This guide will help you navigate the plethora of customer reward programs and help you choose the best one so that you can enjoy maximum rewards and benefits with minimum hassles.
Just a few decades ago, customer reward programs in India, were few and far. Fast forward to 2018, from the local supermarket near you to your favourite airline, every company today has a dedicated customer reward program. And, they go, out of their way, to make you sign up for it.
The array of reward programs makes even the savviest consumer want to throw up his or her hands in the air and claim that it’s all too difficult and challenging to make sense of it all. But don’t do that! Stop, take a breath and continue reading, as we come to your rescue.
Let’s get started.
Top Factors to Consider While Evaluating Reward Programs
- Value of the Points
What’s the real-world value of a point you earn via the program? For instance, if a specific program lets you convert 100 reward points for 1 Rupee, then the value of each point you earn from the program is just 0.01 INR.
While evaluating reward programs make sure to choose ones that offer better value for each point you earn. While this is an important factor to consider, this shouldn’t be your sole criteria. Make sure to consider other factors listed below, so that you get more than monetary benefit from the program.
- Points Expiry & Capping
Make sure that you go through the fine print of the reward program to find out the expiry of points. Generally, programs that allow you to hold on to your points indefinitely, without the threat of expiry offer better flexibility, when it comes to redemptions.
After all, no one wants to be forced into using their reward points, just because they are going to expire.
Some reward programs have a cap (maximum limit) on the number of points you can accumulate in a year (or even a month). Look for programs that don’t have such caps, as it can be quite difficult to get value out of your program if the limit is too low.
- Ease of Redemption
This is one major factor to consider while evaluating customer loyalty programs. Ideally, the best programs are the ones that make it easy for you to redeem your points. For instance, if a hotel rewards program blocks out all weekends for program members, then it doesn’t present good value. Similarly, some airlines have low seat availability to frequent fliers when they redeem points. All these make redemption difficult and complicated.
Look for programs that come with minimal restrictions on redemptions.
- Ease of Earning Points
Just like redeeming your reward points, earning them in the first place should also be easy. Good customer reward programs present their loyal customers with multiple ways in which they can earn points.
For instance, frequent flyer programs provide members to earn points not only for completed flights but also for transacting at any of their other partner networks like – staying at partner hotels, dining at partner restaurants, booking cabs, shopping at partner merchant outlets and ecommerce stores and more.
Having multiple ways to earn and redeem points increases the benefits of the customer reward program significantly.
- Ease of Points Transfer and Bonus Offers
Say, you have accumulated a few thousand points on your frequent flier program, and another few hundreds on your hotel stay program. Redeeming these two points individually doesn’t give you what you’re looking for. What if you could transfer points from one program to another so that you can enjoy a better benefit?
The best reward programs let you do that. They have several tie-ups with other popular customer reward programs thereby making point exchange easy and hassle-free.
Additionally, a few reward programs offer customers bonus points several times during the year for purchases made during special occasions and more. Bonus points are an excellent way to boost points earnings.
Ask yourself these Eight Questions while Evaluating Reward Programs
- Does it suit my spending style?
- Am I interested in the rewards offered by this program?
- Do points expire quickly? Or is there an annual cap on earnings?
- Do I have to pay to become a member?
- How many points do I earn for every 1 INR spent?
- Can I pool my points with my family members?
- Is it easy to earn, redeem or exchange points?
- Apart from the direct benefits, does this program offer special status for members in higher tiers? (Like lounge access at airports, free dining once every month, or a free stay at a hotel, etc.)
Hope this guide helps you pick the right reward program to help you get the most value for your bucks.