Partnerships make the most of loyalty programs

With the boom in consumer loyalty programs like Air Miles, companies are teaming up to keep customers and lower their costs, reported the Ottawa Citizen and the Victoria Times Colonist May 18. The benefit to collectors is that they can exchange points between programs to increase their rewards potential and consolidate their holdings. But the reason behind many of the recent alliances is financial, says Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business and executive director of the Schulich Executive Education Centre. The sophisticated loyalty programs now operated by airlines, hotel chains and retail stores enable these businesses to keep track of customers’ preferences, and upgrade their service by offering frequent customers the goods and services they want. “The problem was that this became expensive for companies,” Middleton said. “Point collectors had to be rewarded. And there was the cost of maintaining the massive databases. There’s been a lot of disenchantment about the cost of the programs relative to the revenue they produce. Some companies have pulled out of the loyalty programs. Others have reduced the amount of information on their databases. Many have clawed back their rewards.”

Stronach studied at York

Following Belinda Stronach’s defection from the Conservatives to take a Liberal cabinet post, national broadcast and press news services disseminated biographical information that mentioned that she dropped out of York after one year. Stronach enrolled in a business-related arts program in the fall/winter session of 1985.

On air

  • Steve Bailey, humanities professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, was interviewed in a segment on Discovery TV’s “Daily Planet” May 17 about fans of Star Wars from around the world.