RetailWire wrote about Safeway Canada's Safeway Club Elite Customer program and we see that as a great illustration of one of the fundamental tenets of loyalty: that not all customers are created equal.
There are way too many programs out in the market that fail to differentiate among customers based on value, whether realized or potential. These one-dimensional loyalty propositions ultimately become just another form of mass-discounting or, just as bad, like running an ad.
Inevitably, mass market approaches lump too many customers together for the same message or offer. This leads to unnecessary discounting, less-relevant messaging and sometimes even risks offending high value customers by treating them just like everybody else. (Reminds me of the famous quote: "Always remember, you're unique. Just like everybody else.")
In regard to implementing tiered loyalty programs, Safeway is on the right track, and a leading one for a grocer, in implementing a tier to its loyalty program.