10 Things Affluent Customers Really Want in Loyalty Programs

Aspire Lifestyles and the Luxury Marketing Council held a June webinar titled, “What Affluent Consumers Really Value in Customer Loyalty Programs.” During this webinar, Lori Byrne, SVP, Sales & Marketing, Aspire Lifestyles, reviewed 10 things that affluent customers really want in loyalty programs:


Affluent consumers are online, mobile, and quite technology savvy. Virtually 100% of today’s coveted affluent consumers utilize iPhones and other mobile devices to enable 24/7 access to whatever they want from wherever they are.

Affluent consumers are very active on social media, which we all know has changed the ways in which brands and people interact

  • 72% of affluent consumers are on Facebook
  • 78% of affluent consumers have a social media presence
  • Wealthy consumers feel that brands without a social media presence are “out of touch”.1

Affluent consumers want to simplify their lives with technology, while still obtaining a high level of service regardless of the channel they use. As such, a loyalty program that embraces technology is desired by this highly-sought after demographic.


The second characteristic that affluent customers value in a loyalty program is ease of use. Affluent consumers are of the mindset of “Why bother using a service if I can just as easily do a better job myself?” When servicing a high net worth demographic, it is necessary to deliver to customers something more than they can find through their own devices.

Examples of ways that loyalty programs can provide affluent customers with easy-to-use perks include:

  • Before/after-hours access
  • Exclusive members-only events
  • Product previews before open to public
  • Qualified, trusted advice or information
  • Value adds such as benefits with top suppliers
  • Access to things which are not open to the public


The affluent demographic values good service, proactive, high-touch engagement. This starts with asking the right questions in order to be able to anticipate your customer’s needs.

When you ask the right questions, the responses should be used to help develop and maintain a customer preference profile. The preference profile should be saved in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

Other ways to provide proactive, high-touch service include:

  • Welcome calls
  • Reminder service
  • Proactive outbound contact

Handwritten notes are a proven method of developing a bond between a brand and its customers. Luxury brands, including Fendi and Montblanc, are well known for sending personal notes to valued customers.


All customers, especially affluent consumers, demand convenience. Successful loyalty programs make their member’s lives easier and don’t give them the runaround.

Ways to make program member’s lives easier include:

  • Offer a single point of contact for all loyalty program-related questions.
  • Provide program features (such as Concierge service) specifically designed to make them feel less busy.

A well-received way of making your affluent customer’s lives easier is by making recommendations based on their preferences and past purchase behavior—proactively provide suggestions that speak to your customer and their needs, based on what you already know about them.


Affluent consumers value a loyalty program that provides them with “something that money can’t buy”. Providing customers with access and experiences that they can’t get anywhere else resonates with the affluent demographic.

Ways that brands can do this include:

  • Early access to sales
  • Special events such as trunk shows or off-menu tastings
  • Exclusive updates and offers
  • VIP services for top customers


Affluent customers want to know that you know what they like. Successful loyalty programs geared towards this demographic remember their most valuable customers’ preferences: they know what their customers like and provide it to them.

Referring again to the preference profile, this is a guaranteed way to ensure that you can easily remember and recollect what your customers like. Every interaction with a customer results in learning more about their preferences, which can be built into their personal preference profile.

Take information gleaned from customer behaviors and usage patterns to determine relevant benefits for each customer—the right benefits at the right time.


Just like every other demographic, affluent consumers value discounts, upgrades and value-adds. This can include:

  • Complimentary room upgrade
  • Complimentary glass of champagne or dessert
  • VIP discount
  • Annual membership gift


Go above and beyond what is expected to provide an interaction that makes your customer feel valued, and thus value your service.  Ways that you can do this include surprising your customers with flowers on their birthday, a gift on their anniversary, champagne while they shop, or a box of their favorite chocolates the next time you see them.


As the face of luxury has changed, “experiences” are considered a luxury vs “things”, or tangible items.  Most customers would rather spend their money on experiences rather than products2.

In response, many successful loyalty programs offer their members “Experiential Rewards”, which are curated experiences that your members can participate in.  Popular experiential rewards include trips, special VIP access and tickets to live events (sports, concerts and theatre).


Affluent consumers like to travel: U.S. households with incomes of $150,000 and higher account for 29% of spending air travel and lodging and 37% of spending on vacation homes3.  Which means that this demographic values a loyalty program that can help them make travel easier.

Common travel-related benefits include lounge access, TSA pre-check, rental car discounts and annual reimbursement of travel-related expenses.

Four Seasons Hotel study
J Walter Thompson study (2013)
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditures Survey (2013)
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