Bitcoin as Points: Two Notable Loyalty Programs Integrate Cryptocurrency Rewards

WM Circle Logo

By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on February 9, 2022

A few weeks ago, we talked about cryptocurrency strategy; about how forward-thinking loyalty programs with their finger on the pulse might look at integrating cryptocurrency rewards into their loyalty programs. Why? Because cryptocurrencies are endowed with a burgeoning customer fascination — and anything that is fascinating for customers should be fascinating for brands as well.

Sure, we talked about strategy. But without real action, a great strategy is nothing more than words on paper. To contextualize the hype around cryptocurrency loyalty implementations and help visualize what a successful program might look like, we scoured the industry and unearthed some cutting-edge tactics which utilize these revolutionary new payment platforms.

Landry's and NYDIG Announce Bitcoin Loyalty Rewards

There’s got to be a first time for everything. That’s what makes the partnership between Landry’s — a restaurant operator whose roster includes more than 60 award-winning brands such as Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Rainforest Café — and NYDIG, a leading bitcoin company, so appetizing. The partnership, touted as the first of its kind in the hospitality industry, will allow members of Landry's Select Club to earn bitcoin as points when dining at any of its 500 locations nationwide. The offering will be powered by NYDIG's secure, regulated, full-stack platform. The program, in its current iteration, offers one point back for every $1 spent, with 250 points translating to a $25 reward. Customers that opt-in now can receive points that track the value of bitcoin and can be redeemed in $25 reward increments based on the market price of bitcoin at time of redemption. These bitcoin loyalty points may only be redeemed for Landry's Select Club rewards and will not be transferrable outside of the program.

Why It’s Worth Watching

  • Built into the program format is a value-appreciation factor for customers' bitcoin points, increasing their relative buying power as they mature as members.
  • The program provides an interesting testcase to potentially prove the power of bitcoin made readily available in exchange for quick-access consumer goods like food.
  • The fact that Landry’s Select Club members comprises of patrons from many different brands provides a fertile wellspring of data to better understand how different demographics and audiences respond to cryptocurrency rewards.

Mastercard to Allow US Partners to Offer Crypto Loyalty Rewards

For countless loyalty vendors across the country, Mastercard is a critical component that fuels their reward fulfilment. Now, this fuel is on the cusp of becoming supercharged: this October, Mastercard has announced it is preparing to integrate cryptocurrencies into its loyalty program offerings for United States-based banks, merchants, and fintech firms on its payment network. It works like this: Mastercard will be working with digital asset platform Bakkt to allow its customers based in the United States to trade digital assets through digital wallets, while also enabling cardholders to earn and spend rewards in crypto instead of traditional loyalty points, and accruing or redeeming tokens for purchases.

Why It’s Worth Watching

  • Mastercard’s diversification in many different industries provides visibility into how different sectors and their respective target audiences may react to crypto loyalty rewards.
  • Mastercard’s integrity, history, and the authority of their brand name brings a sense of reliability to the cryptocurrency sector, which can help assuage the concerns of some customers who are wary about security.
  • The flexibility and widespread adoption of Mastercard means that many, many more customers than ever before will soon be exposed to the nuances, flexibility, and freedom of cryptocurrencies.

What do these programs prove? Well, we already know that cryptocurrency is quickly becoming a reflection of the zeitgeist; a recent Bakkt Survey of 2,000 US Consumers revealed that nearly half (48%) of respondents reporting purchasing crypto in the first half of 2021, while 32% of those who didn’t are either very or somewhat interested in doing so before year end.

But more than evidencing its popularity, pioneering programs such as these demonstrate that activating a brand-new technology doesn’t have to be a blind risk. With enough strategic foresight, tactical innovation in your loyalty can be a natural extension of your brand and its inherent strengths.