Offbeat Forget airline miles: Retailers pile on perks for big spenders

18:05  13 september  2018
18:05  13 september  2018 Source:   online.wsj.com

Stabbing reported at Chicago's O'Hare; 1 injured, 1 arrested: report

  Stabbing reported at Chicago's O'Hare; 1 injured, 1 arrested: report A man was stabbed at Chicago’s O’ Hare International Airport early Wednesday morning. The attack occurred after two men who solicit passengers for cab rides got into an argument on the lower level to Terminal 5, the Chicago Sun Times reported.At around 1: 20 a.m., one of the men, 57, took out a knife and stabbed the other man, 56, in the abdomen on the walkway bridge from the terminal to the ground level parking lot, the paper said.The injured man tried fending off his attacker with a safety cone, police said.

Elite AmEx customers carry the Black Card. Soon, Nordstrom Inc.’s top shoppers will be granted “icon” status.

After years of competing for shoppers with discounts, retailers are trying a new approach heading into the key holiday season: wooing their biggest spenders with special services and access to private events.

Nordstrom’s revamped loyalty program, which will launch this fall and includes more than 10 million active members, has a new category to fete top spenders: invitation-only “icon” status that includes private dinners with designers and other exclusive events.

Man who shot at imaginary clowns in his home sentenced to up to five years in prison

  Man who shot at imaginary clowns in his home sentenced to up to five years in prison Sept. 13--A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to up to five years in prison this week for firing a shotgun at his home because he feared there were clowns inside. "At first, they were curled up in a ball, but then they started to run around, so I tried to shoot them," Nathan Matthias told Reading cops, according to court documents obtained by WFMZ. The 35-year-old Matthias, who was drunk at the time, said he was aiming at "two small clowns" in the Reading home during the incident in December of 2016. Investigators did not find anyone inside of his second-floor apartment, and said the shooting put his neighbor on the first floor of the building in danger.

On Saturday, J.Crew Group Inc. stores will open an hour early for loyalty members, who will be treated to a light breakfast while they shop. Macy’s Inc. platinum cardholders will get special access to its Thanksgiving Day Parade, including an invitation to rehearsals and free grandstand seats.

And Nike Inc.’s new Manhattan flagship, slated to open early next year, will have a members-only floor with exclusive products and services such as personal shoppers.

“Retailers are waking up to the idea that the arms race around monetary rewards isn’t sustainable,” said Scott Robinson, vice president of design and strategy for Bond Brand Loyalty, a consulting firm.

Hotel chains, airlines, credit card companies and luxury retailers have for years offered their best customers special perks that go beyond points and discounts. But the vast majority of retailers are only just catching up.

United Airlines pledges to slash greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050

  United Airlines pledges to slash greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050 United Airlines is pledging to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, the airline announced Thursday. If United hits its goal, it would mean eliminating 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in the air each year, equivalent to taking 4.5 million cars off the road, United CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement. The Chicago-based airline is using its 2005 emissions as a starting point, in line with an industrywide target set by the International Air Transport Association. United's greenhouse gas emissions peaked in 2007 and are 8 percent below the airline's 2005 level today, said Aaron Stash, United's manager of environmental strategy and sustainability.

Get news and analysis on politics, policy, national security and more, delivered right to your inbox

That is one reason why retail loyalty programs rate so poorly among consumers. Apparel retailers ranked second from the bottom out of 15 industry sectors in a recent study of more than 800 loyalty programs by Bond Brand Loyalty.

Retailers have spent the past few months retooling their plans to fend off competition from online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc., whose Prime membership is one of the more effective loyalty programs, as well as travel and entertainment venues, which are taking a bigger slice of consumer spending.

There are still plenty of discounts—Nordstrom’s new program allows credit card members to accrue points at a 50% faster rate—but now there are also more invitation-only events and personalized services.

“It’s important for consumers to feel like the company ’gets’ them,” said Adam Brotman, J.Crew’s chief experience officer. He said the retailer is planning to launch more members-only events this fall, including one tied to Black Friday as well as providing them with first looks at new collections and customized outfit suggestions.

