back icon Back Insights 03/26/2024

5 Real-Life Customer Loyalty Program Examples

So many business leaders are asking, “How do you convert customers into loyal customers?” — when really, the question should be, “How do you create a customer loyalty program?” You see, seven out of 10 customers consider loyalty programs a leading factor in securing ultimate brand loyalty. Moreover, over 50% of consumers are likely to increase participation in loyalty programs.

At a time when customer loyalty programs are thriving, it’s imperative to set your program apart from the rest with coveted membership perks, like discounts, the ability to earn points and rewards on purchases, and exclusive access to new products. If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for inspiration. Let’s look at five of the best customer loyalty program examples for 2024. 

1. Starbucks Rewards

When it comes to trending examples of customer loyalty programs, the Starbucks Rewards program tends to lead the pack. So, what is the Starbucks loyalty program? Starbucks Rewards allows customers to earn 1 Star per each $1 spent, which can be redeemed for free drinks, food, and merchandise. While members can join by registering with their email address or activating a Starbucks Card, the emphasis is on the Starbucks Rewards app, which gathers customer data to personalize promotions and rewards.

Primary perks of this customer loyalty program example include 

  • Mobile app integration. The Starbucks Rewards mobile loyalty app handles 25% of customer transactions, mainly because it streamlines the ordering process by remembering past purchases and providing personalized recommendations.
  • Data-driven insights for personalized offers. Speaking of personalized recommendations, Starbucks Rewards uses mobile app data to select from over 400,000 promotion variants, helping to improve offer redemption three-fold.
  • Encouraging prepayment. Starbucks Rewards deploys a simple mobile wallet solution that stores customer payment information, accelerating the time it takes to make and place an order.  
  • Tiered rewards system. Starbucks’ Star rewards are available in 25, 100, 200, 300, and 400-star increments, incentivizing customers to continue spending to unlock the next rewards tier. 
  • Exclusive benefits. Starbucks Rewards members are privy to several lucrative partnership loyalty programs, including one with Delta SkyMiles that earns members 1 mile per every $1 spent at Starbucks. 
  • Community building. Starbucks Rewards offers members-only exclusive events, like Double Star Days and holiday-themed mobile games, where members compete to earn the most Stars and rewards.

2. TOMS Rewards

The TOMS Rewards program is another loyalty scheme that’s hard to avoid when discussing top customer loyalty program examples. What sets TOMS Rewards apart from other loyalty program examples is its focus on social impact. In addition to traditional points-based rewards, which can be applied to TOMS orders in the form of discounts or free shipping on purchases, customers can exchange points to donate to TOMS partners, like mental health coalitions. Perks of the TOMS Rewards program include 

  • Social mission. The TOMS brand has donated over 35 million pairs of shoes since 2006 and $1.7 million donated to mental health programs in 2023 alone. 
  • Emotional connection. TOMS Rewards offers customers the satisfaction of contributing to global causes with each purchase, which appeals to their sense of social responsibility and forges an emotional connection with the brand. 
  • Brand differentiation. Unlike other customer loyalty program examples, TOMS Rewards has several unique offerings, from branded rewards for personal use to social impact projects that benefit the greater good.
  • Community engagement. Purchases made by loyal TOMS customers have ultimately changed the lives of more than 340,000 individuals in the shape of mental health resources and access to opportunities in local communities. 
  • Transparency and trust. Both are pillars of TOMS Rewards and the TOMS brand as a whole, which can explain why the brand publishes an annual impact report for customer donations. 
  • Authentic storytelling. With values encompassing purpose, planet, and people, TOMS Rewards leverages authentic storytelling to demonstrate the impact of continuous customer engagement.

Outdoor enthusiasts enjoying a fall hike in their loyalty program rewarded camping gear and apparel.

  1. REI Co-Op Member Rewards

If you’re on the hunt for paid customer loyalty program examples, look no further than REI Co-Op Member Rewards. REI Co-Op Member Rewards require a $30 entrance fee for lifetime membership. In exchange for the one-time payment, members earn cashback on eligible purchases, gain access to exclusive sales, and receive opportunities to participate in local adventure classes. Upon sign-up, members even receive a $30 member bonus card to offset the initial charge. Perks of this paid loyalty scheme include: 

