7 of the latest brands to launch loyalty programs
At the beginning of the year, we talked about some of the trends that we believed would shape customer loyalty this year.
Several brands launched a new loyalty scheme in the past few months, and many others decided to revamp the loyalty schemes they already had in place.
Some of these trends were increased use of gamification elements and “new-world rewards”, such as NFTs and web3-related experiences; a smoother user experience, and brands providing more value via rewards.
Let’s take a look at the biggest launches and revamps in loyalty programs recently and see if some of the trends we identified were in fact what shaped these programs!
One Key is free to join, and members can reach various tiers by amassing trip elements such as flights, nights at hotels, and vacation rentals.
Here are some of the key elements of Expedia’s new reward scheme:
Users can easily earn and burn points on all three platforms. This is especially useful if you want to target younger generations: they expect a seamless experience in which they can interact with your loyalty program on any channel, at any time.
Aspirational tier structure
Perks get increasingly better with higher status, for instance, silver members receive priority travel support, while Platinum members get the most perks, including $100 off hotels to celebrate the launch of One Key.
Expedia says it’s easy enough to earn status so that frequent and casual travellers alike can all benefit from the loyalty program.
To advance to the Silver tier, members need to collect five trip elements within a year.
Easy-to-understand rules are one of the main things you should keep in mind when introducing a new loyalty program: an easy-to-understand formula and clear communications improve customer relationships.
A great idea to implement is to create a dedicated and easy-to-understand section in your app, microsite, or website where you explain how points and rewards are earned and burnt.
To learn more about the importance of UX in your loyalty program, check out our dedicated blog post.
Lufthansa already had a loyalty program, but this year decided to simplify its structure to offer a clearer, more transparent earning system for achieving and retaining their statuses.
The company will offer greater rewards, and the most loyal passengers will be eligible for the new Frequent Traveller Lifetime status in addition to the existing Senator Lifetime status.
Here are some of the main elements of Lufthansa’s updated reward scheme:
Miles & More members will be awarded points instead of status miles for their flights, with how many points customers earn for each flight depending on the travel class and whether the flight is continental or intercontinental.
Long-standing frequent flyers will qualify for Frequent Traveller Lifetime and Senator Lifetime status in future, based on the sum of all points earned on flights.
More than one way to get rewarded
Miles & More award miles continue to be awarded both on everyday purchases and when travelling - for flights, rental cars, and hotel stays.
Lufthansa is also planning to launch a Web3-type rewards program, aiming to reward passengers with collectable digital cards in recognition of specific trips and to offer users the opportunity to exchange these cards with others to complete collections and obtain rewards.
Each collection has a variety of unique cards and, when completed, will grant exclusive rewards, including vouchers for business lounge access, free airline miles, and frequent traveller status upgrades.
Much like Lufthansa, Subway already had a loyalty program in place, but in 2023 the company announced a renewal of its reward program.
The new loyalty program has three tier levels that members can enjoy with their own slate of rewards and benefits. The tiers are divided into Pro, Captain, and All-Star. Loyalty members move up the different levels by how much they spend at Subway per year.
A tiered loyalty program is a great way to increase engagement and motivate members to interact more with the brand, especially for a quick service restaurant like Subway: the frequency of purchase is often high, so the perception of achievability is higher for members.
Tiered loyalty programs are an amazing way to build long-lasting customer loyalty: they tend to be more stable and predictable, and customers see the advantages of committing to your brand, motivating them to return again and again.
Want to know more about tiered loyalty programs? Check out our dedicated blog post and our guide!
Virgin Active’s new launch of its Virgin Active App and Virgin Active Rewards program aims to make a healthy lifestyle more accessible for members, enhancing their experience and engagement at the same time.
Virgin Active now rewards members with a fully integrated rewards program in the new app, offering a premium digital membership experience and rewards program for its 950,000 members across 238 clubs in eight countries.
Membership-based loyalty programs are slightly unconventional but can be extremely effective for the right business: the idea is to offer rewards so exclusive that customers must pay for them, making sure there is enough engagement to keep loyal customers around.
In this case, the program allows members to access their club, book classes, get real-time club information, and schedule sessions with personal trainers or physiotherapists, with over 350 hours of exclusive content across eight categories.
Paid loyalty programs can be highly successful, but brands should keep in mind they have many downsides, such as the fact that in this specific case, loyalty starts and ends with the customer’s willingness to pay for better services.
Etihad launched a new Web3 loyalty program called "Horizon Club" and will release a new expansion to its already available non-fungible token (NFT) collection, promising holders new benefits such as Etihad Guest Silver Tier Status, priority check-in, and lounge access.
Miles earned can then be redeemed for flights, upgrades and other perks, and the program promises several benefits for NFT holders, including Etihad Guest Silver Tier Status, priority check-in, lounge access, and the chance to earn points by staking their assets.
NFTs could be an amazing way to create unique experiences without being restricted to traditional formats: brands can make anything into a digital token, creating an exclusive community and increasing the variety of rewards and experiences that members get.
In the past months, Domino’s launched a revamped version of its loyalty program, giving members rewards faster and offering tiered redemption options.
The program lets consumers order pizzas via its mobile application or online to begin earning points redeemable for free menu items. One order worth $10 or more is equivalent to 10 points.
Some of the key elements of Domino’s improved reward scheme include:
Members can sign up for the program to start collecting rewards and receiving member-only promotions, discounts, and special opportunities to earn bonus points.
Tiered rewards options
Customers can choose to redeem 20 points for a free product, or wait until they gather more points to redeem greater rewards.
Wizz Air recently launched WIZZ Discount Club Light, a new loyalty scheme that offers customers exclusive inflight discounts, available both in the Wizz Air app and online.
The program provides a range of offers, including special onboard coupons and promotions for the WIZZ Café and Boutique. Unsurprisingly for a budget airline, customers can join the program without paying any fees.
Members of Wizz’s existing clubs are automatically eligible for the new rewards.
The new program aims to increase engagement from customers with unique discounts such as special buys on perfume or beverage discounts.
The above-mentioned brands have been heavily investing in loyalty this year, and they all put in place some strategies to attract and retain more customers.
It’s clear that a lot of companies thought it important to offer new types of rewards and a smoother and more seamless user experience to their customers, and that tiered loyalty programs are still highly sought after and effective.
There’s a big focus on experience optimization, making rewards and higher tiers more achievable: modifying reward rules is critical to the success of loyalty programs, especially with such a high level of standard offered by other brands.
If you're not already offering a rewards program, or if your current program isn't working for your customers or clients, now is the time to think about loyalty.
Get in touch with us to scope out your loyalty strategy.
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Content Marketing Executive
Sara is our Content Marketing Executive. She shares engaging and informative content, helping businesses stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in loyalty...