Tuesday, November 26, 2013

RBC, Best Buy and Future Shop Announce New Enhanced Rewards Redemption Option

Just in time for the holiday shopping season comes this new merchandise redemption option from RBC Rewards. It is always good to have more redemption options in certain loyalty programs, especially one like RBC Rewards since they have cards that are not travel specific but earn RBC Rewards Points and those cardholders may not be as interested in travel rewards, those travel rewards seem to be more for the Avioners! (as RBC likes to call them). This redemption option goes beyond the typical merchandise options seen in many loyalty programs in that the merchandise is not coming from RBC Rewards but rather two well known electronics retailers in Canada, Best Buy and Future Shop. The redemption option lets you redeem your points right at the point of sale online with Best Buy or Future Shop giving you access to all of the items these retailers carry on their website rather than a limited number of items often seen in many reward catalogs.

We approached RBC for the redemption value (since no one in the Rewards Canada family are RBC Rewards members) and they tell us it is 1,000 RBC Rewards Points = $6.50 towards your Best Buy or Future Shop purchases. This translates to a 0.65% rate of return assuming you earned 1 point for $1 spent on your RBC credit card. That return gets a little bit higher if you earned points via the Infinite Avion when booking travel (it earns 1.25 points on travel bookings).  This return however is far below the potential 2%+ seen on travel with the Avion card but it is inline with many of the merchandise and point of sale rewards seen from other loyalty programs those typically range from less than .5% to 1%.

Couple things to take away from the press release, apparently RBC Rewards is now the largest loyalty rewards program in Canada, usually its Air Miles that lays that claim to fame. I'm sure it is all in how you look at the numbers. Second and this is the really interesting part in this new redemption option is that you will be able to use any combination of cash and points to order merchandise from Future Shop or Best Buy. This is very similar to what many airline frequent flyer programs have implemented with cash+miles options for flights and cash+miles for hotels (Iberia Plus does this one).

You can find all the details on this redemption option here and there is even a contest to boot!

So to all you RBC Rewards members, what do you think of this new redemption option? Do you think you will make use of it or will you stick to travel or other rewards?

Here is an excerpt from RBC's press release that was forwarded to me early this morning:

RBC, Best Buy and Future Shop today announced the first redemption option of its kind in Canada that provides clients access to over 90,000 unique merchandise and electronic items, through the RBC Rewards online channel.

“RBC Rewards is excited to expand our relationship with Best Buy Canada and Future Shop. This relationship changes the landscape for redemption selection and convenience, giving clients more control over how they use their points,” said Linda Mantia, executive vice-president, Cards and Payment Solutions, RBC. “We know that quality and variety of rewards are key drivers of client satisfaction for loyalty programs and this launch allows us to open up endless possibilities for our clients to redeem their points for their choice of merchandise and electronics.”

RBC Rewards is the largest and most flexible loyalty rewards program in Canada, enabling clients to redeem their reward points from the largest selection of merchandise in Canada. Clients can earn rewards points every time a purchase is made on an eligible RBC credit card and redeem for merchandise, travel, gift cards and certificates and RBC Financial Rewards vouchers, such as redeeming points to pay down your mortgage or putting the points towards a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

“We are very pleased to work with RBC to offer this first-of-its-kind rewards redemption opportunity. This program leverages Best Buy Canada’s unique multichannel capabilities, which include Reserve and Pick Up in store, and delivery to Canadians as early as next day,” said Ron Wilson, president and chief operating officer, Best Buy Canada.

Highlights of the redemption option include:
Access to more merchandise – Over 90,000 merchandise and electronic items available on BestBuy.ca and FutureShop.ca, including new technology items the day they are released.
Sales – With sales on hundreds of items per week, clients also have access to these items for fewer points.
Choice in how you want to pay – Ability to pay with any combination of points or credit cards.
Real time – Clients are able to check to see if an item is in stock at their chosen Best Buy or Future Shop location.
In-store pick up – Along with the ability to receive items at your doorstep, clients will now be able to pick up items in a Best Buy or Future Shop store – something they could not do before.
Fast delivery – Most orders will ship the same day with delivery within 2 to 3 business days.

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