Loyalty program
Loyalty programs are structured marketing
Loyalty marketing
Loyalty marketing is an approach to marketing, based on strategic management, in which a company focuses on growing and retaining existing customers through incentives...

 efforts that reward, and therefore encourage, loyal buying behavior — behavior which is potentially beneficial to the firm.
In marketing
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments...

 generally and in retailing
Retail consists of the sale of physical goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be...

 more specifically, a loyalty card, rewards card, points card, advantage card, or club card is a plastic or paper card, visually similar to a credit card or debit card, that identifies the card holder as a member in a loyalty program. Loyalty cards are a system of the loyalty business model
Loyalty business model
The loyalty business model is a business model used in strategic management in which company resources are employed so as to increase the loyalty of customers and other stakeholders in the expectation that corporate objectives will be met or surpassed...

. In the United Kingdom it is typically called a loyalty card, in Canada a rewards card or a points card, and in the United States either a discount card, a club card or a rewards card. Cards typically have a barcode
A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data, which shows data about the object to which it attaches. Originally barcodes represented data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or 1 dimensional . Later they evolved into rectangles,...

 or magstripe that can be easily scan
Scan may refer to:Acronyms:*Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry , a psychiatric diagnostic tool developed by WHO*Shared Check Authorization Network , a database of bad check writers and collection agency for bad checks...

ned, and some are even chip cards. Small keyring cards (also known as keytags) which serve as key fobs are often used for convenience in carrying and ease of access.

A retail establishment or a retail group may issue a loyalty card to a consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

 who can then use it as a form of identification when dealing with that retailer. By presenting the card, the purchaser is typically entitled to either a discount
Discounts and allowances
Discounts and allowances are reductions to a basic price of goods or services.They can occur anywhere in the distribution channel, modifying either the manufacturer's list price , the retail price , or the list price Discounts and allowances are reductions to a basic price of goods or services.They...

 on the current purchase, or an allotment of points that can be used for future purchases. Hence, the card is the visible means of implementing a type of what economists call a two-part tariff
Two-part tariff
A two-part tariff is a price discrimination technique in which the price of a product or service is composed of two parts - a lump-sum fee as well as a per-unit charge. In general, price discrimination techniques only occur in partially or fully monopolistic markets...


The card issuer requests or requires customers seeking the issuance of a loyalty card to provide a usually minimal amount of identifying or demographic
Demographics are the most recent statistical characteristics of a population. These types of data are used widely in sociology , public policy, and marketing. Commonly examined demographics include gender, race, age, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, employment status, and even location...

The term data refers to qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables. Data are typically the results of measurements and can be the basis of graphs, images, or observations of a set of variables. Data are often viewed as the lowest level of abstraction from which...

, such as name and address. Application forms usually entail agreements by the store concerning customer privacy
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively...

, typically non-disclosure (by the store) of non-aggregate data
Aggregate data
In statistics, aggregate data describes data combined from several measurements.In economics, aggregate data or data aggregates describes high-level data that is composed of a multitude or combination of other more individual data....

 about customers. The store — one might expect — uses aggregate data internally (and sometimes externally) as part of its marketing research
Marketing research
Marketing research is "the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information — information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve...

. These cards can be used to determine, for example, a given customer's favorite brand of beer, or whether he or she is 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 of medical prescription
Medical prescription
A prescription is a health-care program implemented by a physician or other medical practitioner in the form of instructions that govern the plan of care for an individual patient. Prescriptions may include orders to be performed by a patient, caretaker, nurse, pharmacist or other therapist....

 preparations, or for other membership privileges (e.g., access to a club lounge in airports, using a frequent flyer card).

Loyalty programs are predominantly run by retailers and the service industry, but recent advances in proof of purchase
Proof of purchase
Proof of purchase is often required for sales promotions and manufacturer rebates as evidence that the customer purchased the product. When multiple purchases are required to redeem these rewards, it is referred to as a premium incentive or collector mechanic.Traditional proof of purchase systems...

 systems and supporting technology is now increasing participation by manufacturers of consumer products.


For information on historical loyalty programs, see Loyalty marketing history.

United States

In the U.S., several major supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

 and fish market chains and at least one major pharmacy
Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs...

 require the cards in order for customers to receive the advertised loyalty price. These include Smith's
Smith's Food and Drug
Smith's Food and Drug, commonly known as Smith's, is a chain of supermarkets in the Intermountain West and Southwest regions of the United States. Smith's operates 132 stores in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Smith's utilizes a combination food and drug center...

, Kroger
The Kroger Co. is an American supermarket chain founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It reported US$ 76.7 billion in sales during fiscal year 2009. It is the country's largest grocery store chain and its second-largest grocery retailer by volume and second-place general retailer...

 and Safeway
Safeway Inc.
Safeway Inc. , a Fortune 500 company, is North America's second largest supermarket chain after The Kroger Co., with, as of December 2010, 1,694 stores located throughout the western and central United States and western Canada. It also operates some stores in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Eastern...

 (each through both their own name and many of their regional chain names), Albertsons, Winn-Dixie
Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. is an American supermarket chain based in Jacksonville, Florida. Winn-Dixie has ranked number 24 in the 2010 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on 2009 fiscal year estimated sales of $7.3 billion by Supermarket News. and was ranked the 43rd largest retailer in the...

, Harris Teeter
Harris Teeter
Harris Teeter is a chain of supermarkets based in Matthews, North Carolina, just outside Charlotte. , the chain operates 207 stores in eight Southern states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.Harris Teeter is a...

, Ingles
Ingles Markets is an American regional supermarket chain based in Asheville, North Carolina. As of January 2011, The company operates 201 supermarkets in the Southeastern United States...

, Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle, Inc., is a supermarket chain with stores in the U.S. states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland. The company was founded in 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Supermarket News ranked Giant Eagle No. 21 in the 2009 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on 2008...

, Tops
Tops Markets LLC
Tops Friendly Markets is an American supermarket chain based in Williamsville, New York, with stores in the western and central regions of that state and in northern Pennsylvania-Early years:...

