From Starbucks to Sephora: 4 Examples of Loyalty Programs Improving with NFTs

5 min read
May 16, 2023 5:37:15 PM

We like to talk about how NFTs can help you and your customers develop a closer relationship, but it’s time to explain how exactly that can be. So, we’ve taken four global examples of brands and their loyalty programs… and we have four ways NFTs can upgrade the experience they have to offer. 

Starbucks Rewards (Starbucks)

starbucks rewards

One of the first loyalty programs one thinks of is Starbucks' Rewards program.

How it Works Right Now

Starbucks Rewards is a popular loyalty program that rewards customers for their purchases. Members earn "stars" for each transaction, and as they accumulate stars, they unlock different membership tiers. For example, with 25 stars, you can customise your drink, with 200 stars, you get a free breakfast item in the morning when you order a hand-crafted drink. And so on. Other benefits include getting freebies like free coffee, refills and a birthday treat; ordering and paying ahead via the Starbucks app; bonus 'Star Challenges', 'Double Star Days' and more. They also partner with other brands to let consumers unlock further perks. 

While Starbucks had launched free NFTs already, and dropped a collection of premium NFTs in March 2023, these have been in connection to the Starbucks Odyssey program which allowed customers and employees to collect digital stamps as rewards or collect limited edition artwork.

How it Can Get Better

A big part of the Starbucks-drinking culture is ordering off-menu items or from the ‘Secret Menu’, posting on social media about colourful and unique drinks that require a specific customised handcrafted drink or just using a Starbucks location as a co-working space. Starbucks could potentially capitalise on this with NFTs unlocked per tier that members can use to gain access to an actual Secret Menu, or longer hours in any Starbucks location with amenities like free (higher speed) wifi and so on. So, instead of just collectibles, the NFTs give Starbucks Rewards members tangible advantages.

My Nintendo (Nintendo)

my nintendo

Nintendo's 'My Nintendo' program is free for anyone with an existing Nintendo account.

How it Works Right Now

My Nintendo allows members to earn points and redeem them to get rewards like in-game content and discounts on digital games. Anybody who has an existing Nintendo account can use My Nintendo, free of charge. The entire system is based on playing and purchasing to earn points. By clearing various "missions", players earn three different kinds of currency; Gold Points, Platinum Points, and app-centric Platinum Points, which can be exchanged for rewards. In some countries, My Nintendo Gold Points can be redeemed on select purchases for the Nintendo Switch system from Nintendo eShop or the official Nintendo website. 

How it Can Get Better

While the gaming industry has already expressed interest in or explored NFT drops or loot-boxes connected to NFTs, My Nintendo can use NFTs to upgrade the experience members can have when they accrue enough Gold Points (which they get when they make purchases in-game). And that means tapping into what all gamers actually want: coming out on top. So, getting enough Gold Points can unlock new tiers for gamers which give them unseen cheat codes that can only be played by an ID that is connected to those NFTs, or access to new updates and releases before the rest of the world. This can make the members of My Nintendo feel like they're genuinely getting exclusive access to something nobody else could have.

Sephora Beauty Insider (Sephora)


Sephora is lovingly considered a holy place for cosmetics fans, and the Beauty Insider the cherry on the cake.

How it Works Right Now

Sephora, a French multinational retailer of personal care and beauty products, has a loyalty program called Sephora’s Beauty Insider program. There are 3 membership tiers, 'Insider', 'VIB' and 'Rouge', all dependent on the amount of money a user spends per year at Sephora. Each tier offers some benefits ranging from discounts (10% for Insiders, versus 20% for Rouge-members) to access to subscription deliveries to auto-replenish their products to access to samples and exclusive events or first-access to products. 

How it Can Get Better

NFT access can upgrade the experience by unlocking experiences like make-up tutorials from celebrities, renowned MUAs (make-up artists) and beauty gurus. Beauty Insider NFTs can also be collectibles in the form of colours in a palette. Once an entire palette is ‘complete’, members can gain access to the ability to customise their own shades of certain makeup or a special hamper of make-up. Since these are extremely rare rewards from a huge brand (that is known for selling at high price points), the value is incredible for fans of not just Sephora, but also makeup and beauty.

Hilton Honors (Hilton)


One of the first loyalty programs one thinks of is Starbucks' Rewards program.

How it Works Right Now

Hilton Honors is a loyalty program for Hilton hotel guests, where members earn points for their stays. The membership itself offers benefits like booking rooms at lower rates, free wifi, earning points that can be used to get free nights and so on. There are four member tiers: member, silver, gold and diamond. While gold tier membership guarantees things like all-inclusive spa discounts, the diamond tier offers benefits like lounge access and elite status gifting. 

How it Can Get Better

Each Hilton can provide a certain tier of member with a unique NFT for each location, which frequent customers can use. Each collectible also functions as an entry pass or key that gives people access to parts of the hotel that others don’t have, like a private garden or a floor. They can also provide access to exclusive experiences in the cities each Hilton is in; for example, a member staying at a Hilton hotel in Las Vegas could get a collectible that also guaranteed them discounted seats or free seats to residencies or shows in the city. 

Our Conclusion?

Loyalty programs are not a new idea, but it’s fast becoming imperative that brands find a way to make their program enticing to customers (and therefore ensure their continuing patronage). So, using new technology to upgrade the idea of what brands and customers consider ‘exclusive’ can make all the difference. With The Blue Marble, you can connect your brand to customers much closely in this—and many more—ways with NFTs. Don’t worry about needing tech expertise or the impact on the environment; we’re backed by carbon-neutral blockchain, Stellar, and promise a user-friendly platform that doesn't need expertise or experience to run. Need to know more?

Chat with us today. 

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