Don't be so quick to ditch a rewards program that doesn't seem so rewarding.
U.S. consumers collectively hold 3.8 billion memberships in loyalty programs, up from 3.3 billion in 2015, according to new data from research firm Colloquy. But more than half of those memberships (54 percent) are inactive, and 28 percent of consumers have abandoned a program "without ever having redeemed a point or mile."
Slow earnings was a prime reason, with 57 percent of shoppers telling Colloquy they ditched because it took too long to rack up enough points or miles to claim a reward. (The firm polled 2,258 U.S. adults in late 2016.)
Fair point. True to the name, loyalty programs tend to be the most rewarding for loyal (i.e. frequent) users.
"Rarely does a loyalty program acquire [new] customers. That's not what it's made for," said Melissa Fruend, a partner at Colloquy. "It's made for folks who are already interested in the brand."
But so long as the program is free, experts say, there can be value in signing up even as an occasional or one-time user.
"I always recommend joining," said Zach Honig, editor-in-chief The Points Guy. "Otherwise, you're just throwing opportunities away."