by Matt Alderton | November 08, 2016
Consumers who participate in customer rewards programs believe that such programs may be rigged, according to a new survey by COLLOQUY, a publishing, education, and market research firm specializing in loyalty marketing. Published last week, the survey found that more than two out of five (41 percent) U.S. consumers believe points, miles, and cash back programs are rigged.

Just as significant, however: The other three-fifths of Americans (59 percent) believe they are fair and honest, and three-quarters of Americans (76 percent) plan to make no changes in their level of participation in rewards programs in 2017. An equal number (12 percent) say they plan to increase or decrease their level of participation.

Also significant is what COLLOQUY found when it asked consumers whom they think benefits most from customer reward programs: Savvy shoppers (34.5 percent) topped the list, ahead of credit card companies (27 percent), brands (26.5 percent), and wealthy people (12 percent).

Finally, the survey revealed some interesting demographic gaps: Younger Millennials, aged 18 to 24 (53 percent), are more likely than older Millennials, aged 25 to 34 (37 percent), to think reward programs are rigged. Republicans (48 percent) are more likely to think so than Democrats (30 percent). And women (43 percent) are slightly more likely to think so than men (40 percent).

"In an atmosphere where venerable institutions are being questioned, it should be reassuring to marketers that nearly 60 percent of consumers believe in their programs, and that consumers identified smart shoppers as the chief beneficiaries," said COLLOQUY editor-in-chief Jeff Berry. "At the same time, the survey should remind brands that rewards must be relevant, easy to earn and redeem, and that they must uphold the value exchange."