Australia – bank ends rewards scheme??
National Australia Bank is shutting down its NAB Gold Rewards credit card loyalty programme.
Members will be transferred into third-party rewards programmes. With the bank offering credit card customers a choice of Qantas Frequent Flyer, Velocity (the Virgin Blue programme) or FlyBuys (a business in which the bank is a joint venture partner with Coles).
The bank started writing to customers in late 2008 to notify them of the change. In April NAB will start reducing redemption options but the programme will remain open until all customers have been transferred to one of the third-party schemes.
The banks decision to close Gold Rewards is a response to changes in the reward scheme market. In 2008 Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF) announced that that it wanted to deal directly with participants in its rewards programme rather than through credit card issuers.
To achieve this change to “direct earn” points, card issuers have had to make changes to their card programmes, either issuing new cards offering only the Qantas programme, giving card holders a choice of programmes with their existing cards or migrating card holders into the QFF programme.
In October, Westpac bank launched a new Earth Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyer card. Spend on the card goes directly into the Qantas programme and is not linked to any Westpac rewards programme. The bank also gave users of its Altitude credit card the option of remaining in the Altitude rewards programme or moving to the QFF programme.
Commonwealth Bank created a facility where users of its Commonwealth Awards and Commonwealth Awards Gold cards can opt into the QFF programme or stay with the Commonwealth Awards scheme. Citibank and Suncorp have also adopted this opt-in approach. National Australia Bank has adopted the migration approach with the closure of its proprietary rewards programme.
Customers who use its standard Visa and Visa Gold cards are offered membership of FlyBuys, while other cards offer Virgin’s Velocity programme or QFF.
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