5 Best Loyalty Programs for Inspiration

Of course there are an incredible amount of loyalty programs out there. But what separates them?  It’s the experience, creativity, and options that innovative brands provide. For inspiration, take a look at these five loyalty programs that go beyond just the points and free birthday gift. (And be sure to check out our Top Loyalty Program Apps article featuring Starbucks, Cinemark, and Kohl’s, too.)

  1. The North Face

This year The North Face completely revamped its loyalty program where “exploration is rewarded.” According to the company, the VIPeak Rewards experience “will deliver rewards two times a year, in the summer and at the end of the year.” But membership exclusivity is also the differentiator here with invitations to movie premieres and VIPeak exclusive events as well as access to one-of-a-kind expeditions around the globe with VIPeak Travel.

  1. Walgreen’s

Walgreen’s Balance Rewards program isn’t new, but the organization is always keeping it fresh with new features and opportunities to save. It’s not just a one-point-per-$1 spent type of program. Customers can also earn points for healthy lifestyle choices such as walking, running, or biking, which dovetails nicely into its overarching health brand.

  1. Neiman Marcus

While Neiman Marcus as a brand is definitively high-end, its InCircle loyalty program is inclusive for all shoppers. With an easy-to-read graphic of membership benefits by purchase amounts, customers can quickly see the value at any level. Even Circle One ($1-1,000) includes free two-day shipping and gift packaging. Once you hit Circle Two, “Double-Point Day of Choosing” kicks in where customers don’t have to wait for double points on purchases—they can choose it on any day of the year. Exclusive events and gift cards are added as the total purchase amount increases.

  1. Williams Sonoma

Williams Sonoma provides The Key, a loyalty program with rewards and access across seven brands including Pottery Barn, West Elm, and more. The benefits of using one card across different stores, 3 percent back in rewards, exclusivity, and perks sets it apart from the rest. According to the company, “In addition to earning Reward Dollars on every qualifying purchase, Key Holders are eligible for invitations to exclusive events, early access to shopping, a personal in-store concierge, free in-store gift wrapping, and surprise treats.”

  1. REI

REI is unique in that as a co-op customers can automatically become a member; loyalty is actually based on ownership. The perk of this is an annual dividend average of 10 percent on eligible purchases. All you do is shop and the total is accrued. Knowing that a check or a nice lump sum to use toward future purchases once a year drives loyalty. Most brands can’t become a co-op, but you can think about this type of savings accrual for inspiration.