VIP and loyalty programs at online casinos
Online casinos put a lot of time and effort into retaining their players, which should come as no surprise when you consider the level of competition in the industry. Players are spoiled for choice and casinos have to work hard to keep their customers coming back.
One of the most popular tools in the online casino player retention arsenal is the casino VIP or loyalty program. In most cases, the two terms are interchangeable and refer to exactly the same thing – a way for casinos to reward player loyalty over time.
In this guide, we will be taking a look at what exactly a loyalty scheme or program is and what it does, how it can benefit returning players and how to tell if a VIP program is right for you.
What is a loyalty program?
Casino loyalty programs are similar to other loyalty programs you might have come across. Some airlines offer frequent flyer perks and many high street brands offer returning customers incentives. Just like you collect points whenever you use your loyalty card at a shop, you can also collect points when participating in a casino’s loyalty program.
Casinos can and do customise their VIP programs to some degree. Loyalty points can be referred to as coins, XP or another term. The levels of a program can have different names as well.
Mainly, though, a lot of VIP programs perform in much the same way. You collect points in some fashion and you will enjoy perks and bonuses of increasing value as you go from one level to the next. Simple!
For the sake of clarity, we’ll be referring to the on-site units needed to progress through a VIP program as points. Collecting points can be done in different ways – the casino itself will specify how.
Some casinos award points based on how much you wager on casino games, regardless of whether you win or lose at those games. For example, a casino might award you 1 point for every £5 wagered. Other casinos may reward with points through participation in promotions or tournaments. Even if you don’t come in first in the competition, you will still be given points, though perhaps fewer than the winner. Referring a friend to a casino could also be rewarded with points.
The way you collect points is determined by the casino itself and all casinos offering a loyalty program will explain exactly what you need to do to accumulate them.
Many casinos offer a tiered VIP program and we will talk about that a little later. Some casinos use an exchange system instead. Players collect points, just as they would anywhere else, but instead of progressing through preset levels, the individual can visit a casino ‘shop’ to exchange points for specific rewards.
For example, players at Vera and John casino can collect points by logging in, rating games and playing. Once they have collected a good amount of points (called coins at this casino), they can head to the V&J Shop to exchange them for bonuses and spins bundles. The player is free to visit the shop whenever they want or choose to keep saving up their coins for later.
Many casinos like to offer tiered loyalty or VIP programs. All this means is that there are different levels of perks awarded to players and they can progress from one to the other over time.
It’s important to remember that making the most of a loyalty program won’t happen overnight. These schemes are designed to reward long-term – it’s unwise to sign up to a casino solely in pursuit of the VIP rewards as those can take quite a long time to reach. VIP programs add a little extra value to the player experience but keep in mind that it’s the entertainment and thrill of casino games that should be the impetus for joining a casino.
Casinos can call the section of their loyalty program anything, though many seem to prefer naming them after precious metals. Names like Gold, Silver and Platinum.
Whatever they are called, each level comes with two parts. The first is the points threshold that must be reached in order to move into and stay into a level. Lower levels have lower thresholds, which helps new players with reachable goals. The further up you progress, the more of a challenge it will be to collect the required number of points.
Some casinos will cancel out previously collected points after one calendar month, thus ensuring that players hoping to keep their casino perks will keep playing. If this is the case, it will always be stated in the VIP terms and conditions.
The second thing that every VIP level has is the perks. These are exclusive to players who are in that specific level and they get better and more generous, the higher you go. Again, casinos are free to get creative with the kind of perks they offer but things like exclusive reload bonuses, invitations to events, better bonus terms, quicker withdrawal times, higher transaction limits and the assistance of an account manager are all popular VIP perks in use within the industry.
VIP account managers
You may be wondering why having a VIP account manager is such a big deal. You’ve managed your own account just fine so far, what’s the fuss?
Account managers add plenty to the VIP experience as their job is to get the player the best possible casino service. An account manager will work out exclusive bonuses and promotions that suit the player’s taste in games and their style of play. An account manager will also take note of special occasions like your birthday, casino anniversary and so on, and will offer unique rewards to celebrate those moments.
Another advantage of working with an account manager is that they are always ahead of the curve when it comes to future promotions and bonuses the casino has planned. With their knowledge of their players’ preferences and patterns, account managers can tailor bonuses to those specific needs.
There’s a good reason the services of an account manager are usually reserved for the highest tiers of a VIP program. These customer service pros are totally dedicated to ensuring that the casino and the VIP player maintain a fruitful relationship throughout.
Becoming a VIP
At some casinos, players are automatically entered into the first level of the loyalty program while at others, players must opt-in themselves or get in touch with customer support to express their interest in joining. Some VIP programs are by invitation only, which means that the casino itself will reach out to players (usually the big spenders) to offer entry into the program.
Players are not obligated to participate in loyalty programs. Indeed, you can play for years without even looking at the VIP page at a casino and your play will not be affected in any way. Loyalty programs, particularly those that reward regular play, can improve the player experience with additional goodies but it is also perfectly fine to completely ignore the whole thing.
Bonuses and perks will never be foisted on you without your knowledge – you will always be informed when you are being offered something extra through the loyalty program. Most players are glad for these fun little boosts but those who aren’t interested can choose to ignore them.
Loyalty programs help casinos reward returning players over long periods of time and can also offer a set of goals for players to strive towards. Whether you are a high roller or a casual player, these programs can improve your casino experience.