9 customer loyalty programs that deliver the best rewards (2024)

In today's consumer landscape, there are practically as many loyalty programs as there are brands vying for your attention. Which companies, though, have earned repeat business from their customers by offering the most meaningful returns for it?

To find out, Newsweek partnered with research firm Statista to rate America's Best Loyalty Programs.

The data, spanning 41 categories, was compiled from the results of a late 2023 survey of more than 4,000 U.S. loyalty program members. Banks, footwear companies, makers of children's products and fast-food chains are among the covered sectors—and among those that we're highlighting here.

The loyalty programs outlined below represent some of the best of the best; they all received a score higher than 8 (on a scale of 10) and are each the highest-ranked entries in their respective categories.

Final rankings were based on an equation that considered the surveyed customers' ease and enjoyment, program benefits, the level of support provided to customers, their trust regarding the use of personal data, likelihood of recommending the program and overall satisfaction.

Allegiant, Allways Rewards

Any traveler could name airlines' most regular go-to offers for becoming a loyal customer—benefits including priority boarding, access to better seating, ticket deals and myriad in-flight perks. One company, though, stands out for offering a highly ranked loyalty program.

For its Allways Rewards program, launched in 2021, Allegiant scored an 8.67, making it the highest-ranked airline on the list. The program, which in September announced a new partnership with Visa for its branded credit card, works by issuing points that are redeemable for Allegiant-related purchases or for benefits and discounts at participating company Sunseeker Resort.

"We are so excited to build upon the program's success and accelerate the growth of our credit card program with the resources Visa offers," Allegiant Chief Marketing Officer Scott DeAngelo said in 2023. "The launch of the Allways Rewards Visa card is a testament to our dedication to meeting the evolving needs of our customers."

9 customer loyalty programs that deliver the best rewards (1)

O'Reilly Auto Parts, O'Rewards

At a different, and decidedly more grounded, spot in the transportation ecosystem, auto parts retailer O'Reilly bested its competitors by scoring an 8.42 for its O'Rewards loyalty program.

Beyond the usual earning of points for money spent, which in turn can be used for discounts or other deals, the program makes an additional promise: "bonus point" offers that can award increased points on selected items that change each month. Bonus points have been previously linked to products like jugs of Mobil synthetic oil, jumper cables and spark plugs.

Finish Line, STATUS

If your preferred mode of transportation tends toward walking, athletic shoe and apparel retailer Finish Line has you covered. Its STATUS program came in at 8.88, the highest among all footwear retailers. The program is divided into two tiers—general admission and A-list—depending on if you spend more than $500 in a calendar year, and it offers advantages like early access to shoes, members-only events and "sneaker reservations" made via the company's app.

Last November, Finish Line parent company JD Sports announced a partnership with Instacart to provide that app's users with same-day delivery of more than 16,000 footwear and apparel products, sometimes within an hour.

J.Crew, J.Crew Passport

Premium apparel retailer J.Crew's loyalty program, called J.Crew Passport, scored an enviable 9.00. It has something in common with Finish Line's STATUS in that it is divided into tiers depending on the amount you spend in a year, but there are three in this case: green, navy and gold. The points you earn (which are doubled when you buy cashmere) can be used for free shipping and the distinctly J.Crew-ish offering of free monogramming, among other services.

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Dillard's, Dillard's Rewards

Elsewhere in the mall, department store Dillard's scored a knockout by earning a 9.51 for its Dillard's Rewards program, the highest score of any company featured in this article. Consumers can accumulate points by using a Dillard's credit card or a co-branded American Express card issued in partnership with Dillard's. Benefits include $10-off reward certificates, a 10-percent discount on a daylong "shopping pass," early access to clearance events and special financing.

Take note, though: At the end of January, Dillard's announced a new partnership in which Citi "will purchase the existing Dillard's credit card accounts and Mastercard will serve as the exclusive payment network for co-branded cards offered under the new program," which is expected to take effect in the late summer and autumn of this year.

TD Bank, TD Rewards

TD Bank's TD Rewards, which scored an 8.94, features a credit card that earns points for several uses, one of which is particularly uncommon in the loyalty program landscape. Purchases made with the TD Credit Card gather points that can be used for travel, merchandise and, uniquely, "for education credits that you can use toward tuition or student loans." Points can also be redeemed for the purchase of retail gifts or to apply a cash credit to your account.

Pogo

General rewards program Pogo, which topped that category with a 9.26, provides an eponymous app that rewards you anytime you use a debit or credit card (which you must link to the app) for any purchase at all. When you have enough points—amounts are rewarded depending on the transaction—you can cash them out at the rate of 1,000 points for $1. The app also says it can help you find lower rates on bills, insurance and bank fees, and to get paid "whenever your data or opinions are used for market research and personalized ads."

The Pogo app also boasts a 4.9 rating (out of 5.0) on Apple's App Store, where it has more than 56,600 ratings.

Hardee's, My Rewards

"We want you seeing stars," Hardee's says about its My Rewards program, which rewards stars instead of points. The program, rated at an impressive score of 9.19, is another one that's only available through the company's app. In this case, you rack up stars that can be used for free food, including the company's Black Angus beef hamburgers, hand-breaded chicken tenders and charbroiled chicken sandwiches. What sets Hardee's apart, though, is that a My Rewards profile will also allow access to member-exclusive mobile offers and chances to sample new menu items.

Hardee's is known for its fun take on different celebrations throughout the year, like making heart-shaped biscuits for Valentine's Day. Last year, the company offered a "mystery deal" for My Rewards members on International Burger Day on May 28, though it has not yet hinted at what's to come this year.

Pampers, Pampers Club

Another loyalty program with a similar score to Hardee's is that of Pampers, which achieved a 9.16 in the baby and children's products category. The Procter & Gamble brand says its Pampers Club app is used by more than 1.5 million parents who scan codes found inside Pampers merchandise to "turn diapers and wipes into rewards" in the form of digital coupons.

The Pampers Club app provides parenting tips on diapering, feeding and topics like "navigating new-mom emotions." It also features expert-led content, offering "guidance on each baby milestone," helping ensure a healthy generation of future loyalty program members.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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