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22 February 2022
Hidden Gems: Top 50 Most Valuable Financial Services Loyalty Programs

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Executive Summary

Although loyalty programs have evolved to become limelight success drivers for consumer brands across many industries such as retail and travel, they continue to be viewed as peripheral rather than “core business” in the financial services domain.

However, motivated by equity carve outs in the airline sector and the success of many stand alone loyalty businesses, we are seeing growing interest among senior bank executives in loyalty program monetization opportunities, JVs and spin-off scenarios.

This report provides an industry first approach for financial services rewards program valuations, with the objective of highlighting the scale and significant potential of these programs.

Ascenda has analyzed valuation data for dozens of historic loyalty program transactions spanning equity investments, acquisitions and IPOs. Using a set of 8 input drivers derived from over 30 different primary variables, we developed a proprietary statistical regression model to assess financial services loyalty program value.

We applied the model to compute valuations for over three hundred top-tier bank, payments and wallet loyalty programs globally. This report ranks the top 50 programs. As should be expected, the top spots are occupied by well branded programs with large member bases. However, deeper analysis reveals that there are numerous other common success factors across the most valuable programs.

We expect that a growing number of financial services players will look to establish their loyalty programs as stand alone businesses, with the bolder ones going as far as partial equity carve outs, putting program valuations increasingly into the center of the industry’s attention.

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