What hap­pens when loy­alty schemes go feral

Idealog - - CONTENTS -

AIR NEW ZEALAND’S re­cent un­sched­uled de­par­ture from one bank’s loy­alty pro­gramme to another caught many fre­quent fly­ers on the hop, and led to an un­seemly squab­ble be­tween banks des­per­ate to win our eter­nal pa­tron­age in ex­change for the chance of a one way off-peak trip to Ti­maru in 2019.

It also got us think­ing. What is it about these loy­alty schemes that makes us drive across town to earn points in some pro­gramme we don’t re­ally un­der­stand and might not ever profit from? What’s in it for the mar­keters and why do they spend so much on them? And could the col­lec­tive brains of the Idealogic Depart­ment con­coct a range of pro­grammes even more at­trac­tive than the cur­rent crop?

The first two ques­tions prob­a­bly re­quire some sort of MBA to prop­erly an­swer, but the an­swer to the third, hap­pily, was found at the bot­tom of a bot­tle of cheap wine, partly paid for with our last nine years’ Fly Buys.

Bot­toms up, loyal reader and en­joy our take on the fu­ture of re­wards.

Shear points

Ru­moured to be the bank­ing sec­tor’s big move for 2015, this scheme sees bank­ing re­turn to its ru­ral roots, with at least one com­pany of­fer­ing to drop round a bale of top qual­ity merino wool to its most loyal cus­tomers. “Bruce”, a part­time loy­alty man­ager at one lead­ing bank, was cagey about the de­tails but did say: “We’ve been fleec­ing the bas­tards for long enough… only fair they get a bit back.”

Emi­rates Team New Zealand Loyal-tea

Grant Dal­ton and co have re­ally pushed the boat out on this one, promis­ing any­one at all who writes a cheque in sup­port of the next chal­lenge that Dave Dob­byn will pop around in per­son, sing his 1952 hit jin­gle “Loyal” un­til they’re sick of it, then make them a cup of tea.


Cash is king in this frankly mad leaked Labour Party pro­gramme. Aimed to counter the claims or racism lev­eled at it in the wake of its Asian-sound­ing-sur­name prop­erty own­er­ship sur­vey de­ba­cle, Ker-Ching of­fers to com­pen­sate any­one called Ching, Chang, Lim or in­deed any­thing a se­nior Labour staffer de­scribed as “even a lit­tle bit How­icky.”

Fight Club­card

Pri­vate pris­ons op­er­a­tor Serco de­scribes this as, “an in­no­va­tion in mod­ern cor­rec­tions fa­cil­ity man­age­ment.” Fight Club­card of­fers pris­on­ers great re­wards such as home brewed al­co­hol, mo­bile phones, Class B drugs and even Cor­rec­tions Of­fi­cers’ ra­dios in ex­change for cre­at­ing and dis­tribut­ing rel­e­vant and com­pelling video con­tent online.

Dine with DOC

Aimed squarely at the gourmet end of the mar­ket, Dine with DOC re­wards food­ies wh­who aren’t afraid to think out­side the menu. The pro­gramme en­cour­ages all New Zealan­ders to make bet­ter use of the liv­ing larder cur­rently sit­ting waste­fully in our zoos, na­tional parks and wildlife sanc­tu­ar­ies and of­fers tasty re­wards for do­ing just that. The scheme cur­rently fo­cuses on kereru and other easily caught birds, but seafood lovers will be lick­ing their lips at the prospect of Maui’s Dol­phins re­turn­ing to the menu in late 2016 (served rare, of course). Fre­quent fly­ers head­ing for Zim­babwe might think about join­ing the newly- opened in­ter­na­tional sis­ter scheme Supper with Ce­cil.

Startup Burn ‘n’ Earn

This scheme is spon­sored by NZTE and re­wards startup com­pa­nies not for spend­ing their own money, but in­vestors’. NZTE head of press re­leases Sarah Frankly- Speakin ex­plains, “Profit is an out­dated met­ric and any­one who fo­cuses on it is liv­ing in the past. We wanted to re­ward com­pa­nies who aren’t afraid to spend other peo­ple’s cash. Es­pe­cially ours.” De­tails are sketchy but the scheme looks likely to of­fer di­rect cash pay­ments to com­pa­nies with a proven record of ac­cept­ing and spend­ing di­rect cash pay­ments.

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