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Delta and Starbucks link loyalty programs

The news: Starbucks Rewards members can now earn Delta miles on eligible Starbucks purchases, per a joint announcement.

  • US customers can earn double Starbucks rewards on days they’re scheduled to fly out on a Delta flight.
  • To sweeten the deal, members who link their accounts before December 31 will earn a 500-mile bonus, and an additional 150 stars after their first qualifying purchase.

What’s in it for Starbucks: For Starbucks, the move adds stickiness to what’s already a hugely successful loyalty program with 27.4 million US members.

  • Not satisfied with that, the coffee company announced a Web3 experience, Starbucks Odyssey, that it hopes will deepen engagement via NFTs and unique rewards like invitations to exclusive events or access to a virtual espresso martini-making class.
  • Delta is Starbucks’ first US partner for its “Reward Together” program, which allows members to link their accounts to loyalty programs from other brands. The goal is to increase awareness of Starbucks Rewards and offer more value to members in order to drive signups.

What’s in it for Delta: The benefit is less obvious for Delta SkyMiles members, given the sheer number of purchases required to get enough miles for a free ticket. But it’s still an opportunity for the airline to build loyalty even when members aren’t directly interfacing with the brand, and increases the likelihood that Starbucks customers will consider Delta their airline of choice.

Looking ahead: While the partnership represents a significant opportunity for both players, success hinges on execution. “Making the connection and pulling the two rewards programs together needs to be easy to find and navigate,” said Patty Soltis, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. “Both Delta and Starbucks have sophisticated reward programs and should be able to do this.”