Citi teams with Amazon for bigger loyalty program

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Citigroup Inc. has partnered with Amazon.com Inc. to add select Amazon merchandise and services to its loyalty offerings.

Members of Citi's ThankYou Rewards Network can use points accrued through the loyalty program to purchase products offered on and fulfilled through Amazon.com. Rewards redemption takes place on Citi's recently-renovated online interface, ThankYou.com — which allows searching and browsing by point range and category.

“We're really focused on providing value to our members, especially ones that are highly engaged, and we want to nurture our relationship with them to build long lasting relationships,” said Nancy Gordon, EVP of ThankYou Network. “We felt that partnering with Amazon, one of the largest online retailers, would provide a better customer experience.”

The range of products offered on Amazon.com should help make ThankYou more appealing and relevant to a wide cross-section of Citi customers. With Amazon, ThankYou Network should be better able to differentiate itself from the glut of loyalty programs bombarding today's consumers, Gordon added.

“Customers want choice, and they want the immediacy of being able to redeem for rewards,” she said. “Amazon helps provide a huge assortment of rewards at lower point options like books and DVDs and allows people to actually redeem for rewards quicker. They also provide for fast shipping, which means customers can get rewards quicker.”

Citi is promoting the new offering on its Web site and is gearing up for a more elaborate marketing campaign that may include e-mail, print and transpromo.

The ThankYou Network's 13 million members earn points through using Citi cards, booking travel on Expedia and using Smith Barney debit cards.

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