types of loyalty programs

Create Comprehensive Points Reward Programs with Loyalty Prime

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Loyalty programs are an amazing tool to understand and profitably drive customer behavior! There is a great variety of types of loyalty programs you can choose from that align with your individual business goals, your specific industry needs, and your customer base.

Now which one is for you? To lend you a helping hand, we have compiled an overview of the most popular, modern, and effective types of loyalty programs below.

They are clustered based on various criteria, and the wonderful thing to remember here – you can mix & match them according to your needs!

All Types of Loyalty Programs Are Possible With Our Loyalty Platform ‘Prime Cloud’

With our highly flexible, enterprise-grade loyalty platform ‘Prime Cloud’, we give you the power to develop, launch, implement, and update precisely the type of loyalty program your business needs and your customers want.

  • All of the below listed loyalty program types can easily be set-up and powerfully managed with our award-winning SaaS Loyalty Solution ‘Prime Cloud’.
  • You can also freely combine any of the below listed loyalty program types.
  • And of course, you can also start off with one type of loyalty program and expand it to include other types and features over time!

Looking for a type of loyalty program that is not listed below? Rest assured, we can do that too! Contact us to find out!

Want to See How Prime Cloud Can Power Your Desired Loyalty Program Type?

Contact Us for Your Live Demo!

Choose One or Mix and Match – The Most Effective Types of Loyalty Programs at a Glance!

With ‘Prime Cloud’ the power is in your hands – which type of loyalty program can we deliver for you?

Types of Loyalty Programs Based On Specific Incentives

The first and most typical way of clustering types of loyalty programs is based on the main type of incentive offered to your members or who these incentives are for.


Types Based On Incentive

Points Based Rewards Program

In this “queen” of loyalty programs (it has been around for a while but has become much more sophisticated over the years), members accumulate a virtual currency (such as points or miles) for certain customer behavior and redeem these for various types of rewards.


Types Based On Incentive

Benefits & Perks Loyalty Program

In this simpler type of loyalty program, all loyalty program members get access to a specific set of perks, benefits, or privileges (such as free Wi-Fi access or birthday surprises).


Types Based On Incentive

Tiered Loyalty Program

In a tiered loyalty program, members obtain a certain status level based on their behavior and receive a growing amount or value of benefits per each tier level.


Types Based On Incentive

VIP Loyalty Program (or Loyalty Programs for any Special Customer Group)

In this type of loyalty program, only a specific subset of your customers receives access to your loyalty program and its benefits. These could be your “top” VIP customers, or customer segments based on interest (imagine a “Baby Club” or a “Sustainability Tribe” for example).


Types Based On Incentive

Subscription Loyalty Program

In this type of loyalty program (which has become especially popular due to the success of Amazon Prime), customers pay a subscription fee to take part. This also works in combination with the above 2 loyalty program types, of course, where members pay a fee to gain access to a premium level or a premium sub-group of your loyalty program. In exchange for their fee, members then receive access to a special world of loyalty benefits.


Types Based On Incentive

Surprise & Delight Loyalty Program

In this type of loyalty program, members receive a surprise reward or benefit once they reach an internally predefined but externally undisclosed interaction level with your company. This is a great loyalty program type to foster high customer satisfaction levels (who doesn’t love a good surprise?!) – and an ideal one to be combined with other loyalty program types for extra icing on the loyalty cake!


Types Based On Incentive

Gamified Loyalty Program

In a gamified loyalty program, members earn digital badges (or another prize) for their behavior (such as “Brand Lover” of the month for the member with the most social media engagement) and receive benefits and/or rewards with these badges.


Types Based On Incentive

Customer Referral Program

This is a great loyalty program type to foster word-of-mouth marketing! In a customer referral program, members earn benefits or rewards for referring new members or new customers.


Types Based On Incentive

Cashback Loyalty Program

In this very basic type of loyalty program, members receive direct cashback as a reward for their purchases.


Types Based On Incentive

Community Loyalty Program

With a Community Loyalty Program, members are incentivized to become a part of a community, due to the benefits related to community participation. Community Loyalty Programs are often used in combination with other types of programs such as Points Rewards Programs and VIP Programs.