, and CVS/pharmacy. Many retailers allow accumulation of fuel discounts. Some have tie-ins with airline frequent-flyer programs, and some agree to donate a percentage of sales to a designated charity
Charitable trust
A charitable trust is an irrevocable trust established for charitable purposes, and is a more specific term than "charitable organization".-United States:...

. Most notably, Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000...

 does not have a loyalty card plan (though someone who purchases a gift card can generally get a 3 cent discount per gallon of gas at the fuel stations located on Wal-Mart premises).

The practice is also common among book and music retailers, from large chains to independent retailers. In some instances, the customer purchases the card and receives a percentage discount on all purchases for a period of time (often one year), while in other instances, a customer receives a one-time percentage discount upon reaching a specified purchase level. (For example, a bookseller's loyalty card program might provide a customer with a 10% off coupon once the customer has spent $200.00 at the bookseller.) Best Buy
Best Buy
Best Buy Co., Inc. is an American specialty retailer of consumer electronics in the United States, accounting for 19% of the market. It also operates in Mexico, Canada & China. The company's subsidiaries include Geek Squad, CinemaNow, Magnolia Audio Video, Pacific Sales, and, in Canada operates...

's loyalty program offers points redeemable for dollar-amount discounts after accumulating a set number of points along with other discounts from time to time, though the card is not required to receive their advertised price in most cases.

Independent hardware stores such as Ace Hardware
Ace Hardware
Ace Hardware Corporation is a hardware cooperative based in Oak Brook, Illinois, United States. ACE Hardware Corporation, with 4,444 stores, does over $3 billion in retail hardware sales annually down from its peak of $12.5 billion in 2007.-History:...

 and True Value
True Value
True Value Company is a retailer-owned hardware cooperative with over 5,000 independent retail locations worldwide. Members of the True Value cooperative own their individual stores and operate independently of True Value Company....

 added customer loyalty programs in order to compete more effectively against larger chains as well as gather customer data. In addition, office supply
Office Supply
Office Supply is a New Wave band consisting of three keyboardists. The band has successfully released their debut album Work in Progress, on the independent record label Toaster Records on April 30, 2006...

 retailers Staples, Inc.
Staples, Inc.
Staples Inc. is a large office supply chain store, with over 2,000 stores worldwide in 26 countries. Based in Framingham, Massachusetts, United States, the company has retail stores, serving customers under its original name in Austria, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Norway,...

 and Office Depot
Office Depot
Office Depot is a supplier of office products and provides many services. The company's selection of brand name office supplies includes business machines, computers, computer software and office furniture, while its business services encompass copying, printing, document reproduction, shipping,...

 started issuing club cards in 2005.

Almost all major hotel
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms...

 chains (Best Western
Best Western
Best Western International, Inc. is the third largest hotel chain, with over 4,195 hotels in nearly 80 countries. The chain, with its corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, operates more than 2,000 hotels in North America alone. Best Western has a marketing program involving placement of free...

, Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International is a hospitality holding corporation which is affiliated with several hotel brands and is based in Silver Spring, Maryland...

, Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn is a brand of hotels, formally a economy motel chain, forming part of the British InterContinental Hotels Group . It is one of the world's largest hotel chains with 238,440 bedrooms and 1,301 hotels globally. There are currently 5 hotels in the pipeline...

, Marriott
Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. is a worldwide operator and franchisor of a broad portfolio of hotels and related lodging facilities. Founded by J. Willard Marriott, the company is now led by son J.W. Marriott, Jr...

, Super 8 Motels
Super 8 Motels
Super 8 Hotels Inc. is the world's largest budget hotel chain, with hotels in the United States and Canada, as well as newer properties in China. The company is a subsidiary of Wyndham Worldwide, formerly a part of Cendant.-History:...

, etc.) have cards that allow guests to earn either points (redeemable for discounts, future stays or other prizes) or airline miles (Hilton
Hilton Hotels Corporation
Hilton Worldwide is a global hospitality company. It is owned by the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm. As of July 2011 Hilton brands encompass 3,750 hotels with over 600,000 rooms in 84 countries...

's HHonors program allows guests to earn both points and miles on the same stay, the only program to date that does so). All major US Airlines also offer rewards credit cards. Other travel related reward programs include SeaMiles, with points that can be redeemed for cruises.

For now, most American retailers have not implemented club cards. In a few cases (e.g., Federated Department Stores
Federated Department Stores
Macy's, Inc. is a department store holding company and owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's department stores. Macy's Inc.'s stores specialize mostly in retail clothing, jewelery, watches, dinnerware, and furniture....

, Kohl's
Kohl's Corporation is an American department store chain headquartered in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, operating , 1,089 stores in 49 states. In 1998, it entered the S&P 500 list, and is also listed in the Fortune 500...

) this is because the retailer already issues its own credit card
Credit card
A credit card is a small plastic card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows its holder to buy goods and services based on the holder's promise to pay for these goods and services...

s, and thus already has a direct relationship with the consumers most likely to shop at its stores.

Max & Erma's
Max & Erma's
Max & Erma's is a casual dining restaurant chain based in Columbus, Ohio. It operates throughout parts of the Eastern and Midwestern United States, and was founded in 1972 by Todd Barnum and Barry Zacks. The two businessmen purchased a local tavern in Columbus's German Village which had been...

 has a loyalty program called Good Neighbor Rewards. Guests are rewarded based on their number of visits by either 5%, 10%, or 15%. Additionally, guests are periodically given additional rewards by way of free items added to their loyalty card electronically.

Truck stop
Truck stop
A truck stop is a commercial facility predicated on providing fuel, parking, and often food and other services to motorists and truck drivers...

 chain Pilot Travel Centers
Pilot Travel Centers
Pilot Flying J is a chain of truck stops in the United States and Canada. The company is based in Knoxville, Tennessee where Pilot Corporation, the majority owner, is based. The company is owned by Pilot, FJ Management Inc., and CVC Capital Partners...

 program Driver Payback Points rewards truck drivers for fueling up by giving them points that can be used for purchase inside the store. Although it can be used for general merchandise, the program is specifically targeted to be redeemed at the restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

 chain located inside each location.

