Loyalty Programs Take Off

Dedicated customer's made 68 flights on Shell plan

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan -- When Jake and Clara Friesen are on the road, they will go out of their way to fill up at a Shell Canada station for the Air Miles rewards. And when they can't find a Shell station? "We put in just enough to get us to the next Shell station," Clara told the CanWest News Service. "We don't miss a chance to add to our Air Miles."

The Friesens have used the Air Miles program for 68 flights since the whole family began collecting in 1992, and have used their miles mostly for family visits between Saskatoon and Ottawa, where [image-nocss] daughter Helene Nordstrom and grandchildren Ardyn and Morgan live.

"In July the four of us here (including daughter Shannon and grandson Wyatt) went to visit the other three in Ottawa. And I'm looking forward to a visit from them for my next birthday, my 60th," she told the news service.

The Friesens are such dedicated collectors they continued to fill up at Shell stations even when it became less convenient---a perfect example of how a loyalty program benefits both the collector and the sponsor.

The Shell Air Miles MasterCard allows collectors to earn reward miles with every purchase and earn double rewards when shopping with other program sponsors.

Meanwhile, the 8-million members of Petro-Canada's Petro-Points program have lots of places to gain and redeem points. The program, established in 1995, offers 10 points for every dollar spent at a Petro-Canada retail site. Avid collectors can multiply their points by using a Citi Petro-Points MasterCard, which gives the same reward for dollars spent anywhere.

Collectors can also link their Petro-Points card to their Sears Card and earn points from both sponsors on every Petro-Canada purchase. Members can also exchange Sears Club Points and Petro-Points, according to the report.

Esso has two rewards programs, Esso Extra Points and Aeroplan. Collectors earn one or more Esso Extra points for every dollar spent on an Esso Extra card at one of Esso 1,900 service stations in Canada. Avid collectors can also sign up for an Esso Visa card to earn a point per dollar spent, and at least two points for every dollar spent at Esso, the news service said.

Points can be redeemed for rewards such as gas, car washes, lottery tickets and Esso gift cards, or exchanged for RBC Rewards, Hbc Rewards or through Points.com.

Aeroplan members receive one Aeroplan mile for every $3 spent at Esso, and Esso customers can link their Speedpasses to Aeroplan membership accounts.