In the past few years, there has been a major evolution within the digital landscape that has fundamentally changed the global paradigm of how and where customers interact with products and services, according to Mary Hines, Managing Director and Global Head of Citi Rewards.

As a result, Citi ThankYou Rewards loyalty program has taken off from a global perspective. Hines discussed this theme during her session, “Next Generation Loyalty: The Journey of Citi ThankYou Rewards To Achieve Heightened Engagement and Personalization Within an Increasingly Digital World,” at the 9th annual Loyalty Expo, presented by Loyalty360 – The Association for Customer Loyalty.

Since 2004, Citi ThankYou Rewards has offered Citi card members earning power across the entire banking relationship–from personal and corporate credit card purchases to their checking accounts–and access to millions of rewards, from travel to merchandise and gift cards. But as the landscape has become increasingly digital, the ThankYou Rewards program has undergone tremendous shifts to ensure that customers are engaged and rewarded through channels that are meaningful and personalized to them.

Hines said Citi’s mission is to offer the industry’s pre-eminent loyalty program. Until about five years ago, Hines said, Citi ThankYou Rewards wasn’t a priority program within the business and, as a result, saw low customer engagement and satisfaction. But, during the past five years, the company has substantially heightened the competitiveness of the program and is committed to delivering a program that engages card members and ensures their continued relationship with the Citi brand.

“Reps are rewarded for being advocates, which makes it a better program,” Hines explained to attendees. “We make the program locally relevant with the same flexible template. We continue to look further at embracing digital properties.”

Today, 64% of Americans own a smartphone, according to recent research by the Pew Research Centre. With this new ability to interact with anything, anytime, anywhere, customers have a heightened expectation of how they want to interact with their loyalty program and it’s up to us to meet and exceed this expectation.

Hines said Citi has worked very hard to ensure that ThankYou emails and the digital catalog are mobile-optimized for smartphone consumption. This omnichannel approach has been crucial for sustained engagement, as member engagement with the digital catalog outpaces the print catalog by 2x.

There are about 23 million global Citi ThankYou Rewards customers, leveraging a common platform in nine markets, including the U.S., Hines said. According to a Citi Cards Consumer Perspectives Study, 86% of respondents said that it’s more important for them to have a credit card with a rewards program now than it was five years ago.

Why Rewards Engagement is Important?

Here are some key statistics from Hines:
-Average spend annualized: A redeemer spends 3.5 times more than a non-redeemer
-Average spend wallet time annualized is 1.5 times more
-Average revenue annualized 1.3 times more
-Rewards integrated across loyalty assets: Private pass (Live Nation); philanthropy; corporate sponsorship: and getting the best deal

“Citi has seen a 25% increase in our global customer base interacting with us via mobile from 2014 to 2015,” Hines said.

The program’s transformation provides relevance in a digital world, enabling seamless redemption where customers are.

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