by Alex Palmer | February 04, 2019
Consumers expect to redeem their loyalty-program points at least once a year and well before they hit $100 in value, according to a study recently released by gift-card and digital-payment company Blackhawk Network. The survey looked at the behavior and preferences of members of loyalty programs in industries including retail, airline, hotel, food and beverage, online retail, bank, gym, telecom and utility.
 
Drawing on the responses of more than 1,500 U.S. consumers and published as the ebook, "A Heart-to-Heart About Increasing Loyalty," the findings showed members of food-and-beverage, online-retail, gym and retail programs to be the most engaged. Specifically, 90 percent of members of these loyalty programs reported redeeming their loyalty points at least once a year, and a majority consider themselves "frequent redeemers," who claim their prizes four or more times a year.
 
Large majorities of consumers in most categories reported redeeming well before they earned $100 in point value, especially for online-retail (85 percent), utility (76 percent), phone (75 percent) and bank (68 percent) programs. The exception is airline and/or hotel-chain loyalty programs, where a majority wait until they reach more than $100 in value before using their points for these big-ticket items.
 
"Effective loyalty programs keep participants engaged and continuously coming back for more," said Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing for Blackhawk Network. "Our findings suggest that retailers and organizations can increase consumer engagement with their loyalty programs by simply offering the right rewards at the right values."