American Eagle Outfitters’ Rewards Program: The Real Deal

Reviewing the American Eagle rewards program with an eagle eye. Let’s see how the brand caters to its audience of teens and young adults.

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American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) is a well-known American clothing and accessories retailer primarily targeting teens and young adults. The company, operating under the American Eagle and Aerie brands, offers a rewards program called Real Rewards. Aerie, the sister brand, also integrates with the American Eagle rewards program, allowing members to earn and redeem points across both brands. The brand is looking to empower customers to be their real, authentic selves. Let’s find out if they’re achieving this with their rewards program.

Are you looking to learn more about the loyalty landscape overall? If you haven’t already, download the original GCLR 2024 for additional insights and exciting statistics about retail loyalty programs. 

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Membership Page – Unlocking True Potential With Real Rewards

The Real Rewards program offers multiple enrollment options. Customers can create an account on the website and be automatically enrolled, although it’s not explicitly stated that registration also includes rewards program membership. Clearly informing new members that creating an account will automatically enroll them in the Real Rewards program could help prevent confusion. Customers can also discover the rewards program by scrolling to the bottom of the homepage. Additionally, they can sign up via the brand’s mobile apps, at store locations, or by calling a toll-free number. 

Upon joining, customers can immediately discover information about the program’s benefits, learn how it works, and understand the qualifications for each tier, as well as how to earn points and redeem rewards. Easy access to information about the rewards program is always useful for motivating customers to participate in Real Rewards. That’s because clear communication about the benefits and rewards can encourage customers to join and remain loyal to the brand.

Upon signing into their account, customers can view their current point balance and the benefits available to them.
Upon signing into their account, customers can view their current point balance and the benefits available to them. They also gain access to all their account information, including purchase and points history, and payment settings.
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Tips to try:

  • By presenting the benefits upfront, you cater to prospective members’ desire for instant gratification. When users know what they will gain, they are more likely to complete the sign-up process.
  • Design your loyalty program’s membership page to summarize what members can do and ensure smooth and engaging daily interactions like reward redemption.
  • The design and branding of the membership page should align with your company’s overall brand image and messaging. This helps reinforce brand loyalty and creates a cohesive experience for members.

Enrollment – Be Part of Something Real

Joining the American Eagle rewards program is a delightfully swift process. Customers simply need to provide their email address, first and last name, and ZIP code, then create a password and indicate their date of birth to receive a free gift every year. While this streamlined registration process takes less than a minute, American Eagle effectively captures valuable zero-party data from the outset. 

By keeping the enrollment process simple and asking only for essential information, American Eagle provides customers with a smooth and user-friendly experience. This can help prevent them from feeling overwhelmed or frustrated during sign-up. Upon registration, new members receive a straightforward welcome email thanking them for creating an account. However, adding a welcome reward and infusing the email with a more engaging and dynamic design could enhance the member experience even more.

The American Eagle rewards program is free, easy to understand, and has a wide range of rewards
Shoppers also have the option to subscribe to American Eagle’s newsletters and text messages to receive an exclusive offer upon signup, along with insider access to additional offers, new arrivals, style tips and more.
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Tips to try:

  • Including a small reward or benefit in your welcome email can be a compelling incentive to make that all-important second purchase immediately.
  • Members-only rewards don’t have to be only coupons or discounts — they can also be free shipping and returns or invitations to exclusive community events.
  • Instead of asking a list of questions upon signup, use gamified surveys later on and present your questions in a more engaging way, using visuals, sliders, and a more personal tone.

Program Structure – The Real Deal

The American Eagle rewards program operates on a tiered structure comprising three tiers. Real Rewards members receive varying amounts of points when they spend based on their tier. Members earn points for every dollar they spend at American Eagle and Aerie; once they earn enough points, they receive a $5 reward to spend on their next order. They also get free shipping and returns, a birthday coupon, and access to members-only sales and events.

In the American Eagle rewards program, members begin at Level 1 and can advance to Levels 2 and 3 by meeting specific spending thresholds each year. Implementing a tiered loyalty program offers customers a sense of achievement and progression as they advance through the three tiers. However, to motivate customers even more, American Eagle could consider further differentiating between each Level in the program.

The American Eagle rewards program is a three-tiered program
To enhance the appeal of the program, American Eagle could consider adopting more dynamic tier names that resonate with the brand’s youthful demographic.
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Tips to try:

  • By offering escalating benefits and privileges at each tier level, you can build stronger relationships with your customers.
  • The exclusive benefits and personalized experiences offered at each tier level can help differentiate your loyalty program in a crowded market.
  • Create a feedback loop where members can easily provide input on the rewards program. This can help identify areas for improvement and make members feel valued.

Point Accrual – Shop. Close Your Loop. Get Rewarded.

Every dollar spent online or in-store at an American Eagle or Aerie shop earns members between 10 to 20 points, depending on their tier level. Purchases of jeans are worth double the points. Each time customers “close the loop” and reach 1,250 points, they unlock a $5 reward to spend on their next purchase. This cycle feels more rewarding the more a customer shops because reaching a higher tier increases the number of points earned, allowing them to earn discounts at a faster pace. Additionally, American Eagle periodically offers seasonal points promotions where members can earn additional points. 

Enrolling in one of American Eagle’s Real Rewards credit cards is another way to accelerate point accumulation. Real Rewards credit cardholders are instantly upgraded to Level 2 of the program, gaining access to even more perks and benefits.

