More than seven out of ten luxury consumers in the US are participating in some kind of loyalty programme - but not usually those offered by luxury brands, according to a Luxury Institute survey of wealthy shoppers earning US$150,000+ per year. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

Overall, 72% of wealthy consumers said they currently participate in some kind of loyalty programme, with the most popular ones being associated with credit cards, airlines, hotels and grocery stores.

Men are significantly more likely to be members of airline and hotel rewards programmes, while women are disproportionately represented in programmes sponsored by grocery stores, drugstores and department stores.

Previous research has shown that Sephora, American Express and Amazon are the top three favourite rewards programmes among affluent consumers in the US.

However, very few of the respondents said that they belong to a luxury brand rewards programme. The main perceived benefits of luxury brands' loyalty programmes are special offers and rewards, earning and redeeming points, and free goods and services. Free gifts were found to carry more importance among women, shoppers under 50, and those with a net worth less than US$1 million.

Satisfaction with existing loyalty programmes is high and most high-income shoppers say that they have had positive experiences with their memberships. The majority of shoppers report that loyalty programmes exert a strong influence over purchasing decisions.

"Loyalty programmes combined seamlessly with one-to-one customer relationship building can be highly effective in driving conversion and retention while making data collection easier," concluded the Luxury Institute's CEO, Milton Pedraza.