Retail

Plenti Rewards Card Downfall of Loyalty Program

The Plenti coalition loyalty rewards program has hit a bit of a rough patch, with several partners leaving the service and retailers opting out of accepting members’ earned points, Retail Dive reported Wednesday (Jan. 31).

AT&T dropped out last fall, and Alamo, Direct Energy, Enterprise, Expedia, Hulu and Nationwide exited the partnership at the beginning of 2018. Macy’s recently joined the list after unveiling its own revamped, tiered loyalty rewards program in September 2017.

Though it is leaving the Plenti coalition, Macy’s has announced it will allow Plenti points to accrue on qualifying purchases until March 15, and customers will still be able to redeem program points on Macy’s purchases until May 3. Remaining earned points can be redeemed with Plenti partners after the cutoff.

“[The move was] totally expected,” according to Barry Kirk, VP of Loyalty Marketing Solutions at engagement and loyalty solutions provider Maritz Motivation Solutions. “Many other brands already pulled out. A U.S. coalition program was always a long shot anyway.”

American Express launched the Plenti program in 2015, allowing members to earn points from purchases at a list of participating partner retailers, then redeem those points with any of said partners. It also included a marketplace showcasing deals from coalition participants, but the entire program has “struggled to attract and retain key partners,” Kirk noted.

Maritz research found the rewards program was always a bit of a miss with consumers in the U.S., despite American Express’ backing and its 30 million members. Of the consumers Maritz polled, half were unfamiliar with the coalition and less than half of its members had ever redeemed rewards through Plenti.

“Today’s consumer is looking for options and competition,” said Jim Fosina, CEO of Fosina Marketing Group. “Customers want to choose for themselves rather than [being] given limited choice. Amazon’s product selection, delivery options, reviews and ongoing discounting and overall simplicity has shown today’s consumer that choice itself is a choice.”

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