex, dining out remains high on the experience list for Australians with almost three-quarters (73%) saying they are dining out either the same amount or more often compared to last year. This jumps to 79% among Australian Gen Z and Millennials.

Of all Australians dining out, 34% say they typically dine out at fine dining restaurants – which is more than consumers from any other country surveyed including the US and UK – and 89% consider a trip to a restaurant as another way to treat themselves. 

As Australian consumers turn to smarter ways to dine, three-quarters (75%) agree that they seek out deals and promotions at restaurants when choosing where to dine out. Among families, 77% of Australian parents agree that they seek kids-eat-free venues. 62% agree they are happy to cover the cost of group bookings to rack-up more rewards points. 

Along with dining out, 98% of Australians say they plan to take a vacation this year. Most (92%) report having used a ‘travel hack’ in the last six months such as having a credit card that can earn points to be cashed in for travel rewards (66%), which increases to 72% among Millennials. 

When seeking travel inspiration, Australians more than consumers in any other country surveyed, use TV shows and movies to inform their next trip (48%). Meanwhile, 44% prefer to book a ticket to a destination because they saw it on social media.

American Express Australia vice president of travel and lifestyle services, Daniel Thomas said, “The latest Amex Trendex shows that Australians, even when faced with financial pressures, are finding innovative ways to enjoy the things that bring them joy – even when they come with a lofty price tag. We know that the way consumers define value has changed significantly over the years. It is no longer necessarily about how many or how often, it is about the quality of the experience or item.” 

Experiences aren’t the only way Australians are choosing to treat themselves, as 71% agree that luxury shopping is another way to do this. Luxury items are purchased at least once per year among 69% of Australians and at least once per month among 33% of Australian consumers.  

While luxury shopping typically comes at a hefty price, Australians are navigating this by choosing to rent rather than purchase luxury items outright (28%). What’s more, 52% revealed they had sold a luxury item to upgrade to a newer item or style. Australians, more than consumers from any other country surveyed, are treating luxury purchases, such as shoes, handbags, and jewellery, as a financial investment, with 30% of Gen Z adopting this trend.