The loyalty trends you need to know for 2024 – 5 Tips

What makes a good loyalty programme? How have shopping habits changed? What are consumers’ priorities right now? 

In this article, we’ll unpack some findings from our most recent report and advise on how you can apply them to your brand loyalty strategy.


The world around us is changing, and spending habits are changing in tandem. To provide guidance on how your business should respond to these shifts, we recently published our 2024 report, Reimagining Loyalty to Engage Today’s Consumers. In this article we’ll cover some of the main findings from this research whilst we talk about what these changes mean for loyalty.

Tip 1: Forge an emotional connection

In recent years, we’ve identified the different kinds of brand loyalty.

When we talk about loyalty in the traditional sense, we mean the rational considerations; these include product features, price points and rewards. If we look at emotional loyalty, however, this kind of loyalty is more about how products and services make your customers feel. The best ways for a brand to create impact through emotional loyalty include creating personalised and relevant offers that are meaningful and forge a connection between you and your consumers.

The feeling this inspires keeps customers coming back. A capgemini survey found 70% of emotionally engaged consumers spend more on brands they are loyal to. In the same vein, 71% of customers will advocate for a brand based on their emotional connection to it.

So then, how does a brand build emotional connection? One way we identified in the report is through excellent service and personalisation.

According to Silvia Espinosa de los Monteros, Chief Commercial Officer at IAGL, a good way for brands to begin developing emotional loyalty is through “delivering a baseline customer experience that is seamless, simple, digital, and fair”.

One of the ways we’ve done this at IAGL was through the introduction of card-linked offerings. The purpose of this service is to offer a more convenient way for members to earn Avios. By linking a debit or credit card to their British Airways Executive Club account, shoppers can easily collect Avios with every purchase spent at certain retailers. This function makes the shopping experience that bit more seamless and therefore has the power to create a sense of emotional loyalty.

Another finding was that if you’re going to ask for data, then, as a brand, you should use that data to build a more personalised experience. Listening to feedback – and acting in response – betters the offering. The numbers back up this up: 76% of consumers are willing to share their data with brands in exchange for a more personalised experience. 

Tip 2: Simplify the reward redemption experience

When it comes to the rewards process, we can summarise the characteristics consumers seek in two words. Easy and rewarding. The easier it is for consumers to earn and redeem, the more likely they are to engage with the programme and stay on board.

“Creating a simple, consistent, and effortless redemption experience is vital in cutting through the competitive noise and ensuring customers return,” said Veronica Vicars, chief growth officer at IAG Loyalty.

At IAGL, there are a few ways in which we’ve simplified our process and created initiatives we know our customers will value. One way was our Avios-Only Flights, an exclusive flight for our members where every seat is a reward seat. We chose some of our most popular destinations to make the product as appealing as possible to the majority of members.

This resulted in a higher penetration of families and larger groups as they were able to find reward seats available at peak times but still paying just the standard Avios prices. This was our way to increase how rewarding this offering could be. We then further enforced the ease of redemption by sending personalised emails, driving members to the BA Reward app, making it hard to miss the deals and we continue to do this for future releases. Again, our way of showing our customers that we value them and thanking them for their loyalty.

In the same vein, last year we launched a new initiative for British Executive Airways Club Members, by allowing them to pay for holidays booked through British Airways Holidays using Avios.

“Now more than ever we want to give as many options as possible when it comes to booking that much needed holiday.” Says Claire Bentley, Managing Director of British Airways Holidays.

“When people book with us, they can do so knowing that we take their holiday seriously.” This is exactly why we ensure we’re constantly delivering value that simplifies the process whilst elevating the experience. 

Other tips to simplify the reward experience: 
  • Reducing the number of points required for redemption through part cash offers can make rewards more accessible.  
  • Introducing smaller rewards that are still exciting and relevant for members with fewer points, can elevate customer experience. 
  • Allowing customers to use a mix of points and cash to redeem rewards can prove value. 
  • Having a good range of partners acts as an incentive to engage and spend more. 
  • Currency consolidation– allows for a wider range of redemption options and makes the process simpler for consumers who are already constantly spoken at by brands.

Tip 3: Extend value across the travel journey to unlock engagement.

It’s important to think about where the opportunities are to show loyalty. What the different touchpoints are, that allow members to express loyalty but also give them a chance to redeem rewards.

In our report, Rogier Van Enk, VP of Customer Engagement at Finnair, offered his insights on identifying some of these touchpoints.

  • Consideration and pre-booking – suggesting destinations based on past travel patterns. 
  • Pre-travel – offering deals and moments to get extra points. 
  • Flight/Hotel– perks or using points for additional benefits.

Successful brands should use all of these as moments that members can earn and redeem points.

“We’ve also partnered with everyday places like grocery stores, local flower shops, and hardware stores encouraging them to stay connected with our brand even when they’re not flying,” said Van Enk. 

Tip 4: To engage customers profitably, gamify your approach

All brands are facing the same challenge in the loyalty space. We want to create an engaging and rewarding experience for users, whilst at the same time running programmes in an efficient and cost-effective way.

Traditionally, loyalty programmes relied heavily on transaction-based rewards where the only way to earn was to spend. Now, however, brands want to evolve to programmes focused on daily value and interactions beyond mere purchases.

We’ve seen some brands begin to take this on and make changes.

Mark Given, Sainsbury’s CMO, tells us some ways the supermarket retailer has been incorporating gamification.

“[This] distinguishes their app within the crowded market.”

Nectar has a feature where users can earn points by ‘rubbing the screen when the Nectar app turns purple’.  The app is also home to the ‘Great Fruit and Veg Challenge’ which ‘promotes healthy eating by setting monthly targets and rewarding achievements.’

Customers who collect points through Sainsbury’s Nectar loyalty program can convert their points balance to Avios.

Among Nectar members, those who collect Avios spend an average of 50 percent more than those who don’t, showing the power of the currency and the purchasing potential of Avios-affiliated members.

Members like the idea of being able to redeem points in ways other than flying. In the report, the brand told us ‘We’ve always tried to have a range of partners that aren’t only related to airlines and travel.’ These include shopping on eBay, buying fuel at Esso (known as Exxon in some regions), and using certain train services.

According to Given, the brand has found the combination of “gamification and useful data playback” to be exciting – and fundamental to the development of their loyalty programme. Additionally, the app provides valuable insights for the consumers who use it, such as the ‘healthiness of their grocery basket’ and ‘savings achieved over the year.’ 

Tip 5: Prioritise your loyalty investment

One of the final things we need to consider when it comes to loyalty programmes is your investment. Having clear business goals that are echoed across your organisation, is vital in thinking about how your programme will generate revenue.

There are many things to think about when designing your programme to be as profitable as possible. For example, you can think about incrementally increasing the value of rewards based on your revenue where possible, treating your members and again showing them the increasing worth of their loyalty.

Another thing brands can do is offer seasonal perks. From free shipping to double points to mystery gifts - engaging members using occasions within the calendar is a great way to create a sense of excitement and appeal to different kinds of members based on what sparks their interest. More importantly, it can show your members how much you value them.

In short, having a rewards currency, one that allows for range, for flexibility and for choice is the goal. Putting in measures that constantly prioritise customer engagement will put your brand in good stead and ensure you continue to grow and deliver programmes that encourage loyalty more and more.  

What’s next? 

This is only a snippet of the trends we’re seeing right now. For a deeper dive on these topics, you can find the full report here. For more information on the topic, or to hear more from us personally, please contact us here. 


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