  • Membership model. Because REI Co-Op members pay for lifetime access, the brand gains a new revenue stream while the members receive exclusive benefits for life. 
  • Customer-centric values. REI Co-Op Member Rewards emphasizes value creation and community building over direct spending incentives, which appeals to the brand’s core demographics.
  • Quality and expertise. The REI Co-Op brand is touted as a leader in outdoor apparel and recreational products. It delivers to loyal customers program benefits like 20% off bike and snow shop services, up to 33% off rentals, and member pricing on experiences.
  • Sustainable and ethical practices. The green-wise customers that frequent REI Co-Op often rave about the members’ ability to shop and trade in used gear to prevent waste. 
  • Innovative marketing. In line with REI Co-Op’s sustainable and ethical practices is its authentic membership marketing, including curated gear for paying members.
  • Brand building experiences. Unique local events and virtual programs are just a fraction of the brand loyalty examples in REI Co-Op Member Rewards that effectively engage members nationwide. 

4. DSW VIP Program

The DSW VIP Program is the customer loyalty program that replaced the previous Designer Shoe Warehouse loyalty scheme, DSW Rewards, in 2018. For e-commerce or digital-adjacent businesses, the DSW VIP Program arguably has the best-personalized engagement of all customer loyalty program examples. The DSW VIP Program delivers recurring detailed email campaigns, enhancing the personal connection with members and encouraging more purchases. Perks unique to the DSW VIP Program include 

  • Personalized communication. DSW VIP members routinely receive customized emails that remind them of their points, eligible deals, and history of interaction with the brand. 
  • Tiered rewards. The DSW VIP program has three escalating membership tiers — VIP Club, VIP Gold, and VIP Elite, respectively — with higher membership tiers earning higher-value rewards.
  • Utilization of customer data. With more consumers willing to share personal data with brands in exchange for personalized communications and tailored incentives, the DSW VIP Program leverages customer data wisely. 
  • Exclusive benefits and offers. Speaking of customer data, the DSW VIP program regularly delivers exclusive benefits and offers based on members’ purchasing behavior and previous search history to encourage continuous spending. 
  • Encouraging brand interaction. With ongoing engagement being one of the crowning examples of brand loyalty, DSW encourages continuous interactions to further fine-tune member-exclusive promotions. 
  • Driving repeat business. Nearly every facet of the DSW VIP Program, from the personalized marketing campaigns to the customized offers, drives repeat business among members. 

5. tarte perks Loyalty Program 

While many consider fan favorites like Sephora Beauty Insider and Ulta Beauty Rewards among the top customer loyalty program examples, the tarte perks loyalty program is another highly-rated example in the beauty and cosmetics vertical. What sets tarte perks apart from other customer loyalty examples is the emphasis on social media engagement and user-generated content, both of which contribute to the membership experience and ultimate membership value. Qualities of the tarte perks program include: 

  • Engagement beyond purchases. Tarte perks rewards customers for an array of non-transactional interactions, ranging from posting selfies with Tarte products to writing product reviews.
  • Utilization of user-generated content. With influencer marketing playing a significant role on social media, tarte perks takes a different approach by encouraging real-life program members to create video tutorials featured on the brand’s social media profiles. 
  • Rewards for diverse actions. While tarte perks members earn 10 points for every $1 spent, they can also earn points for an array of actions that foster brand awareness and enhance the customer experience, such as following the brand on social media and signing up for SMS alerts. 
  • Personalized and relevant rewards. The tarte perks program rewards members with makeup, offering a curated selection of tarte products that can be redeemed in exchange for points. 
  • Brand loyalty and repeat business. Like other customer loyalty program examples on this list, tarte perks operate in tiers — natural beauty, superstar, and icon, respectively — to encourage repeat spending.
  • Enhance brand perception. Many facets of the tarte perks loyalty program, like entering event sweepstakes and product giveaways on social media, not only help to gamify the membership experience but also improve general brand perception and awareness. 

Turbocharge Your Customer Loyalty Program with arrivia

The industry is ripe with examples of loyalty programs, from food and beverage loyalty schemes like Starbucks Rewards to apparel like TOMS Rewards and the DSW VIP Program. No matter the vertical, the above customer loyalty programs all share something in common — they provide actual value in exchange for ongoing loyalty in ways that appeal to and attract their target customers.

As you browse loyalty program examples to gain inspiration for your business, exploring the options accompanying travel rewards is wise. Here at arrivia, we offer unrivaled travel loyalty rewards for an array of industries, including financial brands, membership associations, and travel and hospitality providers. Skyrocket your customer loyalty perks with arrivia travel rewards today.