Citibank (a WalletHub partner) on Jan. 3, 2012 kicked off the new year in style, announcing the launch of a new Facebook app that will allow customers who are friends on the social networking site to share ThankYou Rewards points with one another. This, according to the company, will allow people to pool points in order to garner better rewards or make donations to a charitable cause.
“As our ThankYou members imagine all the ways to use their points this year, this app extends the possibilities,” Ralph Andretta, Head of Co Brands and Loyalty at Citi Cards, said in a statement. “With the new ability to pool points together through their social networks, ThankYou members can rally their friends towards a bigger reward – whether they are interested in combining points to book a weekend getaway or supporting a common cause.”
The app works by allowing individuals or groups to set goals and then track progress toward redemption over time. They can also invite friends to contribute and/or publicize their goals on their walls. This makes it clear how close individuals are to garnering desired goods or services and allows families and groups of friends to add structure to a common pursuit. The charitable applications for the app are particularly interesting as well, as users can use the social aspect of Facebook to gain momentum for important or timely causes.
“It will be interesting to see the extent to which this app takes off,” said Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of WalletHub. “I can definitely see it being useful for the family-trip or charity applications, but it’s less likely that a group of friends will use it for the simple reason that they probably do not all have Citi credit cards. Still, if it gains traction, you can bet other major credit card companies will launch similar apps of their own.”
To commemorate the launch of this free app, Citi plans to give away 10 million ThankYou points – the first 4,000 people who link the ThankYou Point Sharing App to their personal Facebook accounts before 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 3 will receive 2,500 points. Citi cardholders can sign up by visiting Citi’s Facebook page.
The app’s launch also speaks to the building momentum and flurry of activity seen in the rewards credit card industry of late. We’ve not only witnessed historic initial rewards bonuses, but also American Express making a foray into the daily deals space and Chase aggressively pursuing new rewards partnerships in order to make its Ultimate Rewards program universally applicable to all major travel service providers.