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Ace bolsters loyalty program with Visa

Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware Corp. is bringing its 19-million strong Ace Rewards customer loyalty program to a new level, with the help of Visa.

The new Ace Rewards Visa has been launched nationwide -- marking the first time for a hardware co-op to pair up with one of the big payment networks with a rewards card. Issued by U.S. Bank, the Visa card is available in a consumer version, plus a version designed for small business owners.

“The launch of our Ace Rewards Visa is a strategic tool to increase sales and customer loyalty,” said John Surane, VP marketing, merchandising and paint for Ace. “It is a competitive differentiator and will attract new customers to our brand, as well as provide yet another benefit to current Ace Rewards members.”

The card is offered in conjunction with the existing Ace Rewards customer loyalty program, which currently is available in 2