Stagecoach is a massive UK rail operator, they have stakes in both the Virgin franchises (90% East Coast and 49% West Coast) as well as running South West Trains and East Midland Trains. Rather than scrapping East Coast Rewards and replacing it with Nectar they could have used East Coast Rewards as the basis for a loyalty scheme covering all the Virgin and Stagecoach franchises. When they take over the East Coast franchise they will have access to the systems required to operate the loyalty scheme (possibly rebrand it as Virgin Rewards) and over the subsequent months they could migrate their other franchises over to the system.

This could be a great way to promote their network. For example, with a cross network loyalty scheme may tempt commuters on South West Trains to make weekend breaks in the north visiting interesting cities like York, Durham, Manchester, Nottingham etc and for those in the north to explore the South West Trains network. It would be the ideal way to promote the benefits of all their franchises and get people using the train more in their leisure time.

Imagine being able to book tickets on the combined network, use the rewards on trips such as Grantham to Bournemouth or Woking to Manchester it would take what is already an excellent rewards scheme and make it even better. Trips from the South West Trains area into Scotland would also be possible with Glasgow and Edinburgh served regularly and also the occasional services to Inverness and Aberdeen.

For those who aren't familiar with East Coast Rewards please read "East Coast Rewards v Nectar" for details why this is better than Nectar. Now imagine this scheme expanded to cover the entire Stagecoach Rail (including Virgin) network. The scheme would encourage much travel outside the passengers normal routine which would be good for UK tourism and if they discover places they enjoyed visiting they're more likely to return on a paid ticket in future.

Stagecoach have an excellent opportunity to promote their wider rail network, an opportunity to boost UK tourism and a chance to make their customers feel rewarded. Unfortunately they don't seem willing to grasp this opportunity.