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Loyalty Newswire – April 26th, 2021

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on April 26, 2021

Welcome back to the Wise Marketer. Every Monday we compile a list of the latest customer loyalty and marketing news to make it easy for busy professionals to quickly digest important topics. Additionally, we cover payments and data privacy news, if that's your thing. If you enjoy our content and want to show your support, subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive content, events and more! Don't forget to follow us on social media!

  • Expedia announces its largest advertising campaign in five years, plus an overhaul to its loyalty program will add 25 million Expedia Rewards members
  • CVS has increased its loyalty members by 16% since 2019 by implementing digital tools and mobile messages
  • The Maldives Border Miles program, released last Fall, has rolled out three elite tiers for members
  • Walmart+ pulls in 8 million new subscribers with free grocery delivery offer
  • BP aims to enter the retail energy trading business as it recently applied to supply power to U.S. residents
  • Foot Locker selects FreedomPay's in-store digital payment solution for its 2,000 stores across the U.S.
  • Deluxe recently announced its plans to acquire First American Payment Systems for $960 million — in cash
  • Virgin Money adds a new suite of products, including a loyalty program, as it plans to become a "digital bank"
  • Barclays set to become the exclusive issuer of Gap's co-branded and private label credit card program
  • The College Transparency Act is gaining support (again) as a method to protect student privacy, but opponents of the bill are concerned about how the data would be handled by the federal government
  • According to a top official, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will soon issue "cybersecurity norms for payment service providers"
  • Airline executives and organizations voice their concern about the validity of digital health passes


Expedia Announces New Direction in Brand Positioning in Anticipation of Post-Vaccination Travel Demand

Highlight: Expedia's renewed commitment to travelers comes on the heels of what has arguably been one of the toughest years for the travel industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. After months of conducting deep customer research to understand and address critical traveler pain points, the new positioning marks a pivotal moment for the brand as it looks to overhaul its business to better cater to travelers who value maximizing their time and want to get the most out of their overall travel experience. From an updated look and feel to enhanced product offerings, Expedia is looking to double down on efforts to deliver on travelers' evolving wants and needs in a post-pandemic world.

Mobile Drives CVS Best-In-Class Loyalty Program For 74 Million Customers

Highlight: Loyalty programs that are transparent and easy to use provide higher engagement with customers. Michele Driscoll, vice-president of customer engagement, loyalty, personalization & promotions of CVS Health, stated, “We recently created a Rewards Tracker within the ‘Deals & Rewards’ section of our 5-star CVS App.” According to Driscoll, the tracker allows ExtraCare members to easily view progress toward all of their earned rewards from the ExtraCare, ExtraCare BeautyClub and ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards programs, as well as access the $10 monthly promo reward they receive as a thank you from the paid membership program CarePass, all in one convenient, digital space.  

Maldives Launches National Loyalty Program With 3 Elite Tiers For Frequent Visitors

Highlight: As the Indian Ocean nation opens up to vaccinated travelers with fewer restrictions, the Border Miles program is rolling out three levels of elite status with related tier benefits. While the program may not be a huge incentive to convince someone to make the long journey, it is a creative way of staying connected with travelers and offering a branded program to boost awareness that it is open for business. Most visitors are more likely to be engaged with a hotel brand’s own loyalty program when it comes to perks, but the effort is still commendable.


Free Grocery Delivery Attracts 8 Million New Paid Walmart+ Subscribers

Highlight: With that in mind, one of the key drivers of new subscriptions to Walmart+ is its leadership in groceries, and the convenience that comes with running over 5,000 U.S. stores. In short, the new data shows that when it comes to just grocery purchases, Walmart’s pricing advantage — combined with its in-store and curbside pickup options — are clearly attracting people to its membership program and getting them to shift their behavior. Twenty-eight percent of Walmart+ customers said they made the shift in their grocery-buying during the pandemic compared to about 19 percent of Amazon customers who did.

BP applies to set up U.S. retail power business: filing

Highlight: BP wants to supply electricity in California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas in its first foray into the retail power business, according to an April 20 filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seen by Reuters. The British company has no retail energy trading business but is one of the largest North American power traders, supplying wholesale customers such as power generators and cities with gas, renewable energy and storage. A new subsidiary called BP Retail Energy will supply the power, going head-to-head with utilities that are under growing pressure from investors and governments to cut carbon emissions.