A few states regulate club cards. Supermarkets in California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 are subject to the Supermarket Club Card Disclosure Act of 1999.

Prominent online loyalty programs include Memolink
Memolink is an online loyalty program based in Denver, Colorado. Founded in 1994 and launched in September 1999, Memolink rewards members with points for visiting websites, shopping online, completing offers, playing trivia, and completing market research surveys...

, Mypoints, FatWallet
FatWallet is a bargain hunting website, centering around a set of forums that allow users to publish deals and rebate offers on a comprehensive range of products and services, though computer-related products and electronics are most prominent in the listings...

 and Ebates. Some online loyalty programs focus on "other-directed" consumers including Upromise
Upromise, Inc. is an American corporation launched in April 2001, that is owned by SLM Corporation, the parent of Sallie Mae. Upromise claims to be the largest private source of college-funding contributions in the United States, with $575 million accrued in members' Upromise "college savings...

, Schoolpop, The BSP Rewards Network and iGive.com.

Several bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

s also have rewards programs, including three of the Big Four (Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational diversified financial services company with operations around the world. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by assets and the largest bank by market capitalization. Wells Fargo is the second largest bank in deposits, home...

 being the lone exception.), CapitalOne, and Citizens Financial Group
Citizens Financial Group
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is an American bank headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, which operates in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Citizens is a wholly owned...

. PNC Financial Services
PNC Financial Services
PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. is a U.S.-based financial services corporation, with assets of approximately $264.3 billion...

 launched a program in 2009 as a direct result of its acquisition
National City acquisition by PNC
The National City acquisition by PNC was the deal by PNC Financial Services to acquire National City Corp. on October 24, 2008 following National City's untenable loan losses during the subprime mortgage crisis...

 of National City Corp.
National City Corp.
National City Corporation was a regional bank holding company based in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, founded in 1845; it was once one of the ten largest banks in America in terms of deposits, mortgages and home equity lines of credit. Subsidiary National City Mortgage is credited for doing the first...

, which National City did have along with a mortgage
Mortgage loan
A mortgage loan is a loan secured by real property through the use of a mortgage note which evidences the existence of the loan and the encumbrance of that realty through the granting of a mortgage which secures the loan...

 division (two things PNC didn't have) before the PNC deal.

Recently, a lot of attention has been paid to the loyalty programs due to companies like Foursquare, Cardmobili and Shopkick providing new ways for consumers and businesses to communicate. All three companies focus on using smartphones such as the Android and iPhone
The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007...

 - Foursquare partnered with AMEX
AMEX, AmEx or Amex may refer to:*American Stock Exchange*American Express, a global financial services corporation*American Express Community Stadium, association football stadium in Brighton, England, currently sponsored by American Express...

 to provide Foursquare points when using an American Express card, and Shopkick gives users points for scanning barcodes of popular products at locations like BestBuy.


The oldest loyalty program in Canada is probably Canadian Tire money
Canadian Tire money
Canadian Tire money is a loyalty program by Canadian Tire. It consists of coupons, issued by the company, which resemble real currency , and can be used as scrip in Canadian Tire stores, but is not considered a private currency...

, in which the Canadian Tire
Canadian Tire
Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited is one of Canada's 60 largest publicly traded companies. The firm operates an inter-related network of businesses engaged in retailing hardgoods, apparel and petroleum as well as financial and automotive services, employing more than 58,000 people across Canada...

 company gives out coupons which look like currency. Air Miles
Air Miles
Air Miles is the name of separately operated loyalty programs in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain , the Netherlands and the Middle East, through which points are earned on purchases at participating merchants.-History:...

 is Canada's largest loyalty program - Air Miles
Air Miles
Air Miles is the name of separately operated loyalty programs in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain , the Netherlands and the Middle East, through which points are earned on purchases at participating merchants.-History:...

 can be earned at more than 100 different sponsors and almost a thousand different rewards. Aeroplan
Aeroplan is a Montreal, Quebec, Canada based coalition loyalty program owned by Aimia , a global leader in loyalty management. The Aeroplan Program was created in July 1984 by Air Canada as an incentive program for its frequent flyer customers...

 began in 1984 as Air Canada
Air Canada
Air Canada is the flag carrier and largest airline of Canada. The airline, founded in 1936, provides scheduled and charter air transport for passengers and cargo to 178 destinations worldwide. It is the world's tenth largest passenger airline by number of destinations, and the airline is a...

’s frequent flier program, but since 2008 has been owned by Groupe Aeroplan Inc. and operates as a more widely based coalition program.
HBC Rewards/Club Z
HBC Rewards
HBC Rewards is a loyalty program where customers earn points for purchases at Hudson's Bay Company's various chains of stores in Canada, including Zellers, The Bay, Home Outfitters, HBC Telecommunications, and hbc.com, their online store...

 is a large program first started by Zellers
Zellers Inc. is Canada's second-largest chain of mass merchandise discount stores, with locations in communities across Canada. A subsidiary of the Hudson's Bay Company , it has 273 locations across the country....

 in 1986 as Club Z. Loblaws
Loblaws is a supermarket chain with over 70 stores in Canada, headquartered in Brampton, with stores across Ontario and Quebec. Loblaws is a division of Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada's largest food distributor...

 offers the President's Choice Financial
President's Choice Financial
President’s Choice Financial is a banking service provided by Loblaw Companies . Several different organizations provide individual financial services under the President's Choice Financial umbrella:...

 program where cardholders earn PC Points
PC Points
PC Points is a rewards program offered by President's Choice Financial when users utilize their MasterCard, banking services, or insurance products.Points can be earned through:...

 towards free groceries. Some retailers run their own rewards programs, such as The Body Shop
The Body Shop
The Body Shop International plc, known as The Body Shop, has 2,400 stores in 61 countries, and is the second largest cosmetic franchise in the world, following O Boticario, a Brazilian company...

's Love Your Body Card, Shoppers Drug Mart
Shoppers Drug Mart
Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation is Canada's largest pharmacy chain with more than 1,241 stores operating under the names Shoppers Drug Mart in nine provinces and two territories and Pharmaprix in Quebec as well as in Hawkesbury, Ontario....

