Carlson cuts Gold Points

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Carlson Marketing Worldwide will cease issuing points via its Gold Points Reward Network as of April 1.

The Gold Points Reward Network has millions of users, most of whom are affiliated with either Carlson Hotels Worldwide or T.G.I. Friday's restaurants. Both partners will revamp their loyalty programs to focus more on their particular industries; Carlson's newly multilingual, multicurrency and multinational Goldpoints plus program offers travel and lodging rewards. When Friday's completes its new program this year, rewards will be geared towards dining.

“We discovered with the reward network that most of the people, when they sign up through hotels, they're looking for hotel redemption things,” said Barry Wegener, senior director of communications for Carlson. “So, by creating a program just for hotels, people earn points by staying there and then can redeem for better-quality hospitality things like airline miles and free night stays. It's quicker because they earn more points, and it doesn't cost any more to redeem them. By focusing on a particular industry, we can provide more value for their customers.”

All members of Gold Points Reward Network will retain their current points, and those points can still be redeemed on the network's Web site.

E-mails were sent to all members to notify them of the changes to the program. These e-mails were designed to be partner-specific: members who had signed up through Friday's received a Friday's-themed notification. A notice was also posted on the Gold Points redemption site, and an e-mail address and phone number were provided to field customer questions.

 “We think it's the way to go for these coalition programs,” Wegener concluded. “If they focus strongly in one segment — hospitality or dining or whatever — it will be a stronger program for them and be a better deal for their customers.”

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