Modern loyalty programs began in the travel industry, not to reward best customers, but to identify them.

In the antediluvian 1980s, airlines did not know their customers by name; travel agents owned the customer relationship. Frequent flier programs offered rewards in exchange for the ability to identify, track and market to customers based on their behavior.

But while the technology of the day allowed marketers to acquire, process, store and access data about their customers, the equipment and processing were very....

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