Foot Locker (FL) Adopts FreedomPay's In-Store Payment Solutions

Highlight: FreedomPay’s leading commerce solutions is preferred by thousands of merchants internationally. It will now work with Foot Locker for providing advanced, safe and secure in-store payment experience for millions of customers in the United States. The new contactless payment system enables customers to have complete control over checkout. The system allows customers to avail contactless payment methods and digital wallets, including PayPal/Venmo, through their own devices.

Deluxe to acquire First American Payment Systems

Highlight: “This is a major, logical and responsible next step in our transformation. With electronic payments playing an increasingly important role across the economy, the addition of First American’s independent, leading payments platform will advance our One Deluxe strategy and our overall growth trajectory,” said Barry McCarthy, President and CEO of Deluxe. “Deluxe serves an integral part of the payments industry, with our software and services processing more than $2.8 trillion annually. First American’s end-to-end payments platform presents significant cross-sell opportunities as we continue to invest in our higher growth Payments segment, and this combination will create a multitude of opportunities to drive tremendous value for our shareholders.”

Virgin Money goes digital with new transaction account, savings accounts and loyalty program

Highlight: Virgin Money has expanded its banking suite after launching a brand new transaction account, two savings accounts, a banking app and a loyalty program. The product expansion comes as part of Virgin Money’s pivot towards becoming a ‘digital bank’, as the new Go Account, Boost Saver and Grow Saver accounts, in addition to existing credit cards, will be able to be accessed inside the recently launched Virgin Money banking app. The new Virgin Money Rewards program will also be accessible through the app. Both transaction and savings account customers can earn Virgin Money Points for spending and saving, with points redeemable for gift cards, travel and shopping offers and even as cashback. However, existing credit card and home loan customers with the bank can still earn Velocity Frequent Flyer Points with their respective point-accruing products.

Gap Inc. Signs Credit Card Program Agreements with Barclays and Mastercard

Highlight: Barclays will become the exclusive issuer of Gap Inc.’s co-branded and private label credit card program in the U.S. beginning in May 2022. In addition, Gap Inc. and Barclays will issue the co-branded credit cards on the Mastercard payment network. PJ Solomon served as financial advisor to Gap Inc. As part of Gap Inc.’s Power Plan 2023, the company is focused on enhancing its rewards program to attract new customers and create enduring relationships to turn its customers into lifelong loyalists. In September 2020, Gap Inc. launched a new program across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, with branded expressions across each of its core brands: Navyist Rewards, Gap Good Rewards, Banana Republic Rewards, and Athleta Rewards. The relaunched credit card program will be a key component of the new rewards program.


College Database Bill Raises Concerns About Student Privacy

Highlight: The reintroduced College Transparency Act is receiving broad support across the political spectrum and from professional organizations, but opponents of the bill in higher education are concerned about how students’ information would be shared with the federal government... Colleges would be required to collect and submit data to the Department of Education regarding student enrollment, persistence, transfer and completion measures for all programs and degree levels. The data would also be disaggregated by demographics, including race and ethnicity, gender, and age. The bill would permit the Department of Education to periodically share limited data with other federal agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration, to calculate postgraduate outcomes, such as income and career prospects.

RBI to issue cybersecurity norms for payment services

Highlight: While the standards for fintech-driven payment services providers will be similar to cyber hygiene norms issued recently for banks and non-banking finance companies, the RBI is quite clear that firms will have to do more than observe the minimum standards to ensure safety as digital transactions gain further traction.“On cyber frauds, Reserve Bank of India has issued very recently basic guidelines on cyber hygiene and cybersecurity for banks and certain NBFCs,” said RBI executive director T. Rabi Sankar. “We would follow that up with respect to other entities such as payments systems operators in the payments space. Those are getting finalised and will be issued soon,” he added.


Analysis: Digital passes fail to banish airline fears over airport chaos

Highlight: More than 220 million people have been fully vaccinated against the disease, according to Our World in Data. Almost a billion have had at least one dose. But many were given shots before the development of new user-friendly, digital health passes, raising uncertainty over the status of millions of certificates issued beforehand, and industry fears of a paper trail that could gum up airports. "As governments begin to amend travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers, it is essential that they provide clear guidance on the acceptance of paper certificates," the group representing global airlines told Reuters in a statement.

Check out last week's newswire: Loyalty Newswire – April 19th, 2021

The Loyalty Newswire is compiled and edited by the staff at The Wise Marketer.