Almost all online bingo sites have some kind of a rewards scheme for their loyal players, but in practice these vary widely from brilliant to quite frankly rubbish. There are several different forms such a scheme can take:
Loyalty points schemes
- Loyalty points are typically given out when you play with real cash (not bonus) and can be redeemed for bingo or slots bonus.
- Loyalty points may also be given out as prizes in chat games and promotions (e.g. refer a friend) or as prizes in special bingo games and at some sites (e.g. 15 Network) this is the only way to get them.
- Loyalty points awarded as prizes in chat games are usually subject to a daily or weekly limit and may be restricted to players who have made a recent deposit.
- Many sites (including Cozy and 15 Network bingo sites) remove all loyalty points (as well as unused bonuses) if you request a withdrawal.
- Loyalty points are frequently subject to some kind of time limit – e.g at Microgaming and Virtue Fusion bingo sites they expire if not redeemed within 90 days and at Costa Bingo and sister sites, Diamonds expire if you go more than 60 days without collecting any.
Tiered loyalty/VIP schemes
When a tiered scheme is in place, players can progress through the levels to receive bigger benefits such as bigger redeposit bonuses, free slots spins, access to VIP only free bingo rooms, and/or a better collection or redemption rate for loyalty points. Different bingo sites lay down different rules as to how players can advance through the tiers and here are some of the criteria that are currently used:
- Lifetime loyalty points collected, with or without a minimum amount to collect per month to remain in the tier
- Lifetime deposits
- Last month’s deposits
- Last three months’ deposits and spend
- Lifetime spend
- By invitation only
Bespoke VIP schemes
In these invitation only schemes, the player is assigned a personal VIP account manager who will decide what benefits to offer them. This is how players get their hands on the really good stuff such as VIP party invitations (as seen at Foxy Bingo), gifts of champagne and flowers and VIP days out.
Multiple loyalty/VIP schemes – why have them?
It is very common for bingo sites to have more than one loyalty/VIP scheme in force and there are two main reasons for doing this:
- One scheme is open to everyone and the other is either tiered, or by invitation only; this enables the better rewards to be given to selected players only.
- One scheme is a network scheme and the other is exclusive to one site (or group of sites); again this enables the bingo site to focus on its most cherished players via the exclusive scheme.
Multiple schemes – real life examples
Costa Bingo and sister sites
Points – each site in the group has its own loyalty points scheme with different rules for how to collect the points, which can only be redeemed at the site they were collected at, at the rate of £1 bingo bonus for 1000 points. For instance:
- Sing Bingo; Sing Points can be collected by buying bingo cards, winning chat games or referring a friend.
- Costa Bingo: Costa Points can be collected by buying 10p or 25p bingo cards, winning chat games or referring a friend
- Fancy Bingo: Fancy Points can be collected by winning chat games or referring a friend only
- Season Bingo: Season Points can be collected as prizes in games, winning chat games or referring a friend
Diamond Club – all the sites in the group share this tiered VIP scheme. Diamonds resemble in-game currency more than they do loyalty points. They are earned through play – 1 per £1 cash played on any game at any of their sites – and when a player has signed up at multiple sites in the group using the same email address, all those accounts are linked together for the purposes of the Diamond Club so that Diamonds earned at one site can be spent at any other site in the group where the player has a funded account. Diamonds can be spent on bonuses, deposit bonus codes, free spins, or cards to prize bingo games. When players move up to the higher VIP levels they can also spend Diamonds on real cash and/or tangible items such as iPads. VIP level is based on lifetime deposits so once a VIP, always a VIP. Reaching the higher levels also raises the weekly limits on Diamond purchases and decreases the price of some items such as free spins.
Happy Points is a tiered loyalty points scheme for all players (similar to those found at other Virtue Fusion bingo sites). Happy Points are earned via cash play with different rates on bingo, slots and other games and can be redeemed for a bonus of the player’s choice; every 100 points = 10p bonus. This is a pretty good redemption rate as even in the lowest tier, £1 of cash bingo play awards 7.5 points. The tiers are based on monthly loyalty points and to move up from the bottom tier players need 3000 points a month; the second to top tier requires 25,000 points a month and the top tier is invitation only.
Gala Bingo Cashback enables all Gala Bingo players to earn bingo bonus on a vast selection of online purchases; an integration between the two schemes is reportedly in the pipeline and this will enable Happy Points to be converted into shopping vouchers.
