, ,

Wait, what?? Loyalty programs have a higher influence on Gen Z and Millennials??

WM Circle Logo

By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on March 22, 2018

According to a new report from Bond Brand Loyalty, loyalty programs have a higher influence on Gen Z and Millennial consumer spend than on Baby Boomers (65% vs. 56%). However, younger consumers are less satisfied with their programs (30%) compared to their Boomer parents (49%,) creating new opportunities for brands who focus on rewarding members through experiences beyond points.

By Wise Marketer Staff

At last week’s Loyalty Academy Conference in the US, the entire program was focused on the revolution that is going on in our industry.  As part of that multi-front discussion, Certified Loyalty Marketing Professionals™ Barry Kirk, from Maritz and Mike Capizzi, Dean of The Loyalty Academy, unveiled a brief summary of a new research report which indicated substantial generational differences in the way loyalty programs are perceived by consumers.  In a new study released today by Toronto-based Bond Brand Loyalty, similar findings are again revealed and both the shortcomings of current programs and opportunities for brands to change the loyalty game are highlighted.

“Regardless of sector, brands need to rethink their current loyalty strategy in order to increase customer engagement and build loyalty.”

Some topline highlights of the Bond Report:

Consumers say they spend more, advocate for, and remain loyal to brands with loyalty programs that offer innovative personalized experiences in addition to points and discounts.

  • Consumers spend 37% more with brands when they are a loyalty program member. The top five sectors in which spend increases when a consumer is a member of the loyalty program are Gas with a +107% spend increase, Hotel +95%, Coffee / QSR +80% and Airline +64%.
  • A growing number of members (81%) say they are open to having various details of their activity and behavior watched, monitored, and tracked to receive access to personalized rewards or engagements.
  • Openness to being tracked is highest among affluent (85%), Gen Z (94%), and households with children (85%).
  • 89% of consumers find “alternative” currencies such as Wi-Fi access, an empty seat next to them on an airplane, quicker checkout lines for members only, and others to be highly valuable.


A growing number of consumers (26% up from 20% in 2017), are willing to pay a fee for access to enhanced loyalty program benefits.

  • Willingness to pay for enhanced benefits is significantly higher among Gen Z (36%) and Younger Millennials (37%), as well as among households with children (31%) and early technology adopters (44%).

Paid programs and tiers are associated with higher member spend, higher advocacy and longer-term brand loyalty.


91% of members want to engage with brands through a mix of new, emerging and growing tech, including augmented reality, virtual reality, card-on-file and more.

  • Members who have engaged with loyalty technology say it has substantially improved their member experience.
  • Instantly redeeming points for purchases at other merchants improved the experience for 84% of members who have tried this functionality.
  • Among those using card-on-file—81% say their experience improved.
  • 79% who have redeemed with their mobile phone say their experience was improved by that technology.
  • Automatic, location-based offers when inside a store improved the experience for 71% of members who experienced this functionality.
  • Using Augmented Reality (AR) to engage with a program improved the experience for 54% of members.


The new loyalty game means avoiding these top four pitfalls and sources of member frustration:

  • Having points expire;
  • Desired rewards being unavailable (either through blackouts or catalog changes);
  • Dealing with representatives who aren’t knowledgeable about the program; and
  • Being overwhelmed by emails.

“Regardless of sector, brands need to rethink their current loyalty strategy in order to increase customer engagement and build loyalty,” said Bob Macdonald, President and CEO of Bond Brand Loyalty.

In partnership with Visa, The Loyalty Report 2018 is recognized as one of the industry’s benchmark reports on customer engagement, loyalty attitudes, behaviors, drivers and disruption. Now in its eighth year, the expanded 2018 global report features an unprecedented assessment of more than 800 loyalty programs, in 18 markets, by more than 50,000 consumers across a range of key sectors including payments, retail, grocery, CPG, gas, dining, hotel, airline, entertainment and coalition.

A free Executive Summary is available for download and the entire research study can be purchased from Bond.