Long before Radisson hotels was acquired by China’s HNA Group and then sold to Jin Jiang, which is controlled by the government of China, it was owned in common with TGI Friday’s. And it shared a common loyalty currency, too. Your Goldpoints were worth about twice as much if you joined the program through Radisson than if you signed up while eating chicken wings, but if you didn’t want to redeem points for a hotel stay you could redeem them for mozzarella sticks.
There’s a rich history of attempts at coalition rewards programs, where a single currency is earned and pooled across multiple businesses. Perhaps the most successful was S&H Green Stamps before being updated into the mostly useless Green Points. One of the least successful in the U.S> was American Express’s attempt to tie together brands like AT&T, ExxonMobil, and Nationwide Insurance with the now-defunct Plenti.
Virgin though is poised to take their shot with a cross-platform program managed by Virgin Red. And as part of this they’ve rebranded Virgin Atlantic Flying Club as Virgin Points. The only substantive change is that, taking a nod as a vassal of Atlanta, their points no longer expire.
They’ve also announced double points for Virgin-operated flights booked directly with Virgin by October 1, 2020, with no registration required.
Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo
The plan for a spun off loyalty program part-owned by Delta was announced two years ago, and was supposed to come to fruition in 2019. So this isn’t really new. And all they’ve done since the announcement, really, is change the name of Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty scheme. They don’t move quickly over there. But non-expiring points is a positive for those of us who don’t earn their miles frequently, and don’t wish to move 1000 points over from a transferable credit cards currency every three years.