Casinos are always offering great promotions; welcome packages, big deposit bonuses and celebratory events. However, this is all really done to tempt new customers into playing. So, at the same time, casinos must find a way to retain older players and keep them happy.
This dilemma is where loyalty programs really come into their own. Loyalty programs appeal to regular players because they mean every play and every deposit counts, and any extras offered can build up fast.Today we'll be talking about how loyalty programs or schemes work, the benefits, and the best ways to make them work for you.
How Do Loyalty Programs Work?
Most major casinos are now offering loyalty programs. They work by rewarding players with points for placing bets or depositing money. After a certain number of points are earned they can be exchanged for money to spend play with or spend in a casino's store – like a Boots Card really.
Some loyalty programs also run certain events and promotions for loyalty scheme players, such as Party Poker's special tournaments, which are exclusively available to regular players.
The main difference between loyalty programs is the way points are valued. For instance, on one site you may get 1 point for every pound you spend whereas on another you may get 1 point per fiver. Another difference to note is that the points you collect can vary depending on which games you play. So obviously, play the games with the best point ratio, right? Not necessarily.
Casinos can be sneaky things, so you need to be careful when thinking about where your loyalty points are coming from. Some casinos might give more points for certain games, although these are likely to be games with a big house edge. This means whilst you're racking up the points, your unlikely to be making in-game wins as you'll be getting bad odds for winning actual money.
Becoming a VIP
Loyalty schemes often work hand in hand with a VIP program. The points you earn are used to progress through different levels of VIP status. Commonly, these levels are named things like ‘gold' and ‘platinum', for example BGO Vegas' scheme. Gaining entry to each level is dependent upon the number of points you've collected. The higher rank you are, the more rewards you gain access to.
However, in becoming a VIP, you may have to wager a lot of money. It's been claimed that with some casinos, reaching the highest rank is impossible unless you deposit thousands of pounds at a time.
This is not always the case, though. It just means you need to be wary of seeing VIP status as an aim rather than seeing your loyalty scheme as just a supplementary bonus to your regular playing.
VIP status has major benefits; better conversion rates from pounds to points, special bonuses, prizes and presents. This is why some players think becoming a VIP is a worthwhile investment as it will pay off further down the line. But with great investments comes great risk, so if you prefer to keep things simple, stick to your normal games and gradually earn your way up the ladder, using promotions to help you earn more points than normal.
The only snag to VIP status is that some casinos continuously re-evaluate your rank. This means you need to be consistent in earning a lot of points if you want to stay in the top levels.
How to Join a Loyalty Program
For most online casinos there's very little to do on your part as, nowadays, a separate loyalty program registration isn't needed. Most casinos automatically enroll players to a loyalty scheme when they set up a casino account. If this isn't the case, there will be some method of opting in to the program, which will likely be made very obvious, and found under the ‘Promotions' tab at most casinos.
Benefits of a Loyalty Program
For regular players, a casino with a good loyalty program can be one of the most important factors when choosing where to play. You should thoroughly consider the rewards that the loyalty scheme offers when picking a casino, as the better the loyalty program, the more free money you could walk away with.
Casinos also love to run promotions and celebrations that allow loyalty players to double or triple their points. This benefit speaks for itself as it means that your daily plays can turn into something special very quickly. Loyalty programs are one of the best extras a casino can offer and leading casinos are constantly upping their game with the programs they offer.
Is There A Catch?
As always, players need to read the terms and conditions of any loyalty scheme carefully. It's important that you understand how many points you need before you are able to redeem them, and exactly how points can be spent.
The whole point of a loyalty scheme is to retain players, so most loyalty program only allow points to be exchanged for cash that can be used in play. It's less common that a casino will let you withdraw the cash from your points, or you may need to reach a certain number of points before you can.
Sometimes, loyalty points have an expiry date on them, so keep an eye on your points balance to make sure they're still valid. Overall, loyalty schemes can be a great benefit of sticking with a casino, so assess them well and find which is best for you.