An estimated 1.7 million people have used money reclaimed from mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) to treat themselves to a holiday, new research shows.

Almost a third (28%) of successful PPI claimants spent their compensation on a break away, according a survey released today by Mintel and British Airways Holidays.

Spending on a holiday was almost as popular as reducing or paying off debt (30%), which came top of the list, also well ahead of paying day-to-day bills and expenses (26%) and saving some of the money (15%).

Since payouts started on a huge scale in 2011, victims of mis-selling have recouped more than £15.5 billion out of a total £22.2 billion set aside by banks, Mintel estimates.

Holidays and large domestic purchases are more common purchases among those who received more than £1,000, compared to those who received less.

Reports this week have also said that banks have been ordered to reopen 2.5 million claims, clearing the way for further claims.

BA Holidays managing director Claire Bentley said: “It’s great to see people who have been unfairly charged using the money they are owed to enjoy a well deserved holiday, especially after so many people have had their budgets squeezed.

“Almost two-thirds of successful claimants have received over £1,000, which is more than enough to cover a week-long holiday abroad for a family of three or even four.”

Mintel senior travel analyst Harry Segal said: “The height of the scandal coincided with the financial downturn, at a time when many household budgets were stretched.

“The bonus of a compensation pay-out provided a much-needed boost to households, and offered some the chance to make purchases or decisions that would previously have been low on the priority list.”