Co-branded hotel credit cards offer consumers exclusive benefits and rewards tailored to the brands they love. According to a recent Auriemma Group study, these specialized perks – especially experience-based rewards – inspire hotel card acquisition, usage and loyalty.
The study found that 60% of credit cardholders say experience-based benefits make them more interested in applying for a hotel co-brand card. Room upgrades have the biggest impact, followed by complimentary food and beverage, free hotel stays, early check-in/out, and free Wi-Fi. These experiential rewards are more enticing than earnings-based benefits, which only 49% cite as motivators.
Loyalty Marketplaces curate rewarding experiences
“To drive loyalty, issuers must emphasize the unique experiences their cards provide,” said Jonathan O’Connor, Senior Manager at Auriemma. “Tangible perks are often more accessible than calculating points. While rewards matter, experiences better attract and engage hotel co-brand cardholders.”
Loyalty ‘experience’ Marketplaces like those offered by Hilton, IHG and Delta fit this strategy perfectly. By providing access to curated rewards like exclusive events, VIP treatment and unique adventures, these Marketplaces create engaging experiences that deepen brand loyalty.
Enhanced status encourages loyalty and spending
Loyalty status is another key driver, with 31% applying for hotel cards to improve their status. This jumps to 39% among Marriott cardholders specifically. Enhanced status also encourages off-brand spending: 83% say status upgrades make them use their hotel card for non-hotel transactions. Half (51%) are motivated by access to VIP experiences.
Experience Marketplaces are the perfect venue to offer loyalty members the ability to either maintain or upgrade their status. A few points/miles for a rewards member to keep or upgrade their status is a superb redemption tool and great for member engagement.
Experiential perks differentiate hotel co-brands
The differentiating factor for hotel co-brands is the experiential benefits they provide beyond standard credit card rewards. As O’Connor noted, “The key is highlighting experiences and a clear path to perks. Hotel issuers that emphasize this over monetary rewards will connect better with cardholders.”
In summary, branded Loyalty Marketplaces with experience-based perks are integral to a hotel co-brand’s success. This speaks to a major opportunity for co-brand rewards to initiate loyalty ‘Experience’ Marketplaces and deepen cardholder engagement through exclusive, curated experiences.
So, if you haven’t yet, you should strongly consider developing your own experience-based Marketplace – and as luck would have it, that’s exactly what we specialize in at Commerce Dynamics!