According to a study from Chase Bank this summer has been laden with hotel stays, fast food meals, and topping up the tank. This study tracked Chase Freedom cardholders in order to observe their  road trip spending habits.

The Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index tracks Chase Freedom cardholder spending. A study of recent data gathered from the Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index shows that summer road trip spending seems to be gathering speed, despite the slow economy.

This is, of course, a good sign that consumer confidence may be up in light of lacking improvements in the recovery.

Perhaps, however, the study simply shows that people are willing to keep up their family traditions regardless of how much financial strain it will place on the family. After all, the family road-trip is one of the most celebrated summer pastimes.

Along with the simple aspect of travel, a base cost, families will also spend money on things like fast food dinners to stay on the road and hotel stays along the way. They will charge all of these things to a credit (and sometimes debit) card. Smart consumers will use a credit card that offers rewards or rebates on these kinds of purchases.

The Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index study shows a 3 percent reduction in airline spending this past summer since the beginning of the year. When you consider that travel spending has remained low since 2011 it should surprise you that, it seems, road trip spending is up by alarming numbers over the past year.

To be more specific, the Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index study provides evidence that family spending on gas, hotels, and fast food reached, on average, approximately $367 between April and June of this year. The study also examined other trends like which gender spent more on road trip expenses—not surprisingly, men spent more than women: $437.80 compared with $302.80, respectively.

In light of such interesting statistics, principals in the study also examine several other statistics that are definitely worth noting. For example, the study shows that the highest number of charges registered from South Dakota which was followed by more states in the Midwest.

South Dakota rang in at an average spending of $476.90 with Wisconsin following close behind at $472.50 and Indiana at $468.80. The study also found that the 35-44 demographic spent more than any other age group and, not surprisingly, the 65+ age group spent the least, with an average of $269.00.

Chase Freedom is only one of two popular cash rewards credit cards on the market right now. The Discover More Card is the other, of course. Both cards offer rebates on summer spending by providing card carriers with maximum cash back benefits on a wide variety of rotating categories that change every few months. These cards offer five percent cash back on gas between the months of June and September but cardholders have to sign up for these categories in order to qualify for the $1500 maximum spending limit.

Because of the way these cards are set up, the rebate categories change every three months. Discover, then, provides their biggest cash rewards bonuses during these months on charges made towards gas, movies, and museums. The Chase Freedom card(s) earn the highest rewards on gas station and restaurant purchases.

Next on the list for Chase Freedom customers are airline, hotel, Kohl’s, and Best Buy purchases while Discover Card will offer the highest rebate on department stores, toy stores, electronic stores, and movie theaters (both of which honoring the period between October and December).

In conclusion, just a reminder: in order to take full advantage of these rewards you have to not only hold one of these two cards (Chase Freedom or Discover More) but you also have to opt in for the rewards.