Loyalty Matters

Rob Gallo host of The Loyalty Minute Podcast

In addition to the hand picked & curated articles below, Rob Gallo produces The Loyalty Minute podcast where he breaks down the latest trends in customer loyalty into useful and actionable insights in two minutes or less.

Loyalty program fraud rose 89% year on year, predominantly driven by the amount of personally identifiable information (PII) available from increasing numbers of data breaches. With direct and indirect losses from loyalty and reward points fraud estimated at $1 billion every year, enterprises are struggling to limit damage as fraud attacks shift from the point of transaction to different elements of the buyer’s journey, including new account signup, login, and promotion and coupon use… Read More

Sheree Davis was one of hundreds of thousands of air travelers eager to know how loyalty programs would treat them after the pandemic. So she was excited when American Airlines recently announced that it had extended elite status that had been granted for this year through Jan. 31, 2022. She might still have a chance to use that platinum card.

She acquired elite status through an American promotion last year, and planned to use it to avoid baggage fees and score an occasional upgrade. But it wasn’t meant to be. Travel wasn’t happening for her this year, and it turned out that American extended elite status for only some… Read More

Sephora Loyalty Program


Look at most any list of the top retail brand loyalty programs and Sephora’s Beauty Insider typically is on it. Business Insider calls it out for offering members access to beauty classes, special promotions, exclusive sets and extending extra perks through credit cards. Shopify highlights the program’s flexibility that gives members access to discounts to its luxury brand offerings without… Read More


Nothing can make your heart drop faster than feeling like you just lost a loyal customer. But just because a customer is unhappy, it does not mean they are gone for good. On the contrary, a company’s most loyal fans are often the ones that had a problem, and also had a stellar experience getting it solved. Customer loyalty is key — and here’s how to make it happen.… Read More


Hospitality loyalty programs are in the midst of a dramatic shake-up. Traveler priorities are evolving as consumers seek out more varied options to earn and use rewards beyond the stay. Hotels, too, are adapting their loyalty offerings in response, offering new types of rewards and looking for ways to serve customers not just while they’re on property but as part of their daily lives. How will hotels continue to evolve loyalty beyond… Read More

Customer loyalty begins on the mobile phone


Aligning like-minded brands and celebrities is nothing new. From Michael Jordan’s historic Nike deal in the 1980s to the modern era of influencer marketing, brand collaborations have become the new norm as we absorb day-to-day advertising… Read More


The travel industry tends to view its products as a must-have for consumers. This mindset has led the sector to lag behind the entertainment and e-commerce world when it comes to building lasting relationships with digital-first consumers.

Travel competes, both as a consumer good and an entertainment product, with services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Facebook. Travel, hospitality, and experiences represent the antidote to the digital… Read More


Tips on how to improve customer loyalty with Rob Gallo 

  • If you have a customer loyalty program already, the people who are in your program using it are already loyal. Can they be more loyal?
  • You have an emotional connection to a brand that leads you to engage with that brand. You might drive out of your way to get to a Starbucks if you have that emotional connection. That’s the first step in customer loyalty.
  • The best thing to do for your customers is ease of use. Reduce friction on the user experience side. It needs to be seamless.
  • Rather than points, rather than discounts, people want unique experiences that are personalized to them. Ask them what you can offer that would be appealing to them? Listen Now


Who doesn’t love to earn points and get free stuff? Most of us have shopped at a certain grocery store, applied for a credit card, or flown on a particular airline just so we can earn points and get rewarded for our purchases.