To keep their hard-earned points, members must make a purchase within a 375-day rolling period. If they don’t, their points will expire, and their account will be deactivated.

The American Eagle rewards program ensures that customers can earn points across various channels, including in-store, online, and mobile. They integrate all touchpoints to provide a seamless experience for customers to accrue points regardless of how they interact with their brand.

Each time members “close the loop”, reaching 1,250 points, they unlock a $5 reward to spend on their next purchase.
For in-store purchases, members need to show their rewards card on their mobile phone or identify themselves using their phone number, email address, or their last name and ZIP code. For online purchases, members must log into their account before completing the transaction to ensure they receive their points.
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Tips to try:

  • Clearly communicate how points are earned for different actions or purchases within the loyalty program. Make the point accrual process transparent and easy for customers to understand.
  • Tailor point accrual opportunities based on customer preferences, behavior, and purchase history. Offer personalized promotions or bonus points for specific actions to incentivize customers to earn more points.
  • Ensure you have a well-defined plan for points expiration and that you clearly communicate to customers to prevent any unpleasant surprises. Expiration emails are a standard way to subtly encourage customers to use their points. Ideally, these emails should be personalized to reflect customers’ preferences and shopping behaviors.

Rewards – Fast, Easy Perks to Keep It Real

As a business catering to teens and young adults, American Eagle places significant emphasis on the diversity of its rewards, offering a mix of financial benefits, events and experiences, and physical gifts. In addition to the $5 reward members earn for every 1,250 points accumulated, they receive a $5 birthday reward and shipping perks after meeting certain spending thresholds. Level 3 members enjoy free returns, access to members-only sales and events, and Aerie-exclusive events featuring double points, freebies, extra saves, and more.

Members with a Real Rewards credit card not only automatically start at Level 2 of the rewards program, they benefit from a 20% discount on their first purchase at American Eagle or Aerie, earn double points on everything (4x points on jeans!), and gain access to exclusive cardmember sales. Rewards expire 60 days after they are issued. They also have the privilege of selecting their own sale day, and receive an additional 20% off once a year. 

Members who spend at least $350 within a calendar year can attain Level 3 status, allowing them to earn more points and access more substantial discounts.

By signing up for an American Eagle credit card, members can take advantage of special benefits and earn additional points
By signing up for an American Eagle credit card members can take advantage of special benefits and earn additional points. American Eagle offers two credit cards, one closed-loop for the store and one that can be used anywhere. With the latter, members can also earn five points for every dollar spent at non-AEO retailers.
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Tips to try:

  • Utilize customer data to offer personalized discounts and offers based on shopping habits and preferences. This can increase engagement and satisfaction.
  • Introduce exclusive experiences or events for higher-tier members to enhance the perceived value of the program.
  • Ensure the process for earning and redeeming rewards is straightforward and user-friendly. Clear instructions and reminders about how to use rewards can improve user experience.

Mobile App – Trends At Members’ Fingertips

The American Eagle app provides a seamless, integrated experience for members, enabling them to shop, check their rewards status and receive personalized offers on the go. The mobile application allows users to check the availability of items at nearby stores and save their favorite styles in one place for future purchases or share them with friends and family. Additionally, members can utilize their phones to scan barcodes in-store and discover similar styles with just a snap of a photo. The app offers abundant outfit inspirations, trends, and more while also delivering instant notifications about sales and other events.

The American Eagle app provides a seamless, integrated experience for members.
Members can see all information about their preferences, purchase history, membership status, points and benefits, and all active and available offers on their screens.
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Tips to try:

  • Strengthen the mobile app experience by integrating real-time rewards tracking and personalized notifications about upcoming sales and events.
  • Use push notifications to ensure that your message reaches the intended audience, no matter where they are. Personalized reminders are a great way to stay in touch with members by letting them know about special offers.
  • Make the user experience fun and easy to keep customers engaged and invested even when they are not currently making a purchase.

Final Judgment – Prepare for Take-Off

American Eagle Outfitters offers a rewards program where customers have various convenient methods to join, ensuring accessibility and ease of participation. The registration is straightforward and quick, requiring minimal personal information. The program provides clear, upfront information about its benefits, including points accumulation and rewards. Real Rewards cardholders receive instant upgrades to higher program tiers, accelerating points earning. They also enjoy exclusive discounts, double points on select purchases like jeans, and special cardholder sales. 

However, there is untapped potential to differentiate the tiers more and further motivate members. Also, some customers may not be fully aware of the program’s existence or may find the initial communication about their rewards program membership unclear while creating an account.

Despite these potential areas for improvement, the American Eagle Real Rewards program effectively combines convenience, rewards, and seamless integration to foster customer loyalty and satisfaction across its brands.

Pros and cons of the AEO rewards program.

Are you inspired to put your newfound knowledge into action? Our loyalty experts are more than happy to strike up a conversation with you about the loyalty capabilities that will make your reward program truly shine. All you have to do is send us an RFP or book a demo.

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Headshot of Barbara Kekes-Szabo Loyalty Program Specialist at Antavo

Barbara Kekes-Szabo

Barbara is a Loyalty Program Specialist at Antavo and a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional - CLMP. She is also a writing expert with several years of experience in marketing and also in the information technology industry. In her free time she likes traveling the world, reading crime stories, and doing crossword puzzles.

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