Husband accused of murder in death of wife missing for years

  Husband accused of murder in death of wife missing for years A Louisiana man is accused of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, who vanished more than seven years ago. The Advocate of Baton Rouge reports the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office filed an arrest warrant Thursday for 43-year-old Oscar Alberto Lozada. Investigators say they believe the Venezuela-native killed Sylviane Finck Lozada and fled to his home country with their 4-year-old daughter.It says Sylviane Lozada was last heard from on July 5, 2011. It says her husband purchase two round trip tickets to Venezuela the next day.

For the moment, all J.Crew loyalty members are treated equally but Mr. Brotman said the company is planning to introduce tiers next year to reward the highest spenders.

Macy’s began offering its best customers, those who spend $1,200 a year or more, special perks earlier this year, including a private tour of its Flower Show, VIP seating at its July 4th fireworks, cooking classes with local chefs and a preview of the Broadway show “Pretty Woman.”

Platinum members get a platinum-colored store card to distinguish them from gold and silver members, whose cards are red.

Shopper Tracey Morris recently sat in the front row at a runway show of a local Atlanta designer with VIP tickets the 46-year-old financial consultant earned as a platinum member in Macy’s Star Rewards program.

“It’s something I wouldn’t normally do,” Mr. Morris said. “The perks make me feel special.”

A Nordstrom spokeswoman declined to specify the spending threshold for “icon” status since the program hasn’t launched yet, but said other factors beyond straight dollar amounts might apply. To qualify for the next highest tier, “ambassador,” shoppers must spend at least $5,000 a year. Benefits range from access to beauty and style workshops to in-home stylists.

Visa, Mastercard reach $6.2 billion settlement over swipe fees

  Visa, Mastercard reach $6.2 billion settlement over swipe fees Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. agreed to pay as much as $6.2 billion to end a long-running price-fixing case brought by merchants over card fees, the largest-ever class action settlement of an antitrust case. The two card companies will pay between $5.54 billion and $6.24 billion to settle the claims, according to a filing Tuesday. Visa and Mastercard had previously set aside $5.3 billion related to the case. Earlier this year, as the two sides drew closer to an agreement, they put aside an additional $900 million.

Companies on average spend between 1% to 3% of their revenue on loyalty programs, according to Caroline Papadatos, who oversees the consulting practice of LoyaltyOne Co., which manages loyalty programs for retailers. But she said the overall investment can be much higher when experiences are layered on top of traditional monetary rewards.

Retailers say it is worth the extra expense since loyalty members tend to spend more. Macy’s gets half its $24.8 billion in annual revenue from 10% of its customers. And Nordstrom says loyalty members spend four times more than nonmembers.

American consumers got their first taste of rewards programs in the late 1800s with S&H Green Stamps, according to Mark Johnson, the chief executive of Loyalty360, an industry trade group. Shoppers received stamps when they made purchases at participating retailers, glued them into booklets and traded them for goods.

By the 1930s, they were clipping Betty Crocker box tops and by the 1980s they were racking up frequent flier miles. A few years later, credit card companies got into the act, offering cash back on purchases.

It wasn’t long before card companies started segmenting their customers and offering the highest spenders special perks. American Express Co. introduced its ultraexclusive Centurion Card, known as the Black Card, in 1999. For a $7,500 initiation fee plus a $2,500 annual fee, cardholders are eligible for perks including free nights at luxury hotels and personal shopping services.

Neiman Marcus Group Inc. was one of the first retailers to launch a loyalty program in 1984. These days, shoppers who spend more than $600,000 a year can choose a complimentary travel excursion and get an array of other services ranging from free in-store dining to fur storage.

The new programs retailers are rolling out now aren’t as exclusive. For example, handbag seller Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. launched a VIP loyalty program in January, offering those who shell out at least $1,500 a year early access to new products and private in-store events plus a dedicated customer service hotline.

Google defends Gmail data sharing, gives few details on violations .
<p>Alphabet Inc's Google gave details about its policies for third-party Gmail add-ons but stopped short of fully addressing questions from U.S. senators about developers who break its email-scanning rules.</p>How user data flows between big technology platforms such as Google and Facebook Inc and their partners has faced scrutiny around the world this year since Facebook revealed it had done little to monitor such relationships.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!