This is why restaurant loyalty programs have a lot of potential for driving repeat sales. In fact, popular fast food chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are earning millions from customers who are dedicated to… Read More


The true purpose of a business, Peter Drucker said, is to create and keep customers. Most managers understand this, but few behave as if they do. Under relentless earnings pressure, they often feel cornered, obliged to produce quick profits by compromising product quality, trimming services, imposing onerous fees, and otherwise shortchanging their customers. This short-termism erodes loyalty, reducing the value customers create… Read More


We’ve all heard the Starbucks/Amazon stories. But loyalty programs in B2B are criminally underutilized. In this episode, Rob Gallo, Founder and President of CompLinks, shares his experience running an online casino company—and what that taught him about how loyalty should be the backbone of any business… Listen Now


A significant number of customers are just not interested in joining loyalty programs, according to a new study, a fact that to some suggests how retailers might engage that cohort. A full 38 percent of consumers are not interested in joining loyalty programs due to their lack of perceived value, according to a study conducted by CFI Group and Radial. The study suggests that to get hesitant customers on board, retailers should offer faster delivery, personalized customer service options and more flexible returns. In the study, 63 percent of… Read More


Digital disruption and new generational influences are making customer loyalty tough to hold onto these days, but fresh thinking on loyalty programs is key to winning and retaining customers, according to KPMG International’s The Truth about Customer Loyalty report.

With the holidays near, KPMG’s survey of over 18,000 consumers in 20 countries explores the nature of customer loyalty and how some traditional loyalty programs, long a mainstay of customer retention strategies, may not be keeping consumers brand-faithful… Read More


Apps are part of our day-to-day lives, we use them to communicate, manage our banking, order our food and transport, order products and services. It’s no surprise that brands are integrating Apps into their existing loyalty program as a way to reach and target their customer base.

According to Business of Apps, there were over 2.2 million apps available in the iOS App Store in May this year. This number increasing daily. Yet, 77% of users report never using an App again 72 hours after installing it… Read More


If you ask a restaurateur how customers engage with and view their loyalty program, chances are they will say that their customers “love it!” In many instances, however, the customer’s perception of the loyalty program differs greatly from the restaurateur’s.

According to an Oracle study ”The Loyalty Divide,” looking at the gap between operator and consumer perspectives on loyalty, customers are far less engaged in a loyalty program than restaurateurs believe they are. In fact, 23 percent of… Read More


“Points are dead”. These words were spoken by Pavel Los, Shell Global Loyalty Program Manager during a presentation made recently at the Loyalty Surgery conference, held 16-17 October in London. His statements were shared by Iain Pringle on LinkedIn… Read More


Loyalty is earned, and certainly not given, and there is a definite difference between loyalty programs and a guest’s loyalty to a brand. Hotel loyalty programs might seem ubiquitous today, but nearly 60% of guests still don’t belong to one. During the 2019 Skift Tech Forum, industry experts agreed that today’s travelers seek more than just opportunities to earn points – they want experiences. Mind you, that doesn’t mean it’s beyond… Read More


How Data-Rich Marketing Efforts Keep Loyalty Members Flying With Southwest Airlines

In episode 211 of Total Retail Talks, Executive Editor Joe Keenan speaks with Jonathan Clarkson, managing director of loyalty, partnerships and products for Southwest Airlines. Listen in as Clarkson discusses Southwest’s Rapid Rewards loyalty program, how the program differentiates from other airlines’ rewards programs, and the fundamentals of its revenue-based earn-and-burn… Read More and Listen


Giving away discounts, dollar savings the same week, or over the same timeframe that loyalty points or program currency are offered. Use your value proposition wisely. Don’t chase sales by driving down your margin on goods sold and at the same time escalate your liability. Work ahead and communicate through progressing by effectively teaming with your merchant planning and… Read More

A loyalty rewards card showing a points balance


There is a difference between a repeat customer and a loyal customer. Some companies don’t know the difference. Just because a customer comes back, even repeatedly, doesn’t mean the customer is loyal – at least not to the company. Let me explain.

