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 Brendon Barr is a Director at SEiiAN Rewards

Different loyalty or reward programs are offered throughout the world. They all offer different benefits but usually have a few key features that are common throughout.  It is within these common features that I find myself getting annoyed. These are the reasons why I get annoyed with some loyalty programs.

1. Limits on transferring points to family and/or friends

Whether it be your favorite frequent flyer rewards program or your department store loyalty program, the ability to “pool” your hard earned points with your family members or close friends to be able to get a free flight, cash voucher or item voucher is extremely difficult, if not impossible. I have found myself on many occasions being a few points short of the required amount needed to redeem a free flight. On these occasions, other members of my family and friends had enough points to cover my shortfall, but either the reward program did not allow transfers or they limited the amount (and times) of points that can be transferred, so it becomes extremely difficult to do.


2. Unrealistic requirements to achieve a higher status

Some of the reward or loyalty programs have different status levels for their members to reward their loyalty. This gives their members access to greater benefits which is not usually available to the general public.  This is a great concept. The only problem with this is the loyalty or reward programs tend to set unrealistic requirements to achieve this higher status. Don’t get me wrong, I think there needs to be a challenge to achieve the higher status. The problem is, usually this is dependent solely on the size of your wallet. The more you spend on their products or services, the more likely you are able to achieve the higher status. Again, I have no problem with this in theory, so long as these status levels are realistic and allow people the opportunity to achieve these levels not solely based on their wallet size but through other ways in which the business can interact with their customers and keep them coming back.

3. Availability and variety of redemptions

So it has taken years of accumulating your reward points, now the question arises, what do I do with them?

Many loyalty or reward programs are quick to advertise how many points you can earn with them, but they fail to tell you exactly what you can do with them. 

Various programs offer the ability to redeem your points for a flight on your favorite airline.  However, when the time comes to actually book the flight, more often than not, you are confronted with the issue of no availability unless you book almost a year in advance, especially if you want to redeem the points for a ticket that is not in economy class.

Also, the variety of items you can redeem besides airline tickets are very limited. What’s even worse is that should you choose to use the item or gift voucher option, the ratios used are crazy. You could be expected to use most if not all of your points that you have accumulated over the years to redeem a kettle or mp3 player or the like.

4. Expiration of points if no activity after a period of time

With so many different reward and loyalty programs out there, it is often hard to remember which business belongs to which program, if at all. The problem is on some programs, if you do not have activity over a certain period of time, your points will automatically expire. So unless you keep a spreadsheet of which programs you have and how many points you have in each and when your last activity was and how long each program’s points are valid for, the chances are many of your points will ultimately expire and all your hard work to earn them will be for nothing.

5. Capping of points

What is so amazing is that some loyalty or rewards programs who want you to spend money with them on their products or services,  impose a ‘cap’ on the amount of points you can get if you exceed a certain amount! I find this ludicrous, as they base their status levels on your spend with them, but then they want to limit you on the points they give out once you spend too much with them!

I could go on and on listing the issues I see with many of the existing loyalty or rewards programs out there. Please feel free to add or comment on further issues that annoy you about many of these existing programs. 

It would be great to see a rewards platform that addresses these issues and the many others!

Stay tuned J

Brendon Barr is a Director at SEiiAN Rewards Follow on Twitter 

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