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A loyalty program is a marketing strategy designed to encourage to continue to shop at or use the services of a associated with the program. Today, such programs cover most types of commerce, each having varying features and rewards schemes, including in banking, entertainment, hospitality, and travel.

A loyalty program typically involves the operator of a particular program set up an account for a customer of a business associated with the scheme, and then issue to the customer a loyalty card (variously called rewards card, points card, advantage card, club card, or some other name) which may be a or paper card, visually similar to a , that identifies the cardholder as a participant in the program. Cards may have a or to more easily allow for scanning, although some are or .

By presenting a card, customers typically receive either a discount on the current purchase or an allotment of points that they can use for future purchases. Hence, the card is the visible means of implementing a type of what economists call a . Application forms for cards usually entail agreements by the store concerning customer privacy, typically non-disclosure (by the store) of non-aggregate data about customers. The store uses aggregate data internally (and sometimes externally) as part of its marketing research. Over time the data can reveal, for example, a given customer's favorite brand of beer, or whether they are a vegetarian. Where a customer has provided sufficient identifying information, the loyalty card may also be used to access such information to expedite verification during receipt of cheques or dispensing medical prescription preparations, or for other membership privileges such as access to an using a frequent-flyer card. In recent years, businesses now offer these loyalty cards in the form of a loyalty app, which means users are less likely to lose their cards. Almost all major casino chains also have loyalty cards, which offer members tier credits, reward credits, comps, and other perks based on card members' "theo" from gambling, various demographic data, and spend patterns on various purchases at the casino, within the casino network, and with the casino's partners. Examples of such programs include Caesars Rewards (formerly called Total Rewards) and MGM Resorts International's Mlife.

Loyalty programs have been described as a form of centralized , one with unidirectional cash flow, since reward points can be exchanged into a good or service but not into cash.

(2012). 9789289908627, European Central Bank.


History
's loyalty points program, introduced 1929, ended in 2006, one of the longest running loyalty programs. (1996) The Loyalty Effect, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, 1996.


By continent and country

Asia
  • Mainland China: The Social Credit System is a loyalty program operated by state and private businesses. Individuals with high social credit scores can get faster Internet, use high-speed trains, and take mainland flights.
  • Hong Kong: Octopus Rewards, .MTR Club for regular customers of Different chain stores under common ownership often share the same loyalty program, such as A.S. Watson Group's MoneyBack, which can be used at , , and Fortress stores, as well as the corporation's retail partners. HKT's The Club also offers a similar loyalty program. Flag airline carrier operates , a loyalty and frequent-flyer program.
  • India: PAYBACK India is 's largest coalition loyalty program. German loyalty program operator took a controlling interest in i-mint in June 2010 and renamed the program PAYBACK India in July 2011. BPCL's PetroBonus fuel card program has 2 million members. 's fleet card program XTRAPOWER and retail program XTRAREWARDS claim a combined customer base of 3 million.
  • Iran: The first loyalty program launched in 1996. East Credit Card Group Kish launched its loyalty program in 2005.
  • Malaysia: Genting Highlands Resort loyalty card, , is valid in three countries: Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
  • Philippines: and offer rewards cards which are accepted by The SM Store, , , and . also offers a loyalty program through the Go Rewards app (formerly known as the Robinsons Rewards card). Others are , (HappyPlus card), and 's Suki Card.
  • Singapore: Loyalty programs in Singapore include GrabRewards by Grab, SAFRA and Plus! from NTUC.


Europe
  • Austria: The two largest loyalty programs in are Payback and mo. JÖ was fully launched in 2019.
  • Finland: The two major retail coalitions with loyalty programs are the with their S-Etukortti card) and with K-Plussa (67%).
  • Georgia: Georgia's biggest loyalty card program has been run by Universal Card Corporation since 2010 via .
  • Germany: The largest loyalty program is Payback, launched in 2000. and the Shell ClubSmart program are next in size. was launched by in 2008. HappyDigits was disbanded by 2010.
  • Hungary: SuperShop and Multipoint are their main loyalty programs.
  • Italy: After the exit of Nectar from the market in 2015, Payback is the most popular loyalty program. Supermarkets Esselunga, Coop and Il Gigante also have loyalty programs.
  • Latvia: One of the largest loyalty programs in Latvia which is working as an operator for many merchants is Pins. Another is Walmoo
  • Norway: The largest Norwegian loyalty program is . Trumf is a «brick and mortar» loyalty program owned by , a grocery wholesaling group in Norway. KickBack.no is one of the largest online loyalty programs and cashback sites in Norway. KickBack.no is owned by .
  • Republic of Ireland: introduced its SuperClub loyalty card in 1993, the prototype for Europe. However, loyalty cards did not expand until 1997, when introduced its Clubcard scheme, shortly after its purchase of Power Supermarkets. SuperValu introduced their own loyalty club called Real Rewards. Others were:
    • During the late 1990s— petrol program were: Tiger Miles, , and . Increasing oil prices ended these in 2005.
    • Game, a major computer game and hardware retailer, which merged with Electronics Boutique's programme.
    • Rewards From Us To You, a hotel loyalty program
  • Russia: MALINA, "the largest multicorporate customer loyalty program in Russia," was launched in 2006 by Loyalty Partners Vostok. Another is Mnogo.ru.
  • Switzerland: Loyalty programs are popular in , with the two main supermarket chains, and Coop prominent. The M-Cumulus card can be used at the Migros supermarkets, Ex Libris, SportXX, and other retailers. The Coop Supercard earns points on purchases at Coop and a variety of other associated stores. Other stores such as Interio, a furniture retailer, are also joining the market with loyalty cards and store-based incentivized credit cards. The only coalition loyalty scheme in Switzerland is Bonus Card with a network of over 300 independent retail partners. Finaccord List of Global Loyalty Programs. Retrieved 1 March 2016 In recent years, online loyalty programs have also started to target the Swiss. First to make an offering in Switzerland was German-based Webmiles. Claiming to be Switzerland's first online bonus program, Bonuspoints was launched in early 2008 and offers incentives for shopping at 70 different online stores.
  • Turkey: has a loyalty program called Pegasus Plus which gives rewards for every flight. Passengers can spend reward points as a discount without waiting to cover a full flight. has a loyalty program called Miles&Smiles.
  • United Kingdom: Passcard (later renamed Passkey) was in the early 1980s. Sainsbury's Spend and Save Card was another early 1980s loyalty card. A later program, 's ClubCard, was criticized for not offering value for money. suggested that the real benefit of loyalty cards to UK outlets is the massive marketing research database potential they offer. is another program. Many stores have kiosks that, with the cards, print vouchers that can be used at the till.
    ABC Card was discontinued in 2000. Maximiles is an online coalition program.
    Formerly operated by , was the most popular flight-related loyalty program in the UK A re-brand of the program in 2011 from Airmiles to Avios caused controversy as members were now required to pay taxes and fees on flights they used for redemption.

