Is Premium Loyalty Right For You?

Brands are experiencing a significant shift in what consumers want, and premium loyalty benefits are paving a path for the future of consumer brands.

Premium loyalty programs are not only accepted by consumers but appreciated and embraced if they provide value.

They have proven to generate significant incremental revenue and profits for retail organizations across the U.S.

Use our calculator to determine your premium loyalty opportunity (by number of stores, website visits, or total customer count.


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Who’s Doing Premium Loyalty Well?

Here are a few examples of brands that understand how to bring value-add benefits to their customers.


Restoration Hardware
“The new membership program will improve customers’ experience and make the company’s brand more valuable while cutting costs,” states Gary Friedman, Chairman and CEO of Restoration Hardware.

RH puts the card in your basket as a $100 item for checkout on the site, so it’s not a separate enrollment. Benefits include 25% off anytime and other exclusive access benefits.

“Membership has enhanced our brand, streamlined our operations and vastly improved the customer experience,” said Friedman.


A.C. Moore
A.C. Moore’s “Pinwheel VIP” program extends the A.C. Moore brand experience beyond the confines of their stores’ four walls, making the brand more meaningful for customers. This exclusive program is an annual paid membership program offered to A.C. Moore customers for $39.99 and includes over $200 in members-only savings.

“[Our “Pinwheel VIP” program] differentiates our brand and enhances our customer experience!” Anthony Piperno, President, A.C. Moore.



For just $14.99, the 43 million-plus members of GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards program gain exclusive access to merchandise special deals, discounts, bonus
points, and the popular GameInformer magazine.

Fifty percent of transactions have a PowerUp Rewards card attached to them. “It makes you feel like
you’re a part of this exclusive club,” said Yory Wurmser, retail analyst at eMarketer.


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With Free Loyalty, What’s The Risk?

A free loyalty program poses little risk to consumers. You’re often required to give a few pieces of personal information to join, and if you spend enough, you get rewarded.

On the surface, there appears to be limited risk to the retailer as well. The biggest challenge companies face is the long term commitment to their loyalty program. They fail to evolve, and the relationship with their core customer is often compromised.

For example, how many punch cards do you still have in your wallet? Today’s consumers have evolved to using smartphone apps or email rewards.


Often times, free loyalty programs end up training customers not to shop without a coupon. Kohl’s Department Stores offer 10%, 20%, and 30% off coupons. As a customer, I won’t shop until I receive the 30% off coupon because I know it will eventually arrive in my mailbox.

How many of those blue 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupons do you have stockpiled? According to Fortune, the retailer has felt pressure on profits due to widespread coupon usage and as a result they have implemented a premium loyalty program that provides access to an everyday discount.


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Will Customers Pay For Loyalty?

Customers are willing to pay for program benefits if they perceive value.

“If people are truly loyal customers of your brand, they’ll be willing to pay for access to premium benefits – as long as they feel they’re getting value. The key is to provide benefits that are unique and relevant to your brand and deeply resonate with your customer.

If you are able to enhance your customers’ daily lives, they will continue to interact with your brand.”

– Chris Duncan, CMO, Inte Q



Is Premium Loyalty Right for Your Business?

When it comes to loyalty programs, retailers often struggle to decide whether to offer a free loyalty program, or charge customers for the added benefits that a premium loyalty program offers.

A free membership program often attracts a larger customer base, but the question becomes – How engaged are these customers?

Consumers are willing to pay for increased value, special access and elevated benefits from a brand that they know and trust. Charging customers for premium loyalty will attract your best customers and allow you to focus your most expensive assets on them.

A traditional one-size fits all, free program is recommended for retailers looking to target a wide net of customers. However, if you aspire to identify and build relationships with your brand’s most valuable customers, a premium loyalty program can drive customer engagement to the next level.

What is Premium Loyalty?

premium-loyalty-statJust about any time you visit a retailer, you’re asked if you are part of their rewards program. You give the cashier your phone number, acquire points, and eventually, receive a reward in the form of coupons or discounts.

Sign up. Get a Card. Get points.
Loyalty programs are usually that simple.

If consumers have loyalty cards or apps for just about every retailer, is this really loyalty?

How do you differentiate your loyalty program and keep your best customers coming back for more? Enter, premium loyalty. Premium loyalty programs are designed to help brands engage their best customers. By providing a premium level of access to experiences, savings and valuable benefits that go beyond what a free loyalty program offers, you integrate your brand into a customer’s everyday life and strengthen the relationship they have with your brand.

Free vs. Fee: Will Customers Pay for the Right Premium Loyalty Program?


With the abundance of loyalty programs in the market today, it’s no wonder consumers have become immune to offers and incentives. Yet, premium loyalty programs (often called VIP, Membership, or Paid Loyalty) are paving new ground in this mature field. In a tough competitive market, retailers as diverse as Amazon, Restoration Hardware and GameStop are using premium loyalty programs to take customer engagement, customer loyalty and incremental revenue to new heights.

