I was fascinated to see your research into grocery loyalty programmes. One of the principal attractions of Sainsbury’s Reward versus Tesco Clubcard is not just the choice of benefits on offer, but the fact that those benefits are treats rather than utilitarian. For example, free flights, theatre and cinema tickets through Air Miles instead of cash discounts.
Another major benefit of Air Miles over cash rewards is that they are sustainable. Cash tends to be used quickly, whereas Miles have a higher perceived value and can be saved for a special treat.
Shoppers have been able to exchange their Sainsbury’s Reward vouchers for Air Miles for over a year now and we know from our own research that this has led to the extreme behaviour changes in pursuit of loyalty rewards. Just recently, we heard of a Sainsbury’s shopper who regularly buys any items with bonus Reward points to boost his Air Miles awards. He has a bathroom piled high with toilet rolls but he also has enough miles for he and a friend to fly first class to the US.
I also receive numerous reports of people who have run out of petrol after driving past garages in the hope of finding a Shell service station so that they can get their Air Miles.
Every week, because we will only work with one player in any sector, we turn down many requests from companies who want to make Air Miles an integral part of their loyalty programme. They want Air Miles because they know what your research has shown – that the right rewards do change behaviour.
Air Miles Travel Promotions