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JCPenney Aims to Give $500 Million Back to Customers with Revamped Rewards Program

JCPenney has rolled out a revamped rewards program.
Image courtesy JCPenney

JCPenney is the latest retailer to reconfigure its rewards program with the debut of a simplified loyalty offering that nearly doubles the rate at which members earn rewards. With this enhanced earning potential, JCPenney estimates that it could return as much as half-a-billion dollars back to its customers in the form of rewards, said Katie Mullen, the retailer’s Chief Customer Officer, at a press briefing.

The updated Rewards program is the next step in JCPenney’s ongoing transformation strategy, which last year saw the retailer commit to investing $1 billion in improving the customer experience and operational efficiencies.

JCPenney currently boasts more than 20 million Rewards members who consistently shop at the retailer an average of five times per year; now those members will earn more with each shopping trip. Enhancements to the program include:

  • Customers will earn Rewards at nearly double the previous rate, with members earning at least one CashPass point for every $1 spent and receiving a $10 CashPass Reward when they hit 200 points​;
  • Members are guaranteed at least $20 in CashPass Rewards, with new members automatically getting a $10 CashPass when they sign up and all members getting a $10 CashPass every year on their birthday;
  • These rewards also can be stacked on top of other coupons and can be used on any purchase; and
  • JCPenney cardholders will save even more by earning CashPass Rewards 50% faster (1.5 points per $1 spent) when they use a JCPenney Credit Card for purchases. New cardholders also will get an extra 35% off their first purchase with their JCPenney credit card.

Another simplifying element of the program is the CashPass itself. “Customers don’t want to think about points,” said Mullen. “All they want to think about is the value that equates to for them, so we’ve been very deliberate in naming our [rewards] structure CashPass so that customers really understand that this is equivalent to dollars.”

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The program continues to be free to join, which Mullen said was a deliberate choice: “We’ve made a commitment to stay free as a program. Not every one of our competitors can say the same,” she said, adding that “there are lots of rewards programs that are targeted to elite customers and focused on giving back to your highest spenders. We have customers of all ages and all demographics, and we wanted to make sure that everyone could participate. One of the things we challenged ourselves on was how do we make it simpler so that every customer can feel like they can participate. The simplicity really allows us to communicate our program more effectively in other languages, not just English, and it also makes sure we can make our program easy for anyone to join.”  

JCPenney joins a growing list of retailers beefing up their loyalty programs, as customer loyalty is tested by higher prices and expanded options. This year alone, retailers relaunching their loyalty programs include PetSmartTargetSunglass HutStaplesLowe’sUlta Beauty, Carter’s, Albertsons and CVS.

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