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Here's Why Everyone Wins With Cross-Border Travel Rewards Programs

By Haider Hamdan, Vice President, Global Loyalty Solutions

Data-driven insights and easy-to-redeem offers can capture the high-spend luxury traveler.

The number of people embarking on international getaways continues to rise year after year, and the number of cardholders enrolled in travel rewards programs continues to rise along with it. In fact, a recent survey showed that 54% of consumers belonged to at least one airline loyalty program, while 56% participated in one or more hotel loyalty programs.

Not every traveler is alike, though, so offering the right rewards is key to driving card adoption and usage. That's why Mastercard Traveler Rewards was designed to address wide-ranging consumer demands using data-driven insights, communicating only the most relevant offers to our global customer base. And, with nearly 31% of cardholders never redeeming a reward, Mastercard's cross-border loyalty program is driven by a combination of proprietary technology and advanced analytics that improve the redemption experience at every step along the way, creating a seamless experience that bolsters engagement.

54% of consumers belonged to at least one airline loyalty program

The Evolving Rewards Landscape

Cardholders are looking for loyalty programs that offer more than the typical hotel rewards and frequent flyer miles. While benefits such as free Wi-Fi and late checkout at hotels or free checked bags and priority boarding are valuable to travelers, Mastercard Traveler Rewards opens up a much wider world of possibilities, including rewards that are accrued seamlessly and calculated in real time.

Better Rewards Options for Cardholders

With Mastercard Traveler Rewards, cardholders have access to relevant offers from an international network comprised of fashion retailers, telecommunications providers (telcos), restaurants, resorts, theme parks and beauty retailers. No extra work is required on their part, as rewards are seamlessly auto-linked to their cards and redemption credits applied to their statements.

Creating a seamless experience for customers means everyone wins — customers don't have to deal with coupon clipping or sifting through promotional emails, and store owners don't need to make any changes to point-of-sale systems. The more travelers use their card, the more they'll see the value, ultimately leading to more successful acquisition campaigns and higher retention for both issuers and merchants.

Higher Engagement for Issuers

According to a recent survey, affluent cardholders redeem their rewards points for travel more than any other group, presenting a major revenue opportunity. The catch is, these customers want a credit card with points that enhance their global travels, requiring more robust and extensive cross-border travel rewards programs to capture their attention. Such a program can be difficult to manage and market without access to a broad set of data-driven insights, partnerships with retailers, restaurants and telcos, and a strong platform that can deliver these benefits seamlessly.

For issuers, Mastercard Traveler Rewards offers a robust suite of customer insights that help to build a stronger value proposition for products, adjust pricing for products based on value and grow a more loyal customer base. Through merchant-funded offers and turnkey marketing solutions that are built to easily deploy within existing marketing structures, issuers can better communicate the most relevant offers to cardholders using their own channels, while making it easy for cardholders to redeem rewards. Cardholders simply use their card for purchases, and they receive credit for the cash-back offer amount on their next credit card billing statement.

Better Return for Merchants

Capturing the time — and spend — of affluent cardholders requires restaurants, retailers, hotel chains and others to think outside the box. In this interconnected, global world, their marketing must be unique and provide clear benefits to the customer. Mastercard's cross-border loyalty program allows retailers and offer providers to creatively grab the attention of affluent cardholders, thus gaining connections to cardholder segments from banks around the world.

Because all communications are sent through bank marketing channels, retailers have more time to concentrate on developing the best offers for cardholders. And there's no need for organizations to change point-of-sale systems since rewards are credited directly on the cardholder's billing statement.

Compendium cross border globe

Help Travelers Reach for the Right Card

More people are setting their sights on international travel locations, and when they make a purchase, they'll be reaching for the card that provides them with the most value. Whether you're an issuer, retailer, restaurant or telco, with the help of the Mastercard Traveler Rewards program, you can make sure that card provides value to you, too.

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