Albertsons Cos.’ Randalls chain, The Kroger Co.’s Dillons banner and H-E-B earned the top marks for supermarkets in Newsweek’s 2023 America’s Best Loyalty Programs report.
Randalls ranked first in the supermarket category with a 9.43 score for its Randalls for U loyalty program, well above the Dillons Rewards World Elite Mastercard at 8.76 and H-E-B Points Club Rewards at 8.73, according to Newsweek’s Best Loyalty Programs list. Last year’s top-rated loyalty program among grocery stores, The Kroger Co.’s Smith’s Rewards World Elite Mastercard, came in fifth for 2023 with a score of 8.51. SpartanNash’s Family Fare banner, not on the 2022 list, finished fourth among supermarkets this year at 8.60.
Supermarkets led all retail and service categories rated with 25 chains on Newsweek’s list, up from 20 last year. Kroger Co. had six banners on the list for 2023, followed by Albertsons Cos. and Ahold Delhaize USA (ADUSA) with three each.
Rounding out the top 10 supermarket loyalty programs were Foodtown’s Foodtown Club Card (8.44 score), Brookshire Grocery’s Thank You Card (8.40), Ingles Markets’ The Ingles Advantage Card (8.39), Food Lion’s Shop & Earn MVP Customer Rewards (8.29) and Price Chopper’s AdvantEdge Rewards (8.23).
Also making Newsweek’s 2023 loyalty program list in the supermarket segment were the Kroger store banner, Kroger’s Fred Meyer, Southeastern Grocer’s Winn-Dixie, Giant Eagle, Kroger’s Pick ’n Save, ADUSA’s Giant Food, Meijer, Publix, Key Food Co-operative’s Key Food, Kroger’s Harris Teeter, the Albertsons store banner, Wakefern Food’s ShopRite, Albertson’s Vons, Tops Friendly Markets and ADUSA’s Stop & Shop.
Based on a survey of 4,000-plus U.S. consumers enrolled in U.S. retailer or service provider programs, Newsweek’s 2023 America’s Best Loyalty Programs list ranks companies’ programs according to six criteria (in order of importance): recommendation to others, overall satisfaction, benefits/rewards, trust, customer support, and ease and enjoyment. The top finishers received above-average overall scores for their awarded loyalty programs, according to Newsweek, which partnered with global data research firm Statista to assemble the list.
Overall, about 16,000 evaluations were collected on loyalty programs from retailers and service providers in nearly three dozen categories. Loyalty programs were defined as all reward programs that provided customers with a benefit when buying or using the products or services of the associated brands.
“Altogether, we rated 239 programs in 32 product and service categories in 11 broad sectors: apparel, baby and children, banking, general reward programs, grocery stores, health and beauty, home, leisure and entertainment, restaurants, sports and transportation and travel,” Newsweek Global Editor In Chief Nancy Cooper wrote in the 2023 America’s Best Loyalty Programs report. “We found the highest number of top-rated rewards programs among supermarkets with 25, followed by 20 each in clothing and fast food.”
Over the past year or so in the grocery retail arena, loyalty plans have risen in importance as elevated pricing from high inflation has led supermarket chains to leverage customer insights from their rewards programs to extend more savings to shoppers. Grocers, too, have sharpened their focus on personalization tools to deliver more relevant deals and promotions to their customers, including via their loyalty offerings.
Big-box grocery retailers also made Newsweek’s loyalty program list in the superstores and warehouse clubs category. They were led by BJ’s Wholesale Club at a score of 8.31 for its My BJ’s Perks program, Costco Wholesale at 8.19 for its club membership, Sam’s Club at 8.18 for its Sam’s Cash program, Target at 7.97 for its Target Circle program and Walmart at 7.89 for its Capital One Walmart Rewards Card.
In addition, supermarkets accounted for two out of the five chains ranked in the pharmacies and drug stores category. They included Giant Eagle at No. 1 for its Advantage Care (9.50) and Food Lion at No. 4 for its Shop & Earn MVP Customer Rewards (7.36). The big three U.S. drug chains rounded out the category, with CVS in second place for its ExtraCare program (7.79), Walgreens in third place for myWalgreens (7.68) and Rite Aid in fifth place for Rite Aid Rewards (7.09).
This year, Newsweek also grouped the convenience stores and third-party delivery providers subcategories into the broader grocery category. C-store retailers making the America’s Best Loyalty Programs list include Pilot flying J for its MyRewards Plus program (8.81 score), Casey’s for Casey’s Rewards (8.53), Hy-Vee for Hy-Vee Fuel Saver+Perks (8.10), Sheetz for My Sheetz Rewardz (7.86) and 7-Eleven for 7Rewards (7.79). Grubhub led in grocery delivery for its Grubhub Rewards program (8.74), followed by Instacart for Instacart+ (7.87) and Amazon for the Amazon Prime Store Card (8.14).
“There are countless customer loyalty programs out there, and they work in a wide variety of ways. But they all have one purpose: to reward [shoppers] for regularly buying from a particular brand,” Cooper stated in the report. “Loyalty programs are a prominent way in which brands compete for [shoppers’] business,” she added.