|This is Going Away. So are Your Loyalty Points.|
One of the advantages the Red Bulls touted when they introduced the RFID membership cards in 2010 was the ability for season ticket holders to accumulate loyalty points throughout the season, which they would be able to spend on various experiences, merchandise, tickets and other extras. In its first year, the program was, to put it mildly, a disappointment. The only thing loyalty points got you in year one of Red Bull Arena was the chance to be entered into a raffle for prizes at season's end. The winners - presumably - were notified and sent their goodies. The rest of us were left out in the cold, with nothing to show for "being loyal" other than the opportunity to carry points over to the 2011 season.
The revamped 2011 Loyalty Program at least gave members the ability to purchase extra tickets to selected matches. While it was not a terrifically useful incentive (unused tickets have been plentiful so a credit to the Bullshop or food/drink vouchers would have been more welcome), at least it was something. The raffle remained in place as well for 2011 and will actually be taking place on October 3.
Now, with the beginning of 2012 season ticket renewals, RBNY seems to be scrapping the loyalty points program entirely. According to the fine print in the brochure sent out to members:
All 2011 membership cards and loyalty points will not be valid after the end of the season. According to the 2011 Loyalty Program rules you will have the opportunity to redeem all of your points accumulated during this season. For details call 1.877.RBSOCCER.
Quite what this means is anyone's guess. With only four home fixtures remaining (and one of them the rescheduled sold out LA Galaxy game), it appears that RBNY members' only option would be to cash in loyalty credits for additional tickets to the matches against RSL (a weekday), Portland or Philadelphia. With the Red Bulls falling out of the playoff picture, having additional tickets to these games isn't much of a prize. There is the possibility, of course, that members will have the opportunity to use loyalty credits in some other way (a second trucker hat?), but the club has not provided any details that would lead one to think so.
For fans like me who have accumulated 2,500+ loyalty points since Red Bull Arena opened last season, it's a bit discouraging to see them all flushed down the drain with the launch of the 2012 ticket program. Chris Heck blindsided many season ticket holders when he introduced astronomical price increases in certain midfield sections. It appears that he's also decided to take a benefit away from the club's most loyal fans with little to no warning.