Co-operative Membership: the Co-op Group offers a 2% (previously 5%) refund to members on Co-op branded products with 2% also going to the cardholder's nominated charity. This is only available in Co-op Group stores. It replaced the dividend benefit previously used.


North America
  • Canada: 's Canadian Tire money is the oldest loyalty program in the company gives out coupons which look like currency is Canada' Https://www.timhortons.ca/timsrewards< /ref>
  • United States: In the US, loyalty cards have a long history. Some are only online. Some partner with classic credit cards. Frequent-flyer programs and, less commonly SeaMiles co-exist with programs that donate a percentage of sales to a designated charity. Some American retailers either have not implemented these cards, or eliminated them, in favor of discounts for all shoppers. Few states regulate club cards. As an example, supermarkets in are subject to the Supermarket Club Card Disclosure Act of 1999.
  • Mexico: Bonvoy is a hotel-oriented loyalty program.


Oceania
Flybuys is the largest loyalty program in both Flybuys (Australia) and .Flybuys (New Zealand)
  • Australia: Contenders include Woolworths, 's MYER one program, the Priceline Club Card, Club, Millers Retail Club, and the BB Retail Capital Pulse Rewards program.
  • New Zealand: Other programs include the New Zealand Automobile Association AA Smartfuel programme and Countdown supermarket's Onecard. was a short-lived "card free" programme.


Mobile loyalty programs

Mobile online loyalty programs
There has been a move away from traditional magnetic card, stamp, or punchcard based schemes to online and mobile online loyalty programs. While these schemes vary, the common element is a push toward eradication of a traditional card, in favour of an electronic equivalent. The choice of medium is often a . Some prominent examples are Austrian based mobile-pocket established in 2009, the US-based Punchd (discontinued from June 2013,), which became part of in 2011. and an Australian-based loyalty card application called Stamp Me which incorporates technology. Others, like Loopy Loyalty (HK), Loyalli (UK), (US), and Whisqr Loyalty (CA), have offered similar programs. Passbook by Apple is the first attempt to standardize the format of mobile loyalty cards.


Mobile off-line loyalty programs
With the introduction of host card emulation (HCE) and near field communication (NFC) technology for mobile applications, traditional contactless smart cards for prepaid and loyalty programs are emulated in a smartphone. adopted these technologies for mobile off-line payment applications.

The major advantage of off-line over the online system is that the user's smartphone does not have to be online, and the transaction is fast. In addition, multiple emulated cards can be stored in a smartphone to support multi-merchant loyalty programs. Consequently, the user does not need to carry many physical cards anymore.

The term also is used regarding linking rewards for online and offline purchases.


Disloyalty cards
In three cities, some independent coffee shops have set up experimental 'disloyalty card' programs, which reward customers for visiting a variety of coffee shops.


Criticism
Some companies complain that loyalty programs discount goods to people who are buying goods anyway. Moreover, the expense of participating in these programs rarely generates a good return on investment. The Forte Consultancy Group regards loyalty programs as . In the case of infrequent spenders, loyalty fees provide a means of discounts.

A 2015 study found that most supermarket loyalty cards in the United States do not offer any real value to their customers. Furthermore, commercial use of customers' – collected as part of loyalty programs – has the potential for abuse; it is highly likely that consumer purchases are tracked and used for marketing research to increase the efficiency of marketing and advertising, which is one of the purposes of offering the loyalty card. For some customers, participating in a loyalty program (even with a fake or anonymous card) funds activities that violate privacy. Consumers have also expressed concern about the integration of technology into loyalty-card systems.

One may view loyalty and credit-card reward-plans as modern-day examples of kickbacks. Compare:

(1990). 9781555201678, Bankers Publishing Company. .
Employees who need to buy something (such as an airline flight or a hotel room) for a , but who have discretion to decide which airline or hotel chain to use, have an incentive to choose the payment method that provides the most cash-back,
(1991). 9780962655203, Universalistic Publishers. .
credit-card rewards or loyalty points instead of minimizing costs for their employer.


See also

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