Savvy travelers can quote their frequent flyer totals from memory, and know exactly how many more points they need to get a free upgrade to first class. Hotels, credit cards, oil companies and many other businesses have jumped on this bandwagon and offer various cash or gift award programs to motivate customer loyalty. With enough miles/points, you are elevated to preferred status, that glorious circumstance that has you bypassing long check-in lines and receiving Godiva chocolates on your hotel pillow. Who doesn’t want to brandish a gold/platinum/diamond card to receive special treatment?
Taxi services have taken notice, and some are offering preferred customer programs to frequent riders. Not all taxi services are convinced that a loyalty program is worthwhile. An executive at a taxi service is on the fence: “I can see the merit for this kind of program, and we will consider it if our customers demand it”.
Taxi companies that have adopted it report an increase in customer loyalty that is worth the price of the rewards provided. Of course, these rewards are by nature more modest than those supplied by airlines, due to the difference between air and taxi fares. The most popular reward is a fee cab ride. Points are usually related to fares paid, and a suitable threshold level appears to be $250. That is, after spending $250 on cab rides with the taxi service, you get 250 points that you exchange for one free ride. Another option is an upgrade from a yellow cab to a luxury limousine. You get to ride in a Lincoln Town Car but pay only yellow cab rates. This reward is especially popular with clients who want to impress fellow passengers, whether they be business associates or first dates.
Car-related premiums can be made available for a smaller number of points. For instance, for 50 points, some cab companies offer a free car freshener in a choice of scents, from “new car” to pine. For 75 points, you may offer a coupon for a free car wash or a can of premium car wax. Regular customers who accumulate 500 points can be awarded gold card status which allows them to specify which car and driver they want to use. This is important, because some passengers like talkative drivers while others demand silence. If you use taxis regularly, you may want to suggest a rewards program to your favorite cab service. Who knows, you may become their first gold card member!