Programs (it’s all about programs today!)
 
18 Best Loyalty Programs in Retail
Business Insider has published a list of “18 retailers with the best loyalty programs.” Big names like Target and CVS made the list, along with some that might surprise you. Check it out.
 
The Vitamin Shoppe Launches Revamped Loyalty Program
The Vitamin Shoppe has launched a revamped version of its Healthy Awards loyalty program. “The new loyalty program is made up of three levels of points-earning power, enabling customers to earn awards up to 50 percent faster as they move from Bronze to Silver and Gold levels based on their annual spend. The program provides more flexibility for active members, including points that do not expire. Additionally, members can choose when to redeem awards. After making a purchase and earning points, they are given the option to have awards issued automatically or accumulate points for a larger award.” Letting consumers choose their own rewards is often a good strategy, as it enables them to better see the value that a program brings them.
 
United Continues Industry Trend by Eliminating Award Chart
United has done away with its award chart, in favor of “fluid award pricing.” “The airline is continuing the precedent that Delta pioneered, that loyalty programs no longer need to be as lucrative for passengers as they once were. As airline executives have suggested, it is not as difficult today as when loyalty programs were first created to fill planes with not just paying customers, but customers willing to pay much more than before to get where they want to go.” We’ll have to wait to see how much this affects customer retention.
 
Is It Time for International Frequent-Flyer Programs?
At Bloomberg, Eric Rosen takes note of the changes United has made and advises that consumers try “pledging loyalty to an international carrier. Thanks to extensive partner networks, it’s a viable strategy even for those who travel predominantly within the US.”
 
The Ups and Downs of Credit Card Points
Younger consumers are the most likely to actively pursue credit card points, but that can create problems for them. “While rewards cards can be enticing with their offers of ‘free’ money, they typically have higher annual percentage rates (APRs) and annual fees associated with them than other types of credit cards. That makes chasing points a potentially dangerous game: You could end up spending more than you had planned, the points might expire or be capped or an annual fee could wipe out any rewards you do earn.” Customer loyalty is always compromised when a program has the potential to punish members for their engagement.
 

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