Should a Loyalty Program Acknowledge Your Milestone Membership Anniversary?

“H i all, this is actually my 10th year of membership with HH”, FlyerTalk member batrm posted in this discussion about being a member of the Hilton HHonors frequent guest loyalty program for ten years. “Did any of you receive a sort of gift (such as free pts) for the 10th year?”

Should a Loyalty Program Acknowledge Your Milestone Membership Anniversary?

While FlyerTalk member darthbimmer believes that “simple recognition would be a nice touch and cost HH essentially nothing. ISTR getting a note from MR on my 10th anniversary with them not too long ago”, FlyerTalk member writerguyfl cautioned that “this is a no-win situation. Just as many people would complain that an email without a gift is insulting.”

As an example, writerguyfl referred to this discussion where FlyerTalk members posted their thoughts about how receiving an e-mail message from the Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty program acknowledging a milestone anniversary of their memberships was considered “lame”.

Amidst that discussion, FlyerTalk member stimpy noted that “For the first time I got one of these emails. They thanked me for my 19 years of loyalty. I have 75 lifetime nights with Marriott. I never realized how loyal I was!”

Summary

I have never received an acknowledgment from either the Hilton HHonors or Marriott Rewards frequent guest loyalty programs pertaining to any milestone anniversary of my membership with either of them — but then again, I never really thought about it. I did not exactly sit there and say to myself on the day of the milestone membership anniversary, “Hey — I have been a member of this program for ten years. Where is my acknowledgement?!?” More realistically, my milestone membership anniversary came and went and I did not even realize it.

As stimpy wryly pointed out, 19 years as a member really does not mean much in terms of loyalty when only staying 75 nights at hotel properties that are part of the worldwide portfolio of that lodging company over that entire period of time. There are at least a couple of frequent travel loyalty programs of which I have been a member for years and have yet to spend a single penny. Does that mean that I am loyal and deserve some sort of acknowledgement? I personally do not believe so — but that is simply my point of view…

…and in addition, many frequent travel loyalty programs have millions of members counted amongst their rosters. While the cost of sending out automated e-mail messages acknowledging milestone membership anniversaries may be minimal, imagine the possible cumulative cost of including a token small gift — especially if there are a significant number of abandoned accounts.

While many frequent guest loyalty programs do offer benefits — such as lifetime elite level status, for example, with a combination of factors such as the amount of time which you are a member or had earned elite level status, the number of nights you had stayed at participating hotel and resort properties over a lifetime or the amount of money you have spent — for specific achievements, should frequent travel loyalty programs acknowledge the milestone anniversary of membership of its members? If so, is an acknowledgement via e-mail message enough — or should a token small gift be offered?

Graphic illustration ©2012 Brian Cohen.

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