Loyalty Programs
 
IHG Extends Rewards Club Membership Status Until 2022
 
Intercontinental Hotels Group has announced it is extending its membership statuses in its loyalty programs. The IHG Rewards Club is extending these membership statuses through January 2022.
 
Spire Elite members can also now choose an annual benefit of 25,000 bonus points or being able to gift Platinum Elite status to someone for a year as part of this extension. The brand has also loosened its criteria for earning elite status through the end of 2020. There are a few other changes, which include:
 

  • Points expiry has been paused until December 31, 2020 for club members.
  • Complimentary three-month membership extensions to members of the InterContinental Ambassador program that became effective on March 15.
  • Three-month extensions on outstanding Weekend Night Certificates for members of the InterContinental Ambassador program.
  • Extension of expiration dates for anniversary certificates for members in the United States and United Kingdom that are set to expire in 2020. All certificates expiring from March 1 can be used through December 31, 2020.
  • All certificates issued in 2020 will have 18-month redemption periods.
 
Grocery
 
Kroger Launches Contactless Payment Option, Kroger Pay
 
Launched on April 27, Kroger Mid-Atlantic introduced a new payment method called Kroger Pay. Kroger Pay will be linked to the customer’s loyalty information and eliminates the need for customers to use their credit or debit card and instead uses a QR code on the customer’s mobile device that can be scanned for payment. Kroger Mid-Atlantic says customers interested in Kroger Pay should make sure they have the most recent version of the Kroger app downloaded and then look in the ‘More Menu’ to see Kroger Pay as an option.
 
Retail
 
Digital Shopping Spurs Sales for Target
 
Due to the pandemic, Target has seen its in-store sales drop, but its digital sales have skyrocketed 275 percent according to a Market Watch report linked in the article above. Overall, according to the article above, Target has seen its April sales rise by five percent since a year ago.
 
Also, the article above paraphrases the report saying that Target expects profitability to be affected in multiple ways, such as inventory write-downs and investments in pay and benefits. The brand also announced it had extended its $2 an hour wage increase through the end of May.
 
Travel
 
Airbnb Introduces New Cleaning Guidelines
 
Airbnb has introduced a new “enhanced cleaning initiative” starting this month, which includes a 24-hour vacancy period between bookings. This protocol will have a learning and certification program to help the community be as safe as possible. “As a society, we need to observe the physical distancing recommendations made by public health officials while finding ways to preserve and strengthen human connection. I’m looking forward to helping the Airbnb community as it develops a health and science-based approach for safe travel lodging and experiences. These approaches will continue to evolve as our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 grows,” said Dr. Vivek Murthy in an Airbnb press release. He also led the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and responses to Ebola and Zika outbreaks, hurricanes, and health care shortages, among others.
 
Airlines
 
Airlines Ask Travelers and Flight Attendants to Wear Face Coverings
 
JetBlue has mandated that all passengers and flight attendants must wear face coverings. Multiple airlines, like American Airlines and Delta, have also said they are going to require thousands of employees to wear face masks and will give them to passengers as well. “Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting those around you,” said JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty in the CNBC article linked above. “This is the new flying etiquette.”
 
 

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