Types of Loyalty Programs Based On the Main Target Audience

A second way of looking at loyalty program types is with a focus on their main target audience. Which one is yours?


Types Based On Main Target Audience

B2B Loyalty Program

A B2B loyalty program focuses on providing additional benefits and rewards for the purpose of attracting and strengthening partnerships with other businesses.


Types Based On Main Target Audience

B2C Loyalty Program (Customer Loyalty Program)

A B2C loyalty program is directed at providing rewards and benefits specifically for the end consumer.


Types Based On Main Target Audience

B2E Loyalty Programs (Employee Loyalty Program)

A B2E loyalty program involves a reward and benefits structure set up explicitly for employees within a company.

Types Loyalty Programs Based on the Main Sales Channel

A third way to differentiate which type of loyalty program you need is based on your main sales channel(s):


Types Based on Main Sales Channel

Loyalty Card Program (POS/Offline)

A loyalty program where members use a physical or mobile loyalty card to identify themselves at a brick and mortar store or at any other physical POS (point of sale) to earn and redeem loyalty program benefits.


Types Based on Main Sales Channel

Online Only/eCommerce Loyalty Program

In an online only or eCommerce Loyalty Program, members earn their loyalty program benefits when shopping/ doing transactions with you online.


Types Based on Main Sales Channel

Omnichannel Loyalty Programs

In this “king” of loyalty programs, you give your members a seamless loyalty program experience, no matter where they shop or do business with you – online, mobile, or “offline”.


Types Based on Main Sales Channel

Payment Card Linked Loyalty Programs

This one is a particularly great loyalty program type for the financial sector! Members can link one or more payment methods (such as credit cards) to their loyalty profile, and upon use of that payment method at qualifying merchants, they earn points and/or benefits at the advertised earn rate.


Types Based on Main Sales Channel

Coalition & Multipartner Loyalty Program

Members can not only earn and use benefits with you, but also with partners you invite to take part in your loyalty program!

Hybrid Loyalty Programs

To make your program exciting for members, we recommend combining loyalty program types! Basically, the sky is the limit here! An example could be:

  • A B2C Points Based Rewards Program…
  • … that also offers a set of perks for all members
  • … that also offers tiers with a growing value of perks and benefits per status level
  • … that has some nice, gamified loyalty elements built in
  • …. AND that pampers VIP customers with additional surprise & delight rewards!

Enterprise Loyalty Programs

Finally, it is also important to consider how large and complex your loyalty program will become – as this determines the type of Loyalty Program Software you need!

An enterprise loyalty program is for businesses that require:

  • A high number of member accounts
  • Complex program functionality
  • A high level of performance
  • The flexibility to scale and update as needed

How to Combine Your Points Rewards Program with Other Loyalty Program Types

A Points Reward Program should excite your customers! It needs to consistently remain fresh and interesting if you want to keep them engaged over the long run. The modern customer has high expectations, so you need to adhere to and even try to surpass those as time goes on. When you combine your Points Rewards Program with another type of loyalty program, this brings the entire program to a whole new level.

Here are a few ways to do so:

Tiered programs: airlines have long offered not just Points Rewards Programs, but also tiers that include upgrades, early boarding, free bag check, and many other perks (mostly benefits that are on the emotional side of the spectrum). Tier qualification is often based on points earned during a set time period, but can also be based on spend, tenure, or a combination of criteria.

Surprise and delight: it’s easy to add surprise rewards to a Points Rewards Program. Your selection for who receives a surprise reward could be based on points earned in a certain time period, or you could use a combination of criteria.

Partnerships and coalitions: You can also expand your Points Rewards Program by adding external partners both in the form of short-term campaigns or long-term partnerships. This not only delivers great new options for your members to earn or redeem points, but also unlocks additional revenue streams for you by making partners pay for their participation in your program.

Fee-based programs: you can add a fee-based element to a Points Rewards Program, for example, an annual membership fee a member earns points at a faster rate, earns bonus points, or has access to special rewards. Be sure that the member benefits for a fee-based program are valuable enough to make members willing to pay the extra fee.

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