Engaging customers where they want and how they want is an omnipresent task for loyalty marketers.

Citi recently partnered with Paypal to allow eligible Citi card members to use their ThankYou Points to pay for purchases at merchants that accept PayPal in the U.S. What’s more, the partnership will change the way Citi’s 14 million ThankYou Rewards members are able to redeem their points.

Slated to launch in 2018, this latest development follows a series of new enhancements to Citi’s mobile offerings, including the ability to dispute certain credit card charges, view, or download PDF statements and track the steps of their replacement credit card delivery in real time within the Citi Mobile App.

Mary Hines, global head of Citi Rewards, talked to Loyalty360 about Citi’s new partnership.

“Offering our members new ways to redeem points how they want, when they want, and for what they want is core to the Citi ThankYou Rewards program,” Hines explained. “And increasingly, the ‘how they want’ is through mobile. Last year in the U.S. alone, Citi’s number of mobile app customers grew by 50 percent and mobile app downloads doubled so our focus is on increasingly servicing our customers by way of a mobile-first strategy. This expanded partnership with PayPal is fully aligned with this strategy and we’re excited to launch this functionality next year.”

Due to the partnership, Hines anticipates that mobile engagement will only continue to increase through the PayPal partnership.

“Through this partnership, we’re providing our 14 million ThankYou Rewards program members in the U.S. with the ability to purchase items online with ThankYou Points at millions of merchants that accept PayPal in the U.S.,” Hines explained.

Customer feedback was an integral factor in launching the partnership.

“We are constantly engaged in a dialogue with our customers and they play a significant role in our strategy,” Hines said. “They are increasingly telling us that they want to interact with us in their channel of choice, which is more and more in the palm of their hands, through mobile. And our consistent evolution of ThankYou Rewards reflects this through mobile-optimized emails and a digital catalog as well as the integration of redemption options–from gift cards to travel to statement credits–directly within the Citi Mobile App. An ongoing conversation with consumers has unquestionably become part of our DNA.”

Mobile customer engagement is “absolutely critical” at Citi.

“Digital is the largest service channel within Citi’s Global Consumer Bank and mobile is quickly becoming the channel of choice for customers,” Hines added. “Finding creative, innovative solutions to ensure that the mobile experience is seamless and makes our customers’ lives simpler, easier, and better is top of mind for us at Citi.”

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