Click here for a free infographic on the impact of redemptions on cardholder engagement and retention!

The impact of redemptions on cardholder engagement and retention is significant for banks and credit unions. As the powerhouse behind the loyalty flywheel, redemptions shape desired spending patterns and fortify consumer loyalty. At ampliFI, we see a direct correlation between engaged, redeeming cardholders and increased spending and retention levels.

What are the perks of aligning loyalty programs with these trends? By tailoring offerings to match consumer spend and redemption habits, financial institutions gain a competitive edge, entice new cardholders in a saturated industry, bolster retention, and optimize return on investment. 

In this loyalty redemption analysis, we delve into the cardholder redemption data of our client base for Q1 of 2024, uncovering early redemption trends in the year. This analysis shares the trends ampliFI is observing and offers insights for banks and credit unions looking to fine-tune their loyalty strategies. 

Key Takeaways

  • ampliFI clients with Real-Time Rewards see a 94% average retention rate, significantly higher than non-redeemers.
  • Non-redeemers consistently exhibit a 10% average lower retention rate across all categories.
  • Real-Time Rewards, including Checkout With Points, Pay With Points, and Fuel With Points, give cardholders real-time, instant redemption options and constitute three of the top five redemption categories by order volume. 

Cardholder Engagement and Retention

Cardholder Retention Rates per Redemption Category

The data reveals compelling trends underscoring the impact of redemptions on cardholder engagement and retention. Trends among the top five redemption categories show that redemption offerings that engage consumers in real-time and experiential rewards generate the highest retention rates. Notably, ampliFI clients with Real-Time Rewards consistently see 13% average higher retention rates than other categories, including cashback. 

Real-Time Rewards (94.4%): ampliFI clients with Real-Time Rewards see an average retention rate of 94.4%, outpacing other popular redemption options like cashback and gift cards by nearly 5%.

Travel (93.6%): Travel rewards generate higher retention rates, indicating a strong affinity among consumers who value experiences. Travel incentives can be a potent strategy for enhancing consumer loyalty and satisfaction.

Merchandise (92.6%): Consumers who redeem for merchandise consistently display some of the highest retention rates among ampliFI clients.

Non-Redeemers (80.9%): The most revealing insight comes from the comparison with non-redeemers, who consistently exhibit significantly lower cardholder engagement and retention rates across all categories. This underscores the critical role of active participation in loyalty rewards programs in fostering long-term consumer relationships to drive retention.


Top Five Redemption Categories By Order Volume

According to Marigold1, diverse redemption options are critical to driving cardholder engagement and retention. Redemption categories with high engagement illuminate consumer preferences and provide insight into cardholders’ values. Real-Time Rewards, including Checkout With Points, Pay With Points, and Fuel With Points, constitute three of the top five redemption categories by order volume at ampliFI.

While popular, the lack of emotional connection around cashback generates less cardholder engagement, retention, and spending than other redemption options. Comparatively, real-time redemption options like Checkout With Points, Pay With Points, and Fuel With Points deliver a proactive approach to loyalty, keeping the financial institution’s brand at the forefront while reinforcing the loyalty program’s value to the cardholder.

Checkout With Points (26.5%): Checkout With Points shows the highest order volume, highlighting how consumers prefer using loyalty points at the point of sale. For financial institutions, this emphasizes the importance of delivering a seamless checkout experience to drive redemptions and engagement.Cardholder Engagement and Retention

Cashback Redemptions (25%): Cashback is a popular choice among consumers but can add to the financial burden of banks and credit unions. Financial institutions that offer cashback as part of a holistic loyalty program meet expectations while delivering additional cash-like reward options at a lower cost per point to the institution.

Pay With Points (18.9%): Pay With Points empowers consumers to use their loyalty points to offset purchases directly, mirroring a cashless payment experience. This category suggests a desire for convenience and flexibility for everyday transactions among consumers.

Gift Cards (14.8%): Gift cards are a popular redemption option that allows recipients to choose their preferred products or services from merchants they care about, delivering effortless personalization.

Fuel With Points (11.7%): Fuel With Points empowers cardholders to redeem their accumulated reward points for gas at participating fuel providers, satisfying the growing desire of cardholders to save money at the pump. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen cardholders who utilize Fuel With Points spend 2.4x their non-redeeming counterparts.


Top Spend Categories & Merchants

Knowing what merchants and categories cardholders prefer enables banks and credit unions to deepen consumer relationships and drive cardholder engagement and retention in an increasingly competitive market. 

  • The top four Pay With Points redemption categories include retail, restaurants, grocery, and fuel, which account for 80% of all Pay With Point activity.
  • The top four Checkout With Points merchants include Dollar General, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart, with the last one accounting for 61% of all Checkout With Points activity.
  • The top Fuel With Points merchants include Shell, Murphy’s, and BP.
  • The top gift card merchants consumers redeem with include Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Target, and Lowe’s.
  • The top six merchandise brands consumers redeem with include Cuisinart, Hamilton, DeWalt, JBL, and Apple. Who doesn’t love bumping some music while tackling housework?

Activate Growth With ampliFI

ampliFI empowers banks and credit unions to utilize institution-specific data to create tailored campaigns that reward consumers for spending where it matters to them. This personalized approach drives higher spending and boosts retention rates, directly contributing to the institution’s bottom line.

Click here for a free infographic on the impact of redemptions on cardholder engagement and retention!

Ready to boost retention and engagement? Connect with our team at or click the link below to get started.

Connect With Us


ampliFI Loyalty Solutions’ consolidated client data for Q1 of 2024