The Best Rewards Programs in Canada According to Millennials – Loyalty Redefined by Canadian Retailers

This article is Part 2 of my series titled “Loyalty Redefined by Canadian Retailers”. If you haven’t already, discover The Top 10 Rewards Programs in Canada in Part 1 of this series! Please keep an eye out for more insights about your favourite Canadian rewards programs in the coming weeks!

Based on a recent Abacus Data poll of Canadians, we discovered what rewards programs were actively being used by Canadians to collect points. Now we will explore the top reward programs among Canadian Millennials, how these results compare to those of other generations, and what it means for a few longstanding loyalty leaders in Canada.

Here are the top 10 reward programs among Canadian Millennials (ages 18-32):

QUESTION: Which of the following reward programs have you used in the past 3 months to collect points? 

  1. AIR MILES (40%)
  2. Shoppers Optimum (36%)
  3. Scene (24%)
  4. Plum Rewards (18%)
  5. Hudson’s Bay Rewards (14%)
  6. Canadian Tire Rewards (14%)
  7. PETRO-POINTS (13%)
  8. Aeroplan (13%)
  9. Club Sobeys (11%)
  10. PC Points/Plus (9%)

When compared to the national general population findings from the survey, many of the top programs remain in the top 10, but that is where the similarities end. Here is a table comparing the top 10 rewards programs among all Canadians beside a list of the top 10 rewards programs among Canadian Millennials so that you can see for yourself:

All Canadians Canadian Millennials
2. Shoppers Optimum 2. Shoppers Optimum
3. Canadian Tire Rewards 3. Scene
4. Aeroplan 4. Plum Rewards
5. Hudson’s Bay Rewards 5. Hudson’s Bay Rewards
6. PETRO-POINTS 6. Canadian Tire Rewards
7. Scene 7. PETRO-POINTS
8. Club Sobeys 8. Aeroplan
9. CAA 9. Club Sobeys
10. PC Points/Plus 10. PC Points/Plus


According to the Abacus Data survey, about one-quarter of Canadian Millennials (24%) have not collected points from any rewards program in the past 3 months, compared to only 1 in 10 among the older generations (9%). This finding provides both the insight that there should be ample opportunity for rewards programs to obtain new loyal members from the young generation, but that also there may be an issue with program relevance among Millennials.

The issue of program relevance becomes much more clear when we explore which generations are significantly more likely to be active collectors of each rewards program. Millennials are the least likely among Canadian generations to be active collectors within the following eight rewards programs:

  • AIR MILES (40% compared to 66% of the older generations)
  • Canadian Tire Rewards (14% compared to 26% of the older generations)
  • Aeroplan (13% compared to 23% of the older generations)
  • Hudson’s Bay Rewards (14% compared to 21% of the older generations)
  • PETRO-POINTS (13% compared to 20% of the older generations)
  • Sears Card (3% compared to 12% of the older generations)
  • metro&moi  (4% compared to 10% of the older generations)
  • American Express Rewards  (2% compared to 9% of the older generations)

That being said, Millennials are the most likely among Canadian generations to be active collectors within the following two rewards programs:

  • Scene (24% compared to 11% of the older generations)
  • Plum Rewards (18% compared to 9% of the older generations)

What does this tell us about some of Canada’s longstanding leaders in loyalty rewards? It’s time to make big changes.

You must rapidly adapt your rewards program for the Millennial generation, or risk losing this powerhouse generation to your newer and more adaptive competitors.

Here are a few first steps that I would recommend to every CEO, CFO, CMO and every other C-level involved in an established Canadian rewards program:

  1. Review your program’s value proposition –  Is it as clear and simple as possible?
  2. Review your program’s flexibility – Are you offering the most convenient ways possible to earn and redeem?
  3. Review your program’s marketing & communications teams – Are your core values understood and are they consistently communicated?

Over the next few weeks I will start to uncover some of the leaps and strides that these big rewards programs having been making in order to try to garner more attention from Canadian consumers. I will also provide some insight into why some of these changes will work and why some programs may not be doing enough.

About the Abacus Data Canadian Rewards Program Poll:

Abacus Data ( conducted an online omnibus survey of Candians ages 18 and older. The total sample was weighted by age, gender and region to be proportionately representative of the Canadian population of adults. Responses were collected between  May 21 – 25, 2013 (n=2,465). For more information on this poll or other consumer research polls, please contact SeanCopeland, Director of Consumer Research at or 647-269-5085.

Sean Copeland is a certified marketing research professional (CMRP) known for his broad knowledge of the research workflow, his disruptive approach to problem solving and for building strong client relationships. In over 5 years Sean has developed, sold, executed, and managed hundreds of consumer research studies using a variety of new and traditional research methodologies.

Contact Sean Copeland:

T: 647-269-5085



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