When it comes to loyalty program engagement, customers are often looking not only for easy ways to earn points but to redeem them as well. Friction during the redemption process results in customers that place less value in the program, thereby hurting this engagement and, consequently, overall loyalty. Armed with a new redemption program made possible through a partnership with Visa, however, hotel chain La Quinta Inns & Suites is looking to make the redemption process as seamless as any other purchase.
The La Quinta Returns loyalty program kicked off its Redeem Away! benefit on Friday, giving members the chance to link their accounts to an eligible Visa card. Once linked, the customer can use points on qualifying purchases at a variety of locations, including fast food, bookstores, grocery stores, and discount shops.
“Redeem Away! is part of La Quinta's ongoing initiative to drive engagement with the brand by investing in points of differentiation in our loyalty program, La Quinta Returns,” said Keith Cline, La Quinta’s president and chief executive officer. “Hotel loyalty program members told us they want more value from their points and to be able to redeem them after their first stay with us. We created this innovative benefit for our members, allowing them to redeem La Quinta Returns points anytime for lots of everyday purchases with their linked Visa credit card and mobile phone.”
Unlike most other programs, customers don’t need to proactively determine when and where to use their points. Instead, shoppers receive a text after making a qualified purchase, asking if they’d like to retroactively use points instead of cash. If the customer accepts, points are deducted from their La Quinta Rewards account and a credit is applied to their Visa card, seamlessly redeeming points for the customer on everyday purchases.
“Today, whether walking into a physical store or searching online, customers expect to move quickly and easily between the online and offline experiences – especially with the brands they regularly use and trust,” said Doug Rappoport, vice president, global offers and loyalty, Visa Inc. “La Quinta’s Redeem Away! program uses Visa's Rewards Redemption platform to deliver on this expectation by giving La Quinta Returns members the ability to easily redeem their points for qualifying purchases, online and in-store – with a linked Visa credit card and a mobile phone. Visa is proud to have La Quinta be the first in the travel industry to use our platform to deliver this truly innovative experience to its members.”
Making redemption this easy goes a long way in increasing loyalty program engagement. With “Redeem Away!” La Quinta is turning point redemption into almost an afterthought, making the currency significantly more ubiquitous and increasing the overall value of the program. 

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