's Shoppers Optimum Card, Staples Business Depot
Staples Business Depot
Staples is a Canadian office supply retail chain, part of the United States-based office supply company Staples Inc...

's easyRewards Savings Card (formerly Dividends) and Sobeys
Sobeys is the second largest food retailer in Canada, with over 1,300 supermarkets operating under a variety of banners. Headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, it operates stores in all ten provinces and accumulated sales of more than $14 billion CAD in 2009...

 Club Sobeys card. The iRewards program is Canada's largest loyalty program for booklovers, offering everyday discounts and special coupons at Chapters
Chapters is a Canadian big box bookstore banner owned by Indigo Books and Music. Formerly a company in its own right competing with Indigo, the combined company has continued to operate both banners since their merger in 2001.-History:...

, Indigo Books and Music
Indigo Books and Music
Indigo Books & Music Inc. is a Canadian retail bookstore chain. The company was founded in 1996 by CEO Heather Reisman, wife of Gerry Schwartz, majority owner and CEO of Onex Corporation....

, Coles
Coles (bookstore)
Coles is a Canadian bookstore chain owned by Indigo Books and Music. Coles currently serves as Indigo's brand for small-scale bookstores in locations such as shopping malls...

, SmithBooks, the World's Biggest Bookstore and chapters.indigo.ca. PetPerks is PetSmart
PetSmart, Inc. is a retail chain doing business in the United States and Canada engaged in the sale of specialty pet supplies and services such as grooming and dog training, PetSmart PetsHotel dog and cat boarding facilities and Doggie Day Care.- History :...

's reward program; members get a pre-determined discount on any item in the store that displays a PetPerks tag under the regular price tag.

Almost every gas station in Canada offers some sort of program such as Esso Extra at the Esso
Esso is an international trade name for ExxonMobil and its related companies. Pronounced , it is derived from the initials of the pre-1911 Standard Oil, and as such became the focus of much litigation and regulatory restriction in the United States. In 1972, it was largely replaced in the U.S. by...

 gas stations, Petro Points at Petro-Canada
Petro-Canada was a crown corporation of Canada in the field of oil and natural gas. It was headquartered in the Petro-Canada Centre in Calgary, Alberta. In August, 2009, Petro-Canada merged with Suncor Energy, a deal in which Suncor investors received approximately 60 per cent ownership of the...

, Save-On-More at some Chevron
Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States and active in more than 180 countries. It is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining,...

 stations in BC, Canadian Tire money at Canadian Tire gas stations, or a coupon that grants the customer 3.5 cents off per litre of fuel purchased at Sobeys Fast Fuel locations that can be used at a Sobeys
Sobeys is the second largest food retailer in Canada, with over 1,300 supermarkets operating under a variety of banners. Headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, it operates stores in all ten provinces and accumulated sales of more than $14 billion CAD in 2009...

 banner store. Loblaws
Loblaws is a supermarket chain with over 70 stores in Canada, headquartered in Brampton, with stores across Ontario and Quebec. Loblaws is a division of Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada's largest food distributor...

, Atlantic Superstore
Atlantic Superstore
Atlantic Superstore is a Canadian supermarket chain of 54 stores in the Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island...

, and Real Canadian Superstore
Real Canadian Superstore
Real Canadian Superstore is a chain of hypermarkets owned by Canadian food retailing giant Loblaw Companies. Its name is often shortened to RCSS or Superstore....

 grant a 5 cent a litre coupon that can be used at their stores. Sunoco
Suncor Energy
Suncor Energy Inc. is a Canadian integrated energy company based in Calgary, Alberta. It specializes in production of synthetic crude from oil sands...

's CAA
Canadian Automobile Association
The Canadian Automobile Association , commonly known as CAA, is a non-profit federation, founded in 1913, of nine clubs across Canada, providing roadside assistance service, a complete range of auto touring and leisure travel services, insurance services, and member discounts with preferred...

 reward offering ends at the end of 2007, to be replaced with Sunoco's own Performance Points reward program.


The largest loyalty program in Australia is FlyBuys, established in 1994 and owned by Coles
Coles Supermarkets
Coles Supermarkets is an Australian supermarket chain owned by Wesfarmers. It has 741 stores nationally Coles Supermarkets is an Australian supermarket chain owned by Wesfarmers. It has 741 stores nationally Coles Supermarkets is an Australian supermarket chain owned by Wesfarmers. It has 741...

. It has more than 10 million cardholders in over 5.5 million Australian households. In a survey conducted by Monash University
Monash University
Monash University is a public university based in Melbourne, Victoria. It was founded in 1958 and is the second oldest university in the state. Monash is a member of Australia's Group of Eight and the ASAIHL....

 in December 2009, FlyBuys was ranked as "most worthwhile joining" among major Australian loyalty programs. Rival retailer Woolworths
Woolworths Limited
Woolworths Limited is a major Australian company with extensive retail interest throughout Australia and New Zealand. It is the:* largest retail company in Australia and New Zealand by market capitalisation and sales...

 launched its Everyday Rewards
Everyday Rewards (Australia)
Everyday Rewards is an Australian loyalty program operated by Woolworths Ltd, operator of Woolworths supermarkets. Earned fuel saving offers are stored electronically on the Everyday Rewards card, thus eliminating the need for shoppers to retain paper coupons previously used for this purpose. Fuel...

 fuel discount card nationally in 2009 and by August 2010 had 5.1 million cardholders, with 2.7 million linked to the Qantas
Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia. The name was originally "QANTAS", an initialism for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". Nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo", the airline is based in Sydney, with its main hub at Sydney Airport...

 frequent flyer program.

Among other Australian retailers, the largest programs are Myer's
Myer is Australia's largest department store chain, retailing a broad range of merchandise including women's, men's and children's clothing, footwear and accessories; cosmetics and fragrance; homewares; electrical; furniture and bedding; toys; books and stationery; food and confectionery; and...

 MYER one program (department store), the Priceline Club Card (health, beauty, home), Amcal Club (pharmacy), Millers Retail Club (apparel), and the BB Retail Capital (formerly Brazin Limited) Pulse Rewards program (Virgin
Virgin Megastore
Virgin Megastores is an international chain of record shops, founded by Sir Richard Branson on London's Oxford Street in early 1971. Virgin Megastores are best described today as entertainment retailers....

