Retailer Rewards Programs

Goals

Identify 2-3 major US retailers and provide their name and the main details of the rewards or loyalty program terms and conditions. Focus on rewards and loyalty programs.
Provide 1-2 news articles or press releases discussing expiry, dormancy or breakage in rewards or loyalty programs in the US in the last 3 years.
Determine if there is a difference when the loyalty points are from businesses to business clients instead of to individual clients.

Early Findings

Walmart

Costco

  • Costco has an Executive Rewards program that must be renewed annually to remain active, as it is a paid service.
  • It also has a Business Membership that allows businesses to purchase for resale. It must be renewed annually as it is a paid service.
  • Costco mails out cash-back rewards instead of applying a cash reward to credit cardholders. In 2017, Ontario stopped allowing expiration dates on its cash-back coupons, forcing Costco to accept coupons that stated that they had expired.
  • In the US, cash-back reward coupons are only valid before the expiration date.

Kroger

  • Kroger's Cash Back Rewards program issues Cash Back Rewards that expire.
  • The Cash Back Rewards Program has no fixed termination date.
  • If a user's Cash Back Rewards program account becomes inactive, meaning the client does not use the account for 12 months, then Kroger applies a charge of $2 per month.
  • Kroger also offers a Kroger REWARDS World Mastercard. Points through this card expire after 36 months.
  • Kroger offers a Rewards Prepaid Debit card. Through this program, if the user has a Temporary card, there is only an activity fee of $2 if the card was purchased and loaded before January 1st, 2017. Points through this card expire 24 months from the month issued.
  • Kroger's 1-2-3 REWARDS coupons expire after 12 months.

Difference between B2B and B2C Loyalty Programs

Relevant News Articles

  • A Forbes article from September 2019 discusses how expiring loyalty rewards can negatively impact customer loyalty. The author references how United Airlines, Delta, and JetBlue have recognized this effect and their frequent flier miles will no longer expire.
  • A press release from September 2019 from Lenovo announced a new MyLenovo Rewards program. The Rewards expire after six months.

Proposed next steps:

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In our initial research, we found some data points about rewards or loyalty programs of major US retailers. We recommend continuing this research by further examining the rewards or loyalty programs of the three retailers discussed here (Walmart, Costco, and Kroger) and identifying 2-3 additional retailers. For each retailer, we would provide the relevant details of their loyalty or rewards program. We could also provide 3-4 additional press releases or articles discussing expiration or dormancy in rewards or loyalty programs.
Furthermore, we recommend continuing our research to identify differences in the terms of rewards or loyalty programs for B2B versus B2C. We would identify differences in the expiration and dormancy rules, as well as other key details of the program, and cite examples of programs for each data point.
Other: You tell us how to proceed.