Sometimes a customer is loyal to price. As long as the company has the lowest price, the customer keeps coming back. If they find what they are buying from you somewhere else for a lower price, the customer walks…Read More


Imagine If You Could Redeem Your Airline Points At Restaurants And Retailers, Too

Travel loyalty programs are undergoing an evolution of sorts. As Skift recently noted, loyalty partnerships between major travel suppliers, such as United-Marriott and American-Hilton (and most recently, Emirates-Marriott) have traditionally targeted members with elite status. However, Accor Hotels and Air France/KLM recently announced a different kind of loyalty offering: one that targets all the brands’ loyalty….Read More


7 Key Pieces to a Seamless loyalty Program

Quick! Do a mental count: How many loyalty programs do you belong to?  Credit card, Airline, hotel, department stores, gas stations, video games?

In the race to own the customer and of course, the data and perceived value that comes along with it, every business vertical has created programs and platforms that gratify the consumer and ensure….Read More


Is Your Casino Loyalty Club an Eagle, Chameleon or Flounder?

In the casino industry, loyalty clubs are the relentless workhorses of marketing. Loyalty clubs effect casino operations like veins, carrying offers and touching almost every departmental function. Many loyalty clubs are content to flounder and remain the same. Or, like a chameleon, only change after a competitor lights up the market with a new and better offer….Read More


Despite news of the recent Facebook data breach and other high-profile misuses, data is not something to be feared. It is something to be captured and used in a way that benefits both c-stores and the customers they enroll in loyalty programs. 

According to the Bond 2019 Loyalty Report, 73% of people are “more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs,” while 79% are more likely to do business with those brands and 66% spend…Read More


2018 Maritz study revealed that nearly 70% of consumers identified themselves as “transient” loyalists to brands. This means they can be convinced to buy a competitor’s brand. Only 29% of consumers considered themselves to be “resolute” loyalists who only buy their favorite… Read More


Brands looking to win customers for life should consider their emotional states and incorporate that data into all relevant touch points along the path to purchase.

That’s according to a new study from Deloitte Digital on how emotions impact long-term customer loyalty. Here are the top… Read More


What can you learn by the numbers? See how your loyalty program stacks up against some of the most popular loyalty and customer engagement statistics. It will help you understand what works and doesn’t work in the world of loyalty… Read More


Equipped with loyalty programs, convenience store retailers are collecting more data on their customers than ever before and the reasoning behind it is clear to data experts.

“It’s imperative to use loyalty data to retain customers since it’s seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to encourage a visit from an existing… Read More


The 3 (glaring) reasons you’ll fail to keep customers coming back. It used to be much simpler.

People had vacation spots that were their vacation spots. People had casinos that were their casinos. To keep them coming back, all you had to do was make sure they had fun. But things are different, now. People only spend their money after scrolling… Read More


Over the last decade, the alignment between business and IT has become increasingly critical to an organization’s success. This shift has given IT leaders a seat at the table as accepted partners of the business…. Read More


Customer loyalty programs can be a key element in attracting new customers and retaining existing ones, but not all loyalty programs are created equal. A superior loyalty program at a similar company can lure a formerly loyal customer away. Boosting customer loyalty is an ongoing challenge for marketers, and below are seven strategic tips for increasing engagement… Read More


We are in the age of expectation. Our customer expects complete knowledge of every spend they make and every click they take and every piece of information they leave about themselves across the organization. We’re not exactly there with that kind of knowledge at many of our properties… Read More


Homing in on your ad target through technology is only half a marketer’s job: The other half is maintaining that customer relationship. Seductive rewards programs give consumers easy access to brands they already buy and give companies lots of data to mine—and the better the program, the higher the adoption rate… Read More


Homing in on your ad target through technology is only half a marketer’s job: The other half is maintaining that customer relationship. Seductive rewards programs give consumers easy access to brands they already buy and give companies lots of data to mine—and the better the program, the higher the adoption rate… Read More


Marriott and Southwest Airlines on Thursday night once again took top honors at the annual Freddie Awards, recognizing the top travel industry loyalty programs. A few new players, including Hyatt and IHG, were able to sneak onto the podium, too.

The rankings are compiled from millions of votes across business travelers in the industry. The ceremony for the awards, named for eccentric… Read More

“What’s the significance of this achievement?

