Loyalty programs are designed with two primary focal points. One, to draw in repeat customers by offering discounts and other subsidies so that they stay loyal to the brand, and two, to create a large customer database. There are also other benefits to the service provider and that is to get customers to opt for them when there is a sea of choice for any service. From the customer’s point of view, if you stick to one brand and keep purchasing or using their services frequently, you can make big discounts and get attractive offers from the service provider. Almost every brand or service now has some sort of reward program to encourage loyalty and many customers have, in the time they spend with the brand, reaped many benefits.
The concept of loyalty rewards have been around for a long time, but have gained a new traction of popularity with a famous Oscar nominated movie released in 2009. The protagonist is a man who lives out of a suitcase is obsessed with collecting all kinds of rewards from various airlines, hotels and car services around the country. Even though a lot of what was portrayed in the film was fictional, such extreme loyalty is definitely rewarded by companies and being a special customer comes with perks.
Listed below are a few such loyalty rewards programs that featured in the Forbes magazine for being awarded as the best across sectors around the world, voted by the customers themselves.
Airline frequent flier programs
The industry’s best reward program was awarded to American Airlines for its A Advantage program. This program offered eight free one way upgrades to its platinum members and many other benefits for frequent passengers. United Airlines Mileage Plus was awarded the second place. American Airlines won both categories of best program and outstanding benefit.
Hotel loyalty rewards
In this category, the outstanding benefit award was given to Marriott’s ‘Marriott Reward’ program for their concierge lounges and complimentary drink and food.
The best program was awarded to ‘Starwood Preferred Guest’ of the Starwood hotels group, which runs the Sheraton, Westin and W hotels around the world.
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards won both categories in the car rental category in every region under which it was nominated, thanks to its Gold Reward that comprised of free upgrades, quick reservations, speedy pick up and VIP treatment all rolled into one benefit.
FlyerTalk, a travel website based on loyalty programs, hands out these awards every year after members of the site vote for the best program in each category.