Top Loyalty Program Apps

Loyalty programs today must go beyond a card or giving a phone number to the cashier. When it comes to brands and loyalty, there increasingly needs to be an “app for that.” But it’s not building an app for app’s sake. It has to drive an entire experience..

When a rewards program can be moved from a punch card to an app, opportunities to interact and build customer loyalty grow exponentially,” writes Shep Hyken in a recent Forbes article. “Points, miles and punch cards are just the start – an app can include features that are limited only by imagination. And the convenience of using an app is a powerful driver of loyalty. It’s human nature to stay with a company that is easy to do business with. Once customers know how the company operates and how to use the website or mobile app, they can rely on a consistent experience, and customers like consistency. It creates confidence. That’s what drives loyalty.”

Here are a few examples that showcase the power of building loyalty through an app and creating an entirely different way to engage customers in a helpful and enjoyable way, especially through purchases and payments.


Cinemark’s Connections app is more than just a way to rack up some points toward free popcorn—it makes a movie-going experience easier. It provides the show times and locations, and you can purchase tickets so you can skip the ticket line altogether. Just walk up to the ticket-taker with the QR code and you’re in the theater; that’s a major bonus. It also gives customers opportunities to earn rewards other than purchases, including a “Cinemode” to quiet your phone during a movie (and earn points in the meantime).


Last year, Kohl’s entered the arena of retail companies providing a mobile payment app. The store is known for its loyalty program, “Kohl’s cash,” and cultivating brand loyalty. Now they can expedite check-out time with Kohl’s Pay for the Kohl’s App, featuring a QR scan that immediately charges a customer’s Kohl’s credit card and applies all discounts. “We want to make it very easy and frictionless, both on our digital properties like our app and our stores,” Kohl’s Chief Technology Officer Ratnakar Lavu told Fortune in an interview. “You used to have to take out your loyalty card, your charge card, and your coupons. Now you just have to take out the app in one step.”

My Starbucks Rewards is the gold standard in loyalty programs and growth.  The app isn’t just about the stars (even though that’s an important part.) It’s also an entire ecosystem for ordering, payment, and streaming music. Call it the complete Starbucks experience. And, oh, along the way, you earn your rewards.

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