, HMV, Sanity, dusk, Bras n Things, and SX sunglasses). Pulse has more than a million members.

All major Australian banks offer credit cards with reward programs. Many offer points collection with the Qantas frequent flyer program or conversion to points for Virgin Australia's Velocity Rewards program.

The largest online rewards program is RewardsCentral. Perkler is a website launched in Australia in August 2009 which lists 1,800 loyalty programs and their 280,000 associated perks.

New Zealand

The largest loyalty program in New Zealand is Fly Buys
Fly Buys (New Zealand)
Fly Buys is New Zealand’s largest loyalty program. It is administered by Loyalty New Zealand Limited, which is jointly owned by Bank of New Zealand, Foodstuffs, IAG New Zealand and Shell New Zealand....

. Other significant programs include the New Zealand Automobile Association
New Zealand Automobile Association
The New Zealand Automobile Association is a mutual organisation and an incorporated society that provides vehicle breakdown assistance and related services to its members...

 AA Rewards Card and Countdown
Countdown (supermarket)
Countdown is a New Zealand full-service supermarket chain, owned by Woolworths Limited. Founded in 1981, Countdown is now the flagship brand of Progressive Enterprises, Woolworths' New Zealand supermarket subsidiary, with 133 supermarkets across New Zealand...

 supermarket's Onecard.

United Kingdom

The loyalty card market in the UK is one of the most significant in the world, with most major chains operating some form of reward system. Passcard has been claimed to be the first reward scheme or discount card, created around by Gary Wilson in 1981 and later known as Passkey. One of the first loyalty cards backed by a major chain is believed to be the Sainsbury's Homebase
Homebase is a British home improvement store and garden centre, with 350 stores across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. It is well known by its green and orange colour scheme. Together with its sister company Argos , it forms part of Home Retail Group. Homebase recorded sales figures...

 Spend and Save Card in 1982.

Of the "big four" supermarkets, only Sainsbury's and Tesco operate loyalty cards. Both Nectar and Tesco's Clubcard scheme have been criticised for not offering value for money. When Clubcard or Nectar points are used for money off supermarket shopping, they roughly equate to a 1% discount, although offers can increase this discount by as much as 4 times for certain rewards. Some retailers with banking operations also award points for every pound spent on their credit cards, as well as bonus points for purchasing financial services. A report in The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

suggested that the real benefit of loyalty cards to UK outlets is the massive database potential they offer.

After trials in 1994, Tesco
Tesco plc is a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second-largest measured by profits...

 launched its Clubcard
Tesco Clubcard
Tesco Clubcard is the loyalty card of leading British supermarket chain Tesco. The Clubcard scheme operates in the UK, Ireland, Poland and several other countries, and in the UK market in particular has been highly successful, with over 15 million members as of 2010.-History:In 1993 Terry Leahy...

 program, the UK's first nationwide supermarket-only loyalty card scheme, in 1995 with dunnhumby. Sainsbury's launched its Reward Card in 1996. This was replaced by the Nectar card
Nectar loyalty card
Nectar is a loyalty card scheme in the United Kingdom comprising partner companies including the supermarket chain Sainsbury's, American Express, and BP. A separate Nectar program operates in Italy....

 in 2002, which was launched in partnership with other major brands.

Boots The Chemist first began planning a loyalty card in November 1993, but building a CRM-focussed loyalty program. With an investment in excess of 30 million GBP, the Boots Advantage Card, launched in 1997, is / was the largest smart card retail loyalty card scheme in the world, and the third-largest retail loyalty scheme in the U.K. in terms of cards issued. The Advantage scheme currently has 16.4 million cardholders using the card online and in store and at 3rd party retailers.

The patronage dividend
Dividends are payments made by a corporation to its shareholder members. It is the portion of corporate profits paid out to stockholders. When a corporation earns a profit or surplus, that money can be put to two uses: it can either be re-invested in the business , or it can be distributed to...

 rewarded the loyalty of the owner members of Britain's retail consumer co-operatives since the Rochdale Pioneers
Rochdale Pioneers
The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, founded in 1844, was an early consumer co-operative, and the first to pay a patronage dividend, forming the basis for the modern co-operative movement....

 of the 1840s. Paper record-keeping transformed in the 1960s into a trading stamp
Trading stamp
Trading stamps are small paper coupons given to customers by merchants in loyalty marketing programs that predate the modern loyalty card. These stamps had no value individually, but when a customer accumulated a number of them, they could be exchanged with the trading stamp company for premiums,...

 scheme managed by the Co-operative Wholesale Society
Co-operative wholesale society
A Co-operative Wholesale Society, or CWS, is a form of Co-operative Federation , in this case, the members are usually Consumers' Co-operatives...

 (CWS), which was gradually withdrawn as margins declined. The loyalty card concept was used by some co-operatives to restore dividend
Dividends are payments made by a corporation to its shareholder members. It is the portion of corporate profits paid out to stockholders. When a corporation earns a profit or surplus, that money can be put to two uses: it can either be re-invested in the business , or it can be distributed to...

 payments at the turn of the 21st century, notably by the CWS's "Dividend" card, which was replaced by The Co-operative Membership card program, adopted by several larger co-operatives.

Safeway's ABC Card was discontinued in 2000. Airlines, Hotels and other loyalty schemes also offer cards. Marks and Spencer and the John Lewis Partnership
John Lewis Partnership
The John Lewis Partnership is an employee-owned UK partnership which operates John Lewis department stores, Waitrose supermarkets and a number of other services...

 have credit cards which give vouchers in return for spending, and do not issue separate loyalty cards. GAME
GAME (retailer)
The Game Group plc is a British video games retail company. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE SmallCap Index....

 has a reward card scheme for which every pound spent a customer is rewarded 10 points; for every 1000 points that one collects, one gets £2.50 to redeem in the store, or online. Preorders earn a customer 20 points per pound. HMV
His Master's Voice is a trademark in the music business, and for many years was the name of a large record label. The name was coined in 1899 as the title of a painting of the dog Nipper listening to a wind-up gramophone...

 has a reward card called purehmv which allows the customer to claim a variety of rewards, including in-store discounts.

