Can Coalition Loyalty Programs Succeed in the United States?



Can Plenti score points with U.S. shoppers?

Mercator Advisory Group releases a new research note assessing the first year of merchant coalition loyalty program Plenti by Amex.

Author: Raymond Pucci
Published on: August 30, 2016

Popular with merchants and consumers in some global regions outside the United States are coalition loyalty programs, which are shopper-based incentive programs sponsored by retailers and service providers. American Express launched its merchant coalition loyalty program Plenti in 2015 for U.S. consumers. Patterned after some successful international programs, Plenti began with a list of highly recognizable retail brands.

Mercator Advisory Group’s latest research note, Can Coalition Loyalty Programs Succeed in the United States? observes and assesses the features and functionality of coalition loyalty. The note pays particular attention to Plenti and the ups and downs of its first year in existence. Additionally, the coalition loyalty model and Plenti are sized up against the single-merchant loyalty model as exemplified by Starbucks Rewards.

“U.S. consumers are no strangers to loyalty programs, especially those offered by credit card networks, issuers, airlines, and hotels. Whether Plenti will successfully strike a high note by driving traffic to major U.S. retailers remains to be seen,” comments Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group and the author of the research note.

This document contains 12 pages and 6 exhibits.

Companies mentioned in this research note include: Alamo, American Express, AT&T, Direct Energy, Enterprise, Expedia, Exxon Mobil, Hulu, Macy’s, National, Nationwide, Rite Aid, and Starbucks.

Highlights of the research note include:

  • Background of international coalition loyalty programs 
  • U.S. consumers’ credit card spending preferences 
  • Structure and workings of Plenti program and its merchant partners 
  • Comparison with single-merchant loyalty program Starbucks Rewards 
  • Challenges and lessons learned for coalition loyalty 



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