Paid loyalty programs are filled with savings and benefits, which are then bought by customers at a fraction of the true cost. And they’re gaining momentum in popularity. Why are they so popular with customers? And what makes a paid loyalty program successful?
Larger brands need customer loyalty. In their race for support, a new evolution in loyalty programs has cropped up. Free loyalty programs are everywhere. In fact, how many keychain cards are hanging out with your keys right now? With the prevalence of these free programs, paid loyalty programs become vastly more attractive to customers.
It's proven that customers who pay for a specific savings program tend to be more loyal to that brand. With paid loyalty programs, companies create “customer engagement, customer loyalty, and incremental revenue,” according to Chris Duncan, CMO for Inte Q. With these newer paid loyalty programs, you build a unique and special relationship with a specific brand.
The complexity of the savings in these programs correlates directly with the cost of the membership. Fortunately, you get what you pay for. You see, the more a paid loyalty membership costs, the more savings you'll attain.
Here are a few of the more successful paid loyalty programs (in no particular order):
Hilton – Hilton HHonors
Cost: Pay to play
Basic Benefits: Earn and spend special points through hotel, restaurant, and shopping destinations.
• Earn Hilton rewards points by staying at a Hilton hotel, using a specified credit card, through traveling, shopping, and eating at select restaurants. You can even exchange points from a different rewards program.
• Spend those Hilton HHonors points at hotels, concerts, vacation packages, traveling, transportation, shopping, and dining at memorable spots all over the globe.
Restrictions: Restrictions apply.
Amazon – Amazon Prime Membership
Basic Benefits: Amazon Prime features one of the best loyalty programs out there. In fact, it is so successful, Prime members spend almost $1000 more per year through this site, on average.
- Access to over 800,000 free e-books, through Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
- Shop for groceries and home supplies on Prime Pantry, and get the full order shipped for $5.99.
- Amazon Mom lets you save on product subscriptions like baby wipes and diapers.
- Share the perks of Amazon Prime with family and friends (who share your address) with Membership sharing. It allows your friends and family to have access to Prime shipping.
Restrictions: Amazon Student memberships don’t include all of the perks and benefits listed above. You can also opt out of Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping in exchange for a credit toward the purchase of music, videos, and e-books.
TCC - Platinum Pass
Basic Benefits: Make your experience more smooth with your new access to a range of paid services, including phone-drying membership, extra discounts, and credits.
- Access to Redux – a phone-drying membership service
- Access to Ready? Go!
- $25 Phobio credit – above current trade-in value with a minimum value of $25
- Exclusive member notification system
- $50 credit to last device payment or invoice credit
- 10% off select accessories - can be applied to Play Away, Stack and Save, and added to VZW ELU discounts (up to 25%)
GameStop – GameStop PowerUp Rewards Pro Membership
Basic Benefits: Receive savings on games, free entry into contests, and points towards purchases.
- 250-point Pro enrollment bonus
- Two Epic Reward Giveaway entries
- Buy 2, Get 1 free welcome certificate – good on any pre-owned games and accessories.
- All purchases receive a 10% bonus
- Trade-in credits receive a 10% bonus
- Pre-owned games and accessories get a 10% bonus
- 10% off new Strategy Guides
- One year of Game Informer magazine.
Restrictions: Subject to credit approval. One-time bonus will be applied to all Basic and Pro memberships.
AMC - Stubs Program
Basic Benefits: You’ll gain access to discounts and food rebates with a Stubs membership. What better way to enjoy your movie-going experience?
- $10 reward credit for every $100 spent.
- Free one-size upgrades on popcorn and fountain drinks.
- Online ticket purchase fees are waived.
- Access to your online ticket stub collection – part scrapbook, part time machine.
Restrictions: Reward credits expire after 90 days. Food upgrades are not applicable to combos.
Clearly, members and companies both benefit. Members get an exclusive relationship with a brand through savings and value. Companies have the loyalty of customers, who will return to their store for savings. It’s a positive scenario for both parties.