Most shops and e-commerce websites nowadays have a rewards program or loyalty scheme to reward repeat business from their customers. This is a great idea since it serves as incentive for consumers to come back, spend more and get a feeling of return on their purchases. The gaming industry, being at the forefront of promotional innovation, also has adopted the practice of rewarding players for their loyalty. And in a highly competitive industry like online casinos, where players are very compensation oriented and will easily switch brands for a higher bonus, having a good rewards system can lower the churn rate of customers.
These reward programs usually come in the form of VIP points, frequent player points or some other form of points allocation. Accepting VIP points and rewards are also a way to "reduce" the house edge or profits gained from your hard earned money, but most of these programs have very carefully designed terms and conditions to ensure the casino is not being overly generous and they will you work hard for your prize. Being part of a VIP/loyalty/rewards program is usually a standard feature of the online casino and you'll be automatically entered. To opt-out you must contact support or refuse the accreditation of bonuses to your account.
How does a VIP program work?
When joining an online casino and playing for real money you will more often than not, be automatically entered into a VIP or rewards/loyalty program. From the moment you start spending money on the site you also start earning points. You'll start at the bottom tier but you can make your way to the upper tiers (which have much better ROI than lower tiers) by betting more and playing more frequently. So the rules are simple: bet more to increase your VIP level to earn more rewards.
What can you gain from a VIP program?
Most online casinos will handle their VIP points in a similar way with some minor differences and exceptions to the rule. Some of these rules are obvious, like the better the prize the more points it'll cost and hence the more you're going to have to bet to earn those points. Some games will earn you more points than others so focus on those games which yield a higher point structure in order to maximize your rewards. Prizes can include cash, bonus credits or even tickets to vacations or items from the VIP shop. A difference between a rewards program and a bonus program is that VIP points or loyalty points usually do not have wagering requirements attached to them. You'll be able to freely spend your points on anything you want, as long as you have enough of them. You could also turn those points into cash and withdraw it or spend it at the casino as "extra credit". Cash and items from the "gift shop" are not the only perks you'll receive while on a loyalty program, you'll be eligible for special prizes, higher bonuses, reactivation bonuses, tournament entries and even offline prizes like vacations. Another benefit of belonging to a VIP program and having a higher tier is the level of customer service offered to you and in some cases even speedier withdrawals than for regular players.
Loyalty programs will also allow you to access higher tiers with even better returns on your investment. These tiers or higher ranks are usually structured in steps and are sometimes called "silver", "gold" and "platinum". Some even have "diamond" tiers which are reserved for big spenders or whales. The most important rule to remember here is that the more you bet or spend and the longer you've been at the online casino, the higher your VIP tier will be. Some programs will also allow you to buy points from the casino, much like airlines do with their frequent flier miles. And some will allow you to sell or buy from other players. This is especially handy if you're not interested in exchanging your points for items or gifts, then you can sell your points for cash at a pre-arranged exchange rate. Whatever you decide to do with your points, it pays out to be part of a loyalty scheme. It will provide an incentive to keep playing, it will increase brand loyalty and it will help you increase your bank roll so you can play more and have a better chance at winning more. Just remember, VIP programs are a side benefit of your gaming habits and should not be the focus of your activity. In other words, play to win and earn a little extra on the side. Don't play for comps only.