Virgin Trains East Coast have confirmed that the survey that they conducted did involve East Coast passengers. However, it appears that they didn't think to ask their existing Rewards members as I've mentioned in the press release: No one asked us, They don't care!. What is the fair way to conduct a survey?
The survey should consist of both current East Coast Rewards members and also regular East Coast travellers that are not members for whatever reason. To remove bias the names of the scheme should not be revealed but instead a list of each schemes advantages and disadvantages should be listed. Here's my attempt at a fair survey:
Would you prefer to use the existing loyalty scheme, a new loyalty scheme or no loyalty scheme when purchasing tickets on the Virgin Trains East Coast website?
Current loyalty scheme
Points are earned on all rail tickets purchased on eastcoast.co.uk, first class tickets earn 50% more points. All East Coast tickets earn points, for other tickets a minimum total spend of £22 is required to earn points. There are no other partners to earn points but East Coast sells tickets for all GB rail operators.
It's possible to get the lowest reward with £50 (£34 first class) spend. This is for first class lounge access or WiFi. Train tickets start at £255 spend (£170 first class) for a standard single ticket. First class tickets are available at £460 spend (£307 first class). Discounts are available for purchases of four or more tickets. Tickets are valid on any route served by East Coast trains.
Other partners include department stores, wine and beer merchants and well as cinemas. For a £10 voucher for a major department store you will need to spend £510 (£340 first class).
Proposed new loyalty scheme
The new scheme only awards booking on Virgin Trains when booked through the website. There's no bonus for first class or for any tickets on any other operator. There's a large number of partners where you can also earn points including a major supermarket chain, DIY store, credit card and various online retailers
All rewards are on a fixed percentage basis, there's no single points value to redeem for rail tickets. Points are generally 1% of your total spend. The minimum amount of points you can spend is equivalent to £250 spend. Spending £250 will get you £2.50 off at most partners and a maximum of £5.00 off at a retailer with a promotion running. To use points on a £50 rail ticket you will need to spend £5000 on points. Points may also be redeemed at major department stores, supermarkets, restaurants and many more partners.
What do you think?
Are these descriptions fair and balanced? When it's put like that would you choose the new scheme? Errors and comments below.