Gala Bingo VIP is an invitation only tiered VIP scheme with 4 tiers and a huge array of VIP benefits and VIP only promotions. Even the lower tiers get frequent redeposit bonuses and access to exclusive bingo rooms, prize bingo games and prize draws and all but the bottom tier get personal account managers. They will try to match any VIP offers made by other bingo sites on an individual basis. There’s also exclusive slots for VIPs and of course, invitations to special events hosted by the Gala Bingo VIP Team.
This VIP scheme is unusual in that lots of specific information about VIP benefits is accessible to non VIPs. Most bingo sites keep it vague because their VIP rewards are largely discretionary. A VIP scheme as exceptionally good as Gala’s can advertise the benefits because they really do give all that stuff out to all their VIPs (of course this doesn’t stop them from also offering discretionary rewards to selected players).
Integrated VIP/loyalty schemes – a good idea or not?
At many bingo sites the VIP scheme is integrated with the loyalty scheme – at Ladbrokes Bingo, for instance, the On The House Rewards scheme has 6 tiers starting with the Garden for newbies and casual players, and the 3 highest are basically VIPs, with a dedicated VIP customer service team and enhanced offers via email listed as benefits. With this sort of arrangement, there are clear criteria for achieving the VIP tiers; under the Ladbrokes scheme, to reach the lowest of the three VIP levels a player needs to be playing £300 on bingo, £3000 on mini games or some combination thereof each and every month and to reach the top Penthouse VIP level it would have to be ten times that.
Whether it is a good thing for there to be such clear criteria – or indeed for the schemes to be integrated like this – is debatable. On the plus side, having a single scheme avoids any possibility of confusion as players know exactly what they have to do to qualify and only have one set of points or rewards to keep track of. On the minus side, one very important aspect of being a VIP is the personal relationship between the player and the VIP account manager and with an arrangement like this where the player would automatically drop out of the VIP tier if they spent slightly under the specified amount one month (perhaps because they were ill or on holiday) that relationship is not going to be worth as much as it would be at a site where the VIP can simply tell their account manager that they will be away and know that the manager has the discretion to take care of it. Another minus point is that when players know exactly what they have to do to join the VIP scheme, they also know what existing VIPs had to do to join the scheme – and the existing VIPs may prefer a bit more privacy.
Loyalty schemes – a network overview
So what can players expect from the various bingo platforms and networks?
Virtue Fusion/Playtech have a tiered network loyalty points scheme based on players collecting 10 points for each £1 played on bingo, but most sites on the network customise it to at least some degree so the benefits enjoyed at higher levels, and whether those higher levels are reached by amassing a certain number of points or are by invitation only, vary from site to site. One point to note about this scheme is that loyalty points have to be redeemed within 90 days or they expire.
At Microgaming bingo sites a basic network loyalty points based scheme comes as part of the platform, but each site adds its own rules regarding VIP tiers and benefits. The basic scheme awards 1 point awarded for each £10 of real money played (and at some sites only slots play counts). 1000 points can be redeemed for £10 bonus but this is a casino bonus (not a bingo bonus) and they expire if not redeemed within 90 days. Chat game wins at Microgaming sites are rewarded with bingo bonus (BBz) rather than with loyalty points.
At Cozy bingo sites on the Live Bingo Network and Best Bingo Network players earn one loyalty point for each £1 played on bingo and for each £10 played on slots. Each point is worth 1p bonus and up to 2500 per week can be redeemed for casino bonus but only if you have made a deposit that week. Collect 1000, 2500 and 5000 points to move up the tiers, but the only benefit of doing so is a bigger redeposit bonus. At Game Village/Lucky Duck Network loyalty points can only be redeemed against tickets to monthly prize draws (1000 points per entry), and there is also a scheme whereby a player can become a homeowner by making three initial deposits then depositing at least once every 30 days; many of their promotions are open to homeowners only.
The Dragonfish network loyalty plan is based on the previous month’s deposits only and offers modest benefits starting with a deposit of just £5. These are basically a few free spins, a bit of bonus back on any losses and a few free tickets to the £10K game. Higher levels get more of each of these and entry to more free bingo rooms, although all free bingo at Dragonfish requires a deposit to have been made in the last 7 days. The network also rather confusingly has a completely separate loyalty points scheme which awards one point for each 25p purchase of bingo cards and one point for each £2 played on slots; 1000 points can be redeemed for £1 bingo bonus. Some Dragonfish network sites have what looks like their own plan but in most cases it is just a re-skinned version of the network plan. One notable exception is 8 Ball‘s xCite loyalty scheme which enhances the network plan with additional benefits such as login bonuses and a better rate of loyalty points for higher levels and adds a separate invitation only tiered VIP scheme one of the benefits of which is reduced wagering requirements for VIPs.
