Loyalty program

Various loyalty cards

A loyalty program is a marketing strategy designed to encourage customers to continue to shop at or use the services of a business associated with the program.[1] Today, such programs cover most types of commerce, each having varying features and rewards schemes, including in banking, entertainment, hospitality, retailing 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 plastic or paper card, visually similar to a credit card, that identifies the cardholder as a participant in the program. Cards may have a barcode or magstripe to more easily allow for scanning, although some are chip cards or proximity cards.

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 two-part tariff. 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 airport lounge 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.[2][3] Examples of such programs include Caesars Rewards[4] (formerly called Total Rewards[5]) and MGM Resorts International's Mlife.[6]

Loyalty programs have been described as a form of centralized virtual currency, one with unidirectional cash flow, since reward points can be exchanged into a good or service but not into cash.[7]

  1. ^ Sharp, Byron; Sharp, Anne (1997), "Loyalty programs and their impact on repeat-purchase loyalty patterns", International Journal of Research in Marketing, 14 (5): 473–486, doi:10.1016/S0167-8116(97)00022-0
  2. ^ Dow, Natasha (26 January 2012). "Issue 2 Crowds and Clouds » THE TOUCH-POINT COLLECTIVE: CROWD CONTOURING ON THE CASINO FLOOR". Limn.
  3. ^ Long, Emily (6 December 2018). "How Casinos Use Rewards Programs to Track Everything You Do". Lifehacker.
  4. ^ "Caesars Rewards". Caesars.com.
  5. ^ "Total Rewards Card". Las Vegas How To.
  6. ^ "Mlife". MGM Resorts.
  7. ^ European Central Bank (October 2012). "1" (PDF). Virtual Currency Schemes. Frankfurt am Main: European Central Bank. p. 5. ISBN 978-92-899-0862-7. Retrieved 5 March 2014.

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