The cards and consumer banking unit of Alpha Bank,
Greece’s third-largest bank by assets, has ramped up its loyalty
programme to boost cross-sell metrics following a successful 2009
in which the bank witnessed a 26% upsurge in its ‘Bonus’ card
loyalty programme. Farah Halime reports.


Chart showing Alpha Bank – average redeemed points per month and issued points for ‘Bonus’ programme, 2007-2009Greece-based Alpha
Bank has scored a marketing hit with its loyalty based cards
rewards programme, Bonus, with a 26% increase in customer usage
during 2009.

The Athens-based bank has dubbed
the Bonus rewards platform, supplied by France-based technology
partner Welcome Real-time, as a “pioneer vehicle”.

“Bonus is achieving outstanding
results – we have more cards, more transactions, an impressive rate
of redemption and happy customers,” a bank spokeswoman told

The scheme was launched in light of
a growing trend of increasing competition in the Greek credit card
market, but the bank identified there was little differentiation
between rewards products. Cashback was also cited as becoming a
predictable and prevalent cardholder reward mechanism.

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In contrast, Bonus entitles
cardholders to earn points to then spend at participating
retailers, including Alfa-Beta Vassilopoulos, one of the biggest
supermarket chains in Greece, Aegean Airlines and petrol retailer

Although the bank offers a standard
rate of 1 bonus point for every €1 ($1.25), new customers will
receive 500 points the first time they use the card.

Since the card’s launch in 2006,
the spend on Bonus cards has increased 20% above the market
average, with the number of average redeemed points per month
rising to 67m for the first half of 2009. More than 600,000
redemptions have been recorded since the start of the project, with
over 120,000 redeemed loyalty points in the second half of 2009

The bank said the “impressive
results” of the Bonus programme were underscored by increased
redemption rates in the some of the following major retailers:

  • Over 200,000 food and household
    products of the Alfa-Beta Vassilopoulos;
  • More than 100,000 tickets from
    Aegean Airlines;
  • More than 160,000 redemptions in
    mobile telephony products from Wind, a mobile communications
    company headquartered in Athens; and
  • 100,000 products and discounts
    from the department store Fokas.

A redemption campaign typically
targets customers with point balances of 15,000 to 20,000, but the
rewards range from a bottle of extra virgin oil (600 points), to an
international round-ticket passing through Germany, Italy and
Bulgaria (12,000 points).

However, one of the most popular
redemption items within Bonus was a mobile phone handset from Wind
(5,000 points), with redemptions for this offer reaching 27,000 in
2008 and already 20,000 by August 2009.

The bank also outlined increased
turnover at its partners, with Alpha Beta (AB), the second-largest
grocery retailer in Greece a prime example as Alpha Bank’s number
one redemption partner.

AB has seen a 200% increase in
unique redeemers, and has boosted its market share in Bonus cards
from 24% to 50%. The retailer has also added around 4,500 net new
customers for the campaign offer.

Energy giant BP is also active in
the Bonus initiative and has benefited from an average 20% increase
in the number of transactions coming from Alpha Bank

The spokeswoman said: “[The] Bonus
programme has become a benchmark both in Greek and in international
markets. It is the largest, most modern, most efficient, but also
the most personal reward programme.”

‘Bonus’ has most recently, targeted
a “more distinct” segment of the market with its Bonus Premium
American Express card, offering twice as many bonus points for each

This move was in line with a ‘Bonus
Special’ rewards scheme, introduced during 2008, to target high
point earners and those cardholders who it was apparent were
accruing points to spend on more expensive purchases such as
television sets and sound systems.

A co-branded card with Aegean airlines was also launched with
the bank outlining “a radical set of scheme improvements” for 2010,
although no details were disclosed.

Picture of Plpha Bank's range of 'Bonus' cards