The UK's largest retail bookmaker Ladbrokes
Ladbrokes plc is a British based gambling company. It is based in Rayners Lane in Harrow, London owned by Bhavin Kakaiya. From 14 May 1999 to 23 February 2006, when it owned the Hilton hotel brand outside the United States, it was known as Hilton Group plc...

 launched the Odds ON! loyalty programme in late 2007, the first retail betting loyalty scheme in Europe. Customers earn points on each bet which can be redeemed for bonus jokers and free bets. Ladbrokes Poker also operates a loyalty program for its online poker players where players are able to exchange their poker points for gift & prizes.

Maximiles is an online coalition program claiming 1.6 million members in the UK. Maximiles also operates online programs in France, Spain and Italy.

Best Buy
Best Buy
Best Buy Co., Inc. is an American specialty retailer of consumer electronics in the United States, accounting for 19% of the market. It also operates in Mexico, Canada & China. The company's subsidiaries include Geek Squad, CinemaNow, Magnolia Audio Video, Pacific Sales, and, in Canada operates...

 recently launched their first store at Thurrock, Essex. Coinciding with the store launch, they also launched the customer engagement program called My Best Buy. My Best Buy is a tiered, digital loyalty and customer engagement program that is designed to build a life-long relationship with the customer by providing a personalized experience through which they can manage their digital and technology needs.

The Ice Organisation
The Ice Organisation
-Overview:The Ice Organisation, also known as MyIce.com is a UK Loyalty program, which launched in 2010. Ice promotes brands, goods and services that are more sustainable, with the aim of mitigating climate change through mass consumer purchase power...

 launched MyIce.com in 2010, a scheme which rewards consumers for shopping in a more sustainable way. Ice's mission is ultimately to promote greener goods and services to mitigate climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

, and currently works with both national and local retailers to encourage more local, sustainable consumerism.

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 loyalty cards have been in operation since 1993, when Superquinn
Superquinn is an Irish supermarket chain. Until 2005, the company was entirely privately held by the Quinn family. It is now a subsidiary of Select Retail Holdings Limited....

 introduced its SuperClub loyalty card scheme. This is regarded as having been the prototype for such schemes in Europe. However, loyalty cards did not expand until 1997, when Tesco Ireland
Tesco Ireland
Tesco Ireland is the Irish arm of supermarket group Tesco. It was formed in Tesco plc's 1997 takeover of the Irish retailing operations of Associated British Foods, namely Powers' Supermarkets Limited and its subsidiaries, trading as Quinnsworth and Crazy Prices.Tesco operates supermarkets under...

 introduced its Clubcard scheme, shortly after its purchase of Power Supermarkets. This was essentially a simple expansion of the UK scheme (see above) - cards for this are physically identical to those used by Tesco in the UK and they can be used in both countries. Dunnes Stores
Dunnes Stores
Dunnes Stores, also known as Dunnes, is a supermarket and clothing retail chain, that is based in Dublin, Ireland.The chain primarily sells food, clothes and household wares. In addition to its main customer base in Ireland, the chain has operations in Great Britain and Spain...

 responded with the introduction of their own ValueClub scheme in June 1997. Today these are three main schemes operating in Ireland, although ValueClub has been withdrawn from Dunnes' Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...


All five major petrol station chains in the country operated a scheme during the late 1990s - Esso
Esso is an international trade name for ExxonMobil and its related companies. Pronounced , it is derived from the initials of the pre-1911 Standard Oil, and as such became the focus of much litigation and regulatory restriction in the United States. In 1972, it was largely replaced in the U.S. by...

 had "Tiger Miles" (with Tesco ClubCard points offered as an alternative), Maxol
-Republic of Ireland:*Maxol Lubricants Ltd. *Maxol Direct Ltd. *Maxol Ltd....

 had "Points Plus", both of which operated on the principle of getting items from a gift catalogue, with Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

 using Dunnes' scheme, Texaco
Texaco is the name of an American oil retail brand. Its flagship product is its fuel "Texaco with Techron". It also owns the Havoline motor oil brand....

 using the SuperQuinn system, and Statoil
Statoil ASA is a Norwegian petroleum company established in 1972. It merged with Norsk Hydro in 2007 and was known as StatoilHydro until 2009, when the name was changed back to Statoil ASA. The brand Statoil was retained as a chain of fuel stations owned by StatoilHydro...

 operating a cash-back system, "Premium Club". Due to increasing oil prices and tightening of margins, all of these schemes ended by the end of 2005. Tesco Ireland's petrol stations still, however, give Clubcard points.

GAME (retailer)
The Game Group plc is a British video games retail company. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE SmallCap Index....

, a major computer game and hardware retailer also operate a cashback card scheme, which was merged with Electronics Boutique
Electronics Boutique
EB Games is an American computer and video games retailer. First established as an American company in 1977 by Emmanuel Baxter with a single electronics-focused location in the King of Prussia Mall near Philadelphia, the company has grown into an international corporation...

's programme following the separation of their northern European stores into the hands of GAME. The scheme returns one-fortieth of the spend, more than twice as generous as Tesco.


The largest loyalty program in Germany is Payback, which was launched in 2000. According to a study in August 2007 by GfK, 61% of German households have a Payback card. It listed the HappyDigits program as having a 42% share, with the Shell ClubSmart program as third most popular with 13%. In March 2008, the coalition program DeutschlandCard was launched by Arvato. As at March 2009 it had more than 4.5 million active cardholders.


Loyalty programs are popular in Switzerland, with the two main supermarket chains, Migros
Migros is one of Switzerland's largest enterprises, its largest supermarket chain and largest employer. It co-founded Turkey's largest retailer, Migros Türk, which became independent of Migros Switzerland in 1975....

 and Coop
Coop (Switzerland)
Coop is a Swiss cooperative which operates the largest in supermarket chain in Switzerland. In 2001, Coop merged with 11 cooperative federations which had been its main suppliers for over 100 years....

 prominent. The M-Cumulus card can be used at the Migros supermarkets, Ex Libris (books, DVD's), 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 incentivised credit cards. 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.


