This Startup Wants to Make Loyalty Points as Liquid as Cash

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The world is collectively sitting on billions of dollars in unused air miles. Once redeemed, the amount would be enough to bankrupt airlines. Yet consumers seem content to let their air miles expire, and it’s the same story with loyalty programs.

There are many reasons for this. Consumers either find redeeming their points inconvenient, or they simply have no use for the promotions offered. So, while some shoppers use their accumulated points and benefits regularly, others find them worthless.

Singapore startup Giift, however, wants to shake things up with an online platform that supercharges how loyalty programs are done through the efficiency that the internet brings.

“We want to be a LinkedIn for gift cards, where instead of uploading resumes, consumers upload miles, points, gift cards, and memberships,” says Pascal Xatart, co-founder of Giift.

While it’s hard to pin down an exact figure for the size of the global market, loyalty programs touch practically everyone in developed countries. If you shop, you probably have a few membership cards in your wallet right now.

Giift’s concept isn’t new, however. In fact, it arrived late on a crowded global stage. Companies have been tackling the same problem from every angle imaginable. BigDoor offers white-label loyalty-programs-as-a-service to brands, and Passbook by Apple provides a mobile interface for loyalty programs.

EPoints, meanwhile, allows users to redeem points from online services, while Wrapp has attracted significant venture capital funding by grants users the ability to send gifts to one another online.

Asia is a hotbed for loyalty-related startups. Singapore has Perx, a mobile app that lets users exchange purchases for extra gifts, as well as ShopGuru, which gives physical stores the ability to reward users for performing certain actions. No dominant player exists in Asia, which provides Giift a window of opportunity.

(See more: Perx dumped daily deals business to focus on loyalty card app, has no regrets)

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