Gossip Bingo and sister sites (powered by Dragonfish but on their own network) offer a 5 level tiered loyalty/VIP scheme, the top 3 levels of which are classified as VIP; £500 lifetime deposits is the requirement to reach the lowest VIP level. The main benefit described on site is a higher ceiling on the 5% monthly bonus back on losses but other bespoke offers are sent via text and email. There’s also a separate scheme for collecting loyalty points called coins via cash play, chat games and at some sites as a login bonus.
The Cashcade sites including Foxy Bingo have a 3 tier invitation only VIP scheme. VIP event trips are awarded as prizes in VIP only promotions and there is also an annual VIP party. Separately, Bingo Points are earned through cash bingo play, slots play and are given as chat game prizes. 1000 points = £1 bingo bonus.
The Joy Of Bingo sites which include 888Ladies and Wink Bingo have the shared Joy Gem VIP Club. It has 3 invitation only levels, the lowest of which requires the player to deposit and play £2000+ on bingo or slots over a rolling 3 month period in order to qualify. The top level requires £5000+ to be deposited and played in the same time span. Although one of the key VIP benefits is listed as weekly cashback, it turns out this is only for players who registered prior to October 2012 which is rather a long time ago for them still to be advertising it. Another benefit is access to special VIP games hosted on a different site each day. There’s also a separate network loyalty points scheme – one points is awarded per 10p spend on bingo cards and 1000 points = £1 bingo bonus.
Jumpman powered 15 Network bingo sites award loyalty points which can be redeemed at the rate of 1000 for £1 bingo bonus, and these are only given out for winning chat games and promotions such as referring a friend. They also have a VIP scheme but give no details at all on how to progress up through the levels. Although there is a free bingo room for VIPs, the full house prize is only £2.50 and there is a still a requirement to have made a recent deposit. Apart from an enhanced redeposit bonus the main benefit of reaching the top level used to be that those players could withdraw (after meeting a wagering requirement) without losing all their bonus and loyalty points but after the return of traditional wagering requirements it is not clear whether this is still the case. Wheel of Slots bingo sites do not give any details of any VIP or loyalty schemes.
Gamesys bingo sites have a loyalty point scheme that awards points on cash play; 1 point for each £5 played on bingo and each £20 played on slots. Each point is worth 1p cash and to avoid expiry players have to earn at least one point every 90 days.
At Stride Gaming/Daub Alderney bingo sites such as Kitty Bingo, loyalty points are awarded for cash play – 10 for £1 played on bingo, 1 for £1 played on anything else. It is a 6 tier scheme but the lowest tier is for players who have never made a deposit. No information is given on how to progress through the levels. The higher levels get a one-off upgrade bonus and a higher rate of weekly cashback. Higher levels also get a few daily free spins and daily free cards and access to more free bingo rooms, but in both cases a recent deposit is required. A similar arrangement is in force at Stride Gaming/ Leapfrog sites such as King Jackpot but there the points are called BBs.
The two B-Live bingo sites each have their own loyalty scheme and both are fantastically complicated. The Bingocams scheme has 24 levels in all, with points awarded not for ticket purchases but for line, full house and jackpot wins meaning that the highest level VIPs are not necessarily the biggest spenders. The top 5 levels are the VIP levels and it appears that no-one has yet amassed sufficient points (100,000+) to climb right to the top. The Bright Bingo scheme boasts a staggering 90 levels (grouped into 10 tiers), with XP points awarded for cash spend on bingo. Gold Coins are awarded on level up and these can be redeemed for bonuses or tangible prizes.
Relax Gaming sites such as Bingo.com feature a bingo loyalty meter which can be filled by playing bingo and side games (and it is planned for it also to be filled via chat game wins). When a players goes up a level they get a free spin on the Loyalty Wheel; prizes include free spins and bonuses.
Bede Gaming sites such as Health Bingo do not appear to have any kind of a network loyalty or VIP plan
White Hat Gaming sites such as Mainstage Bingo do not appear to have any kind of network loyalty or VIP plan
Tombola do not have a loyalty scheme as such but instead have the Playmates scheme which rewards players for referring their friends; this pays out bonuses whenever the friends win.