In the United Arab Emirates banking industry, launching a successful rewards program is one of the most adopted marketing strategies. These programs often motivate customers to use banks’ debit and credit cards or other banking services available.
Below are the top 5 banking rewards programs in the UAE rated based on the below criterion:
Ease of joining the program
Variety in points earning methods
Touchpoints Rewards Program from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)
Ease of joining the program: 5 stars
Customers enroll in this program automatically once they issue any of the debit or credit cards provided by the bank.
Variety in points earning methods: 4 stars
There are several options for earning points in the TouchPoints program, where points can be earned on purchases using a credit card or by using an ATM card and according to the type of card. There are points gained on personal and real estate loans in addition to points gained on the use of banking products. For example, 15 points are earned for every 1000 dirhams In the case of opening a current account or saving with a balance between 10,000 and 25,000 dirhams, while the member gets 20 points for every 1,000 dirhams if the account balance ranges between 25,000 and 100,000 dirhams and gets 25 points per 1,000 if balance is more than 100,000 dirhams. Excellency current and savings accounts get 25 points for every 1,000 dirhams regardless of the balance.
There are also welcome points when using electronic services and additional points when customers keep using them.
Learn about the Touchpoints rewards program from ADCB
Redemption Options: 4 stars
There are several options to redeem points:
Redeem for vouchers through the app or online rewards store
Instant Redemption at point of sales at hundreds of merchants across the UAE: Simply present the ADCB TouchPoints card and pay with the points at the terminal.
Donate points to charities of choice
Transfer points to other members or other reward programs such as Emirates Skywards and Etihad Guest Miles
Direct E-commerce redemption on cleartrip.com: pay using ADCB Touchpoints directly at checkout on cleartrip.com
Pay bills directly with your points though the ADCB online banking platform
Total: 13/15 stars
Emirates NBD Rewards Program
What distinguishes Emirates NBD is that they offer a number of reward programs catered to customers with different lifestyles and interests. These programs include:
Rewards programs for travel and luxury lovers: Skywards from Emirates Airlines, Dnata, and Marriott Bonvoy
Reward Programs Manchester United Fans: Red Points
Comprehensive rewards program for credit card holders: Plus Points
Ease of joining the program: 4 stars
Customers are automatically enrolled once they issue the card designated to the desired Rewards program.
Variety in point-earning methods: 3 stars
Customers earn points or miles on local and international purchases only, knowing that these points vary depending on the type of card used and the loyalty program it belongs to. There are no extra points earned on other banking services.
Redemption Options: 3 stars
Customers can redeem points differently in each program, for example, miles earned from Skywards can only be redeemed for tickets and travel reservations at Emirates Airlines. As for Red Points members, their options are limited to the list of sports products available on the loyalty program website.
Plus and can redeem points directly at retail stores by paying with the available points balance on selected merchants or online with SkyShopper.com. View a list of Plus points partners here. On the other hand, Dnata points holder can spend their points only on selected merchants (see the list here) and by presenting the card at the point of sale with the mentioned partners. Online redemption is not possible for Dnata points.
Bonvoy Marriott members have more options to redeem their points as the program itself is diverse. Bonvoy points can be redeemed for Marriott hotel stays, purchasing flights, gift cards, and even booking curated experiences. More on Marriott Bonvoy program here.
Total: 10/15 stars
Rewards Program from United Arab Bank (UAB)
Ease of joining the program: 2 stars
Customers must register for the program through the website or by visiting their branches directly.
Variety in points earning options: 4 stars
Customers can earn points on most banking services; salary transfers, for example earn one point for every AED 200 transferred. Similarly, customers earn points for deposit transactions of AED 10,000 or more and local or international purchases completed on debit and credit cards. However, there are no welcome points and no points earned on loans or e-banking transactions.
Learn more about the UAB Rewards points
Redeem Options: 3 stars
Like most rewards programs in UAE’s banks, redeeming options at the United Arab Bank focus on booking tickets, hotel rooms, and car rentals on a specific portal dedicated for the reward redemptions. Customers can also redeem points for purchases on the rewards program store knowing that the store offers a limited set of products.
Total: 9/15 stars
Rewards Program from the Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD)
Ease of joining the program: 3 stars
Customers automatically join the program once they open an account and issue a card, however, the rewards account must be activated before customers can collect and redeem points through online banking or the mobile application.
Variety in point-earning methods: 4 stars
Customers earn points on most transactions and banking services as they get welcome points as soon as they open an account. They earn 3,500 points when they open a current account or personal savings account and 5,000 points when they open an Elite account regardless of its type; current or savings.
In addition to that, customers earn 20,000 points when they reach the required minimum spending amount of AED 500 on the Visa Platinum, Visa Internet, MasterCard Titanium and Business Visa cards. Meanwhile, Visa Signature cardholders get 30,000 points upon reaching the minimum spend of AED 2,500, while MasterCard World cardholders receive 40,000 points and Visa Infinite holders receive 60,000 points when they reach the minimum spending amount of 5,000 AED.
Customers can also earn points for loans and the use of e-banking channels, that in addition to local and international purchases made on any of the cards.
Learn more about the CBD rewards program
Redemption options: 4 stars
CBD Rewards can be redeemed through the CBD online rewards portal which includes the purchase of flights, vouchers from major retail stores such as Zara, Tommy Hilfiger and Emaar, in addition to donation.
CBD REwards also allows for a cashback redemption on any purchase inside or outside the UAE. This is done by specifying the balance and the transaction beforehand using the CBD phone app and consequently, the points balance will be deducted and applied as cashback to this transaction.
Total: 11/15 stars
Salaam Rewards Program from Mashreq Bank
Ease of joining the program: 4 stars
Customers do not need to register to the program but need to activate their Mashreq Online account in order to redeem points.
Points earn mechanism: 4 stars
Mashreq Salaam has a wide variety of earning options as points can be earned on both credit and debit cards, with bonus points for several banking activities as well. Customers earn welcome bonus points when they open an account, with the number of points earned varies depending on the account type and available balance. They can also earn points for using some of the banking services such as car loans; where they earn 450 points for AED 1000 and 125 points for every AED 1000 from a housing loan. Customers also earn 500 points for every deposit of AED 100,000. Local and international transactions on the cards are also the main channels to earn Salaam points. Many merchants offer also a multiplier of Salaam points at spending such as 2X and 5X points when spending at a certain time (during offers) or with specific minimums (e.g. AED 1000 and above).
Redeeming points: 4 stars
Mashreq Bank has many redemption options especially through their instant redemption at points of sale across over 2,200 of stores in the UAE. Mashreq bank was one of the first to introduce such a service, applicable by simply presenting the Mashreq card at the payment terminal and approving the transaction.
Also, online redemption is available through Salaam online platform salaam.erewardsredeem.com to allow members to book flights and hotels, buy merchandise and pay directly online with their Salaam points.
Total: 12/15 stars
Although all of the top reward programs for UAE banks are relatively similar, based on these categories above ADCB comes on top as the best program with the most diverse earning and redemption options. This article will be regularly updated as the programs advance their offerings.