You’re better off abandoning loyalty programs and forgoing status, according to one member. They believe loyalty has become increasingly meaningless as the relationship is skewed so heavily in favour of the business. Instead of reciprocating the loyalty shown by their customers, businesses are taking it for granted.
In a recent experience with car rental agency Europcar, our member was denied a simple benefit despite holding “VIP Elite” status. When our member then threatened to cancel all future bookings with the agency, they did not even attempt to retain their top-tier customer.
Our members believe loyalty is also in danger of becoming a one-way relationship with airlines, hotels and supermarkets. For example, one member claims that the latest changes at Virgin Australia have alienated loyal frequent flyers in the pursuit of short-term profit. Similarly, another member opines that Woolworths was complacent in devaluing its rewards program last year.
In the face of reduced benefits and poor service, loyalty programs can act as a trap because they make it more difficult to switch to the competition – even if competitors offer a better service for a lower price. This concept in loyalty is sometimes known as the “golden handcuffs”.
As a result, some members have begun to rethink loyalty programs altogether. Instead of remaining loyal to one business, is it better to simply forget loyalty and chase the best deal on the day?
After their grievance with Europcar, our member decided to free themselves from the golden handcuffs of loyalty. They ended up booking with a competitor – and managed to get a better vehicle for a lower price!
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