Loyalty programs are popular in Italy, with the two main supermarket chains, Esselunga and Il Gigante, leading the field with their offerings.
Other stores such as Interio, a furniture retailer, are also joining the market with loyalty cards and store-based incentivised credit cards.


Two coalition loyalty programs in Hungary are SuperShop and Multipoint. SuperShop was established in April 2000 and is backed by premium partners :hu:SuperShop Spar, OBI, OMV, Photo hall, Burger King
Burger King
Burger King, often abbreviated as BK, is a global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The company began in 1953 as Insta-Burger King, a Jacksonville, Florida-based restaurant chain...



VOILÀ Hotel Rewards
VOILÀ Hotel Rewards
VOILÀ Hotel Rewards is a hotel loyalty program operated by Hospitality Marketing Concepts. The VOILÀ Hotel Rewards program was created in 2008 for frequent guests of boutique hotels and independent hotel chains. Members can earn and redeem points at participating hotels regardless of brand or...

 launched in June 2008 with "Husa Plus]," a co-branded loyalty program for Husa Hoteles. The Husa Plus program is currently offered at approximately 145 Husa Hotels, primarily located in Spain.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong offers many loyalty programs which include Octopus Rewards, which started as a chip based smartcard for transport and now, the Octopus card
Octopus card
The Octopus card is a rechargeable contactless stored value smart card used to transfer electronic payments in online or offline systems in Hong Kong...

s can be used to earn points in certain shops, including McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 and Wellcome
Wellcome is a supermarket chain owned by Jardine Matheson Holdings via its Dairy Farm subsidiary. The Wellcome supermarket chain is one of the two largest supermarket chains in Hong Kong, the other being PARKnSHOP. Wellcome also operates supermarkets in Taiwan under the Wellcome name...

 supermarket. Another loyalty program is for travelling on the heavily patronaged (3.65 million/day) MTR
Mass Transit Railway is the rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong. Originally opened in 1979, the system now includes 211.6 km of rail with 155 stations, including 86 railway stations and 69 light rail stops...

 railway system in Hong Kong, known as the MTR Club. In terms of shopping or purchasing groceries, one can the MoneyBack card at PARKnSHOP
PARKnSHOP is one of the two largest supermarket chains in Hong Kong, the other being Wellcome. PARKnSHOP operates more than 260 outlets in Hong Kong, Macau, and Mainland China....

 supermarkets. Asia Miles, which was part of Cathay Pacific.


The first Iranian loyalty program launched in 1995 by Iran Credit Card Group "Zarrin Card"(or Advantage Card).
The Maadiran Group
Maadiran Group
The Maadiran group is an Iranian group of companies that handles the sales, support, and manufacturing of office equipment, banking, and electrical consumer products within Iran...

 has also been running a loyalty programe for its customers at the Maadiran Club.


Centro Friends card is a loyalty card for Shoppers of Centro Department Stores. The Love Your Body card is the loyalty card for The Body Shop stores in Indonesia.
Other notable programs in Asia include KrisFlyer, the Singapore Airlines rewards program.


Payback India (formerly i-mint) is India's largest coalition loyalty program, with 10 million members and 1500 network partners, with 120 billion INR of sales generated through i-mint-cards in 2009. German loyalty program operator Loyalty Partner took a controlling interest in i-mint in June 2010 and renamed the program Payback India in July 2011. Hero Honda's passport program claims over 3 million members. BPCL's PetroBonus fuel card program has 2 million members. Indian Oil's fleet card program XTRAPOWER and retail program XTRAREWARDS claim a combined customer base of 3 million. The Maruti Suzuki
is a Japanese multinational corporation headquartered in Hamamatsu, Japan that specializes in manufacturing compact automobiles and 4x4 vehicles, a full range of motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles , outboard marine engines, wheelchairs and a variety of other small internal combustion engines...

 AutoCard, launched in association with Citibank
Citibank, a major international bank, is the consumer banking arm of financial services giant Citigroup. Citibank was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, later First National City Bank of New York...

 and Indian Oil had 370,000 cardholders as at October 2008.Kingfisher Airlines
Kingfisher Airlines
Kingfisher Airlines is an airline group based in India. Its head office is Kingfisher House in Vile Parle , Mumbai. Kingfisher Airlines, through its parent company United Breweries Group, has a 50% stake in low-cost carrier Kingfisher Red....

 FFP King Club had 2 million members as on October 2010.It is the most generous FFP in Airlines
Shopper's Stop has been offering a loyalty programme called First Citizen for well over a decade for regular customers. Other retailers like Lifestyle (The inner Circle loyalty Programme) & Reliance Retail also have their own loyalty programmes.


In Malaysia, the BonusLink program was introduced in a joint venture between Shell, Parkson, Maxis and MBF. The BonusLink program is coalition with earning and redemption partners allowing members to earn points at a number of Malaysian retailers.

Genting Highlands
Genting Highlands
Genting Highlands otherwise known as Resorts World Genting is the flagship integrated resort developed by Genting Group. It is nestled on a mountain peak within the Titiwangsa Mountains on the border between the states of Pahang and Selangor of Malaysia...

 Resort has its own loyalty card, WorldCard
WorldCard is a consumer loyalty network which operates out of Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. It unites individual membership programs of Star Cruises, Genting Group, Awana Resorts, Suntec City Mall, F&B group King Parrot, Jurong Point Shopping Mall and others.The program started as Genting...

 (same as mentioned below) that is primarily used to gain points in Genting Highlands' Resorts and Attractions. However, it can also be used for Starbucks
Starbucks Corporation is an international coffee and coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington. Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with 17,009 stores in 55 countries, including over 11,000 in the United States, over 1,000 in Canada, over 700 in the United Kingdom, and...