Download our NEW Premium Loyalty Guide to Learn More


  • What is premium loyalty?
  • Free vs. Fee
  • Will customers pay for loyalty?
  • In free loyalty, what’s the risk?
  • Who’s doing premium loyalty well?
  • Is premium loyalty right for you?

Inte Q Announces Contract Extension with Kiwanis International

Inte Q, a leader in customer loyalty, is proud to announce an extension of its agreement to provide data management, analytics and strategy services to Kiwanis International, a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world.

“We are pleased to continue our relationship with Inte Q. Our partnership has helped us identify opportunities to both grow and strengthen our club and membership base, in turn, helping Kiwanis International fulfill our mission,” said Pam Norman, Senior Director, Corporate Relations, Kiwanis International.

Inte Q provides Kiwanis International with reporting and analytics services to support club and member initiatives. This is crucial to the continued growth of Kiwanis International both in local communities and on an international scale.

“Inte Q is pleased to continue a partnership with an organization that is both generous, creative and passionate about making a difference in the lives of children around the world.” said Brian Hartman, Chief Client Officer, Inte Q.

About Inte Q:
Inte Q builds marketing programs that enhance customer retention, strengthen brand loyalty and drive incremental customer engagement. With over 35 years in the loyalty marketing business, Inte Q is a marketing leader focused on loyalty and CRM programs, paid-tier loyalty programs, marketing strategy, analytics, engagement benefits and platform services. For additional information, please visit

About Kiwanis International:
Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students age 14–18, Builders Club for students age 11–14, K-Kids for students age 6–12 and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, annually dedicate more than 18.5 million service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The Kiwanis International family comprises nearly 558,000 adult and youth members in more than 82 countries and geographic areas. Visit for more information.

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Go Beyond “Likes” with Your Social Data

It’s not just about likes…brands need to see the bigger social media picture.

Despite the pervasiveness of social media, 70% of companies are still not collecting data from social channels.*

This doesn’t mean simply counting likes and follows, but actually looking at the data that can be gathered from a customer’s engagement with the brand. What is the conversational content and the overall sentiment? And, what information can that content tell you about the performance of recent campaigns?

Consumers are extensively talking about brands and products on social media. This offers brands the opportunity to learn which elements of campaigns are engaging and the overall opinion consumers have of their brand (as well as competitive brands).

Take social content data even further by leveraging its specificity and viewing the data in audience segments. You can then identify groups of high-potential consumers and target them with highly personalized campaigns.

The more you know about your customers and what they respond to, the more loyalty you can create.


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NCAA Tournament Upset Spikes Customer Engagement at Little Caesars

This article, originally titled, UMBC’s Historic NCAA Tournament Upset Makes for Major Customer Engagement at Little Caesarswas posted by Loyalty 360 on March 27th, written by Jim Tierney.

Before the start of the NCAA Tournament, Ed Gleich, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Little Caesars, said the following: “If a crazy thing happens and there’s an upset, it’ll be a big score for pizza lovers. And if the No. 1 (seeded) teams prevail, fans can still catch a great deal at Little Caesars with our high quality, HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo for just $5. Either way, customers win!”

Guess what, Ed? The ultimate NCAA Tournament upset occurred on March 16 when 16th-seeded University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) knocked off No. 1-seeded Virginia, 74-54—which marked the first time a No. 16-seed beat a No. 1-seed since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Before UMBC’s upset, 16 seeds were 0-135 all-time against 1 seeds.

Virginia finished its season with a record of their season of 31–3.

So, what does this mean for Little Caesars?

Well, before the NCAA Tournament began, Little Caesars made the following offer:

If any of the four 16-seeded men’s college basketball tournament teams defeated any of the four 1 seeds, Little Caesars will give away one free HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo to every family that goes into a participating store between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. (local time) on Monday, April 2, 2018 and mentions the offer at checkout.

How crazy will it be at Little Caesars on April 2?

“We expect long lines!” Jill Proctor, Corporate Communications Manager for Little Caesars, told Loyalty360. “If you’re planning on coming and claiming your prize, we suggest you show up early.”

Available at participating restaurants nationwide, the Little Caesars $5 HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo includes four Detroit-style DEEP!DEEP! Dish pizza slices and a 20-ounce Pepsi product, all served during participating hours. To qualify, you must place your order no later than 1:00 p.m. (local time). If you place your order after 1:00 p.m. local time, even if you were in line at 1:00 p.m. (local time), the offer will have expired and will not be fulfilled. The offer is limited to one HOT-N-READY Lunch Combo per family (defined as parents, children, siblings, and spouse).

It’s valid only at participating stores in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. No purchase is necessary.

“We’re thrilled that it happened actually because we’re really excited for all the hype and enthusiasm that this has generated for our brand,” Proctor added. “We’re seeing a ton of engagement online and in the media—customers are excited about the historic game and the free lunch.”


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