Via NY Times
New York times has a nice article on how members in reward programs are giving away millions of points as donations for Katrina relief. This is an often overlooked aspect of many of the programs run by the airlines and credit card companies that allows participants to turn in miles to benefit specified charities. American Airlines has chosen a different tack, awarding a one-time bonus of 500 miles for members making cash contributions; United Airlines, a unit of the UAL Corporation, is doing the same.
It’s not just the airlines that are encouraging contributions through their rewards programs. American Express is permitting members to donate points to more than 30 designated charities (www.americanexpress.com). For every 1,000 points contributed by Oct. 31, American Express will make a corporate contribution of an additional $5, up to $1 million. Additionally, the company will make a $1 donation for every donation made by cardholders, with no ceiling. And the company will donate a minimum of $1 million more to the American Red Cross, a spokeswoman said.
I quite agree and we indeed had a huge success of members donating for the Tsunami Victims here back in India. The Madura Garments reward programs for apparel brands like Louis Philippe, Allen Solley, Van Heusen received tremendous response ( over 80% of members) willing to give up their points towards donation for this cause.
To me this is a key driver to brand loyalty as it moves beyond the realms of trasactional loyalty. It builds a strong bond between the members and the brand, as they are mentally working towards a cause that they believe in and want to make a difference.
Loyalty can’t get better than this.