, Coffee Bean
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a Los Angeles, California-based coffee chain, owned and operated by International Coffee & Tea, LLC. The first Coffee Bean opened in September 1963. The chain has over 750 locations in 22 countries...

 and Häagen-Dazs
Häagen-Dazs is a brand of ice cream, established by Jewish-Polish immigrants Reuben and Rose Mattus in the Bronx, New York, in 1961. Starting with only three flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and coffee, the company opened its first retail store in Brooklyn, New York, on November 15, 1976...

 and it is valid in three countries, namely Malaysia (where Genting Group is based), Singapore and Hong Kong. Jusco
is the acronym for Japan United Stores Company, a chain of "general merchandise stores" and the largest of its type in Japan. The various JUSCO companies are subsidiaries of ÆON Co., Ltd.....

 also has its own loyalty card, known as J Card.

In early 2008, ValueClub Marketing and Services Sdn. Bhd. launched it V-Kad at North Malaysia especially in Penang state. V-Kad has actively joint by various industries such as F&B, fashion, saloon and optics. It provides V-Kad members to collect V-Points to redeem gift and exchange services with the participating merchants.


The three largest loyalty programs are Plus, WorldCard
WorldCard is a consumer loyalty network which operates out of Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. It unites individual membership programs of Star Cruises, Genting Group, Awana Resorts, Suntec City Mall, F&B group King Parrot, Jurong Point Shopping Mall and others.The program started as Genting...

 (aggregate program of Genting Resorts, Suntec City Mall, Star Cruises & Indigoz)and SAFRA Card. The LinkPoints Programme has more than 1 million members and over 600 participating merchant outlets.


The French retailer, Carrefour
Carrefour S.A. is an international hypermarket chain headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France. It is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world...

 has recently introduced a new loyalty scheme whereby customers can earn and redeem points for purchases made in the store, and also earn additional points for all purchases made using a Carrefour branded credit card.
The largest online rewards program is EmailCash
RewardsCentral is an Australian website run by PermissionCorp,with branches for residents of Australia, Taiwan,New Zealand...



The Smartclub program allows all Shanghai residents to earn SmartPoints free, each time they take the subway, bus, or taxi. Those SmartPoints can be combined with points earned at McDonald's, eLong, Sport100, cinemas, bookstores, and other SmartClub partner retailers.

Program management

Across the globe loyalty programs are increasingly finding the need to outsource strategic and operational aspects of their programs, given the size and complexity a loyalty program entails. Program managers are typically agencies with specialist skills in loyalty consulting, creative and communication, data analytics, loyalty software, and back end operations. The advent of Web 2.0
Web 2.0
The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web...

 and SaaS
SAAS is an abbreviation for* Social Accountability Accreditation Services* Software as a service * Student Awards Agency for Scotland* Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences* South Australian Ambulance Service...

 online-based services has provided lower-cost options for small businesses to offer and manage their own loyalty programs. Moreover, there are many free and open source alternatives to manage user awards and incentives.

Loyalty cards are becoming mobile (i.e. Cardmobili
Cardmobili is a European-based mobile application development company founded in 2009. The primary application of the company, also named Cardmobili, provides a platform for managing customer loyalty programs via mobile phones. The application provides for digitizing and storing loyalty and...

 and Loopt
Loopt is a company based in Mountain View, California, United States. Loopt produces mobile Location-based services that allow users to discover the world around them, and find and enjoy the friends, places and events around them....



Companies complain that these loyalty program discount goods to people that are buying their goods anyway, and that the expense of doing these programs rarely pays. Other critics see the lower prices and rewards as bribes to manipulate customer
A customer is usually used to refer to a current or potential buyer or user of the products of an individual or organization, called the supplier, seller, or vendor. This is typically through purchasing or renting goods or services...

Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause There are many aspects to...

 and purchasing decisions, or in the case of infrequent-spenders, a means of subsidizing
A subsidy is an assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Most subsidies are made by the government to producers or distributors in an industry to prevent the decline of that industry or an increase in the prices of its products or simply to encourage it to hire more labor A subsidy (also...

 frequent-spenders. Commercial use of the personal data collected as part of the programmes has the potential for abuse. It is highly likely that consumer purchases are tracked and analyzed towards more efficient marketing and advertising (in fact, this can be one of the purposes of the loyalty card.) To some, participating in a loyalty program (even with a fake or anonymous card) funds activities that violate privacy. There has also been concern expressed regarding RFID technology being introduced to loyalty cards.

Loyalty and credit card reward plans might be viewed as modern day examples of a kickback. An employee who needs to buy something (such as a hotel room or an airline flight) for a business trip but who has discretion to decide which airline or hotel chain to use has an incentive to choose the payment method that provides the most credit card rewards or loyalty points instead of minimizing cost for the organization.

See also

  • Identity management
    Identity management
    Identity management is a broad administrative area that deals with identifying individuals in a system and controlling access to the resources in that system by placing restrictions on the established identities of the individuals.Identity management is multidisciplinary and covers many...

  • Incentive
    In economics and sociology, an incentive is any factor that enables or motivates a particular course of action, or counts as a reason for preferring one choice to the alternatives. It is an expectation that encourages people to behave in a certain way...

  • Incentive Program
    Incentive program
    An incentive program is a formal scheme used to promote or encourage specific actions or behavior by a specific group of people during a defined period of time. Incentive programs are particularly used in business management to motivate employees, and in sales to attract and retain customers...

  • Loyalty Marketing
    Loyalty marketing
    Loyalty marketing is an approach to marketing, based on strategic management, in which a company focuses on growing and retaining existing customers through incentives...

  • Premiums
    Premium (marketing)
    Premiums are promotional items—toys, collectables, souvenirs and household products—that are linked to a product, and often require box tops, tokens or proofs of purchase to acquire. The consumer generally has to pay at least the shipping and handling costs to receive the premium...

  • S&H Green Stamps
    S&H Green Stamps
    S&H Green Stamps were trading stamps popular in the United States from the 1930s until the late 1980s. They were distributed as part of a rewards program operated by the Sperry and Hutchinson company , founded in 1896 by Thomas Sperry and Shelly Hutchinson...

  • Trading stamp
    Trading stamp
    Trading stamps are small paper coupons given to customers by merchants in loyalty marketing programs that predate the modern loyalty card. These stamps had no value individually, but when a customer accumulated a number of them, they could be exchanged with the trading stamp company for premiums,...

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