All the winners in their respective categories have a coalition loyalty component which allows their members to earn rewards for shopping online.

Southwest, Marriott, Caesars… That’s good company to be in…”


Walk into any digital marketing meeting and you’re bound to hear “Target millennials,” “This is what Gen Z wants,” and “The new generation responds well to this content.”

But what about the rest of the consumer base? Often, in meeting with my own marketing teams, I look around at the young and hip employees who know how to navigate the digital sphere and social media, but have no idea how (nor inclination) to reach the older… Read More


Most marketers understand that customer expectations have increased in the last few years. Before the advent of mobile technology, brands could content themselves with push marketing and mass communications. Now, though, customers have a vast warehouse of information available to them at every moment. If they’re going out to dinner, they no longer have to… Read More


More people than ever before are online while on the go. In fact, the growth of broadband in the home has actually slowed. A full 20% of Americans primarily use their smartphones instead of having internet access at home, according to Pew Research Center. This means the need to explore and take advantage of the possibilities of mobile loyalty programs… Read More


Imagine if the second someone walked onto your casino, you knew: the color they just painted their living room, the fact that they just had a baby, their favorite places to shop, their love of martinis, and the last few vacations they’d gone on. It’s not far off. We buy everything online—paint swatches, strollers, barware, flight tickets… Read More


For more than two decades, Caesars Entertainment has been trying to convince investors that a loyalty program is a big value adder for the company. The Total Rewards loyalty program was one of the reasons private equity firms acquired the company in 2006, reasoning that a large database of customers would allow… Read More


“I am not happy with it [the 15% commission rate], but you do get a constant stream of millions of users…”

This quote comes from a 2015 Guardian article on Amazon, but the sentiment could apply to almost any business that ever paid a fee to participate in a marketplace.

This challenge – the give-and-take of marketplaces – now firmly belongs on the agenda of loyalty strategy meetings.

In the past, running a brand loyalty program was simple. Any business could offer a reward, in the form of a discount on a product or service.  While 71% of consumers want discounts in exchange for loyalty, they also demonstrate a significant willingness to accept higher prices: almost 40%… Read More


In Age Of Amazon, Your Brand Needs New Loyalty Program Now!

In the past, running a brand loyalty program was simple. Any business could offer a reward, in the form of a discount on a product or service.  While 71% of consumers want discounts in exchange for loyalty, they also demonstrate a significant willingness to accept higher prices: almost 40%… Read More


More than 80% of millennials and nearly two-thirds of baby boomers have reported an interest in getting rewards not just for purchases but also for engagement with brands. Companies can use gamification marketing to drive engagement, which is key to loyalty.

In the same report, nearly one-third of all participants and 40% of millennials say there should be games with loyalty programs. One advantage… Read More


How many “points” have you collected so far this holiday shopping season?

Like millions of consumers, you likely belong to at least one loyalty rewards program. These programs give you “points,” “miles” or some virtual currency when you buy from…. Read More


Loyalty, as they say, must be earned. For retailers and other merchants in a crowded and competitive marketplace, earning customer loyalty is a top priority…. Read More


Mobile’s influence on shopping behavior has been on the rise since the advent of the smartphone, but recent data indicates consumers are becoming more comfortable finalizing transactions on their phones… Read More


In today’s digital age, consumers have access to an unprecedented level of information. Never before has it been so easy to find information that can potentially make or break… Read More


Casinos have perfected marketing, loyalty, and engagement tactics with their patron while they’re on property, with plenty of data to back up strategic decisions to drive more revenue year over year… Read More


During the Mad Men-era of advertising in the 1960s, there was a significant creative revolution that changed how products and services would forever be marketed to… Read More


Loyalty isn’t about points or miles or discounts. It means more than collecting an email address in exchange for a discount… Read More


There’s a trend rising in the loyalty space: More companies are looking to expand their earn and redemption offerings outside of their own loyalty programs — specifically, through coalition loyalty programs…. Read More