Reward Your Best Customers, It’ll Pay Off

255_UnitedAirlinesMy friend Seth Levine of the Foundry Group is flying to DC today. He’s flying to DC, laying over for 47 min. then flying home. No work, no family visits, no vacation, no luggage, nothing. He’s flying to DC and back to get his 1K status on United.

He’s paying approximately $400 dollars and spending his day on a plane to get United rewards. If you travel, getting to 1K is absolutely worth it. I’d say this is a good investment on his part.

I fly United because of their frequent flier program. They are the main carrier in Denver. I travel 50K to 75K miles a year (haven’t hit 1K yet). I will pay a bit more to fly United to get my points. It takes a lot for me to go with another carrier. United’s frequent flier program is sticky.

I get inundated with special customer deals all the time. But, the truth is they rarely have substance. They are not compelling and do nothing to get me to alter my behavior.

If you have a rewards program, make it worth something. Don’t insult your best customers with an additional 5% off. Don’t create a program that looks like a state fair carnival game, where your “best customers” spend $10,000 bucks and get enough points for a free $250 I-Pod.

If they are your best customers, treat them that way. Create a program where they will spend money they don’t have to just to be a part of it.

Seth’s on a plane right now, the day after Christmas. He doesn’t have to be. He wants to be, that’s how good United’s 1K program is.

How good is your rewards program?

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