Toronto Star

How the best loyalty programs stay ahead of the curve.

- Sandra MacGregor

It’s no wonder that over the last decade reward programs have become increasing­ly popular in Canada. Consumers enjoy knowing that every time they pull out their plastic to pay for a purchase, they’ll be compensate­d — be it in points, cash, miles, or more — for spending their hardearned-dollars.

As loyalty cards’ popularity increased, so too did the choices available to consumers. And Canadians are constantly on the lookout for a reward program that will truly respond to their needs.

RBC Rewards is one of the most popular and long-standing reward programs in Canada. “RBC Rewards is Canada’s largest and most flexible bank-owned proprietar­y loyalty program, offering significan­t value to RBC’s clients,” says Jacquelina Calisto, Vice President of Loyalty & Rewards, Digital, Payments and Cards, RBC. “It’s an extremely client centric program focused on giving our clients more ways to earn rewards faster, more ways to save through amazing offers and special perks, as well as more choices to redeem rewards, such as rich travel rewards; financial rewards (like paying off credit card, paying down your mortgage, making investment contributi­ons); and access to exciting merchandis­e, gift cards, once in a lifetime experience­s, and much more.”

Responding to consumers’ needs

RBC is aware that the increasing­ly competitiv­e rewards market, combined with sophistica­ted consumers who demand a relevant and flexible reward model, means reward programs must make customer satisfacti­on a priority. “Our philosophy is to help clients get the most out of their rewards program while providing an exceptiona­l and engaging experience. We have designed our program to provide our clients with the greatest rewards value. We want to make it easier for clients to redeem instantly and more frequently. We also offer more ways to earn faster through several partnershi­ps.

The bank also recognizes the importance consumers place on the usability and selection of a rewards program. “We are laser focused on providing our clients with choice and real value. The breadth of redemption options provides clients with the ability to redeem for what’s important to them,” says Calisto.

The Avion credit card is the flagship of the bank’s loyalty program and is one of the top travel rewards credit cards in the country. “We’re committed to delivering on the promise of ‘any, any, any’ to our Avioners,” explains Calisto. “That’s why we provide clients with the flexibilit­y to book travel on any airline, any flight, at any time— that means no blackout periods, seat restrictio­ns, or points expiry.”

Embracing innovation

To deliver on its promise of relevancy and ease of use, RBC stays at the forefront of reward program initiative­s through a solid commitment to innovation and technology. “Innovation has played an important role in our ability to evolve our rewards program and provide our clients with a differenti­ated experience,” says Calisto. “Our investment­s in technology and product innovation — such as blockchain, virtual reality, machine learning, and payments — have allowed us to provide our clients with remarkable and unique experience­s. For example, most recently clients could explore what RBC Rewards has to offer through a VR experience at our Avion Holiday Boutique.

This willingnes­s to embrace change and invest in the future is clear in RBC’s most recent innovation: the RBC Rewards App. “Mobile has played a pivotal role in shifting consumer behaviour to be always on and always connected with instant access to informatio­n. We recognize this and felt it was important to provide our RBC Rewards members with the ability to engage with our program on the go — anytime, anywhere,” says Calisto.

“The Rewards App provides our clients with the flexibilit­y and convenienc­e to explore, shop, and redeem their points when they want and for rewards that align with their personal preference­s. We want to give our clients options that suit them — whether that’s taking a family vacation, getting a new iPhone, picking up a gift card for their friends, shopping for the latest and greatest merchandiz­e, or making a positive impact in the world by donating to a series of charities.We are committed to providing our clients with engaging and relevant experience­s, all focused on providing our rewards members with more value. Our rewards program is a place where we can engage with our clients to provide them with real value beyond points and we’re really excited about that.”

 ??  ?? Jacquelina Calisto Vice President of Loyalty & Rewards
Jacquelina Calisto Vice President of Loyalty & Rewards

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