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Loyalty & Rewards

Exploring the Future of Loyalty with Mastercard’s Jess Lee 

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Jess Lee

Vice President of Loyalty, Mastercard, Canada

Mastercard is transforming how brands think about loyalty by offering higher-value, personalized and passion-driven experiences tailored for Canadians. 

There’s no getting away from it: Canadians love loyalty programs. But despite the average Canadian consumer participating over 10 rewards programs, they’re increasingly looking beyond traditional “cashback and points” rewards.  

Today’s adventurous and entrepreneurial consumers are seeking out personalized, high-value interactions and experiences – and assurances that their data is safe.  

With over 1,100 loyalty programs, 1.5 trillion points managed globally, across 120+ countries, Mastercard is using its global scale and decades of experience to redefine loyalty.

We chatted with Jess Lee, Vice President of Loyalty at Mastercard Canada, to learn more about the company’s vision for a personalized, passion-driven loyalty experience that caters to new and diverse consumers.

Tell us what the future of loyalty looks like? 

Jess Lee: Today, convenience, utility, and personalization are shaping new standards across the industry. Brands are rethinking traditional loyalty benefits and leaning more on personalized interactions, customized benefits, and other experiential rewards. This approach helps build a real connection to the brand and strong, lasting relationships.

How is Mastercard driving innovation in this space?

JL: Our focus is on adapting to customer needs across various markets and industries — from crypto to travel and beyond. This involves a deep focus on AI, hyper-personalization, gamification, and emerging payment trends. Mastercard also prides itself on its responsible and transparent use of data, because we understand confidence in data protection earns loyalty.

How does Mastercard define loyalty? 

JL: We believe loyalty is an outcome and not a program. It takes more than points and rewards to build lasting loyalty – it’s about creating personal connections through compelling experiences. Mastercard understands this is an investment worth prioritizing.    

In today’s landscape, why is it so important?

JL: Most simply, loyalty does much more than rewarding individual transactions – it’s proven to build trust and connection. This is critical to turning customers into advocates who love and promote the brand, helping create valuable relationships that can last a lifetime.

Tell us about Mastercard’s approach. 

JL: Consumers are seeking greater meaning for experiences to bring value and meaning to their lives and build upon their passions, and they’re travelling for a purpose more than ever, whether that’s to watch live sports, concerts, or attend food events.

Mastercard works to drive value through various benefits, such as our Concierge service with Surprise & Delight in delivering a surprise during key cardholder moments. We worked with a customer that provided its cardholder with our concierge service to secure a restaurant reservation to announce her wedding engagement. We arranged for a complimentary dessert course as part of our surprise and delight. We help our customers to support their cardholders through the travel journey through our airport lounge access, flight delay pass, and fast track priority through dedicated airport security in 50+ airports around the world. 

How does Mastercard deliver on personalized experiences?

JL: We know that about 80 per cent of our customers want more personalized promotions. That’s why Mastercard’s loyalty solutions are more than one-size-fits-all – they’re tailored for Canadians, focused on what they value the most.

A great example is our Mastercard Offers program.  We create personalized loyalty offers that are highly relevant and unique. We ran a test vs. control campaign on a 10 per cent cash back offer, and results have shown that there was a 23 per cent increase in spend of test vs. control group.

Learn more about Mastercard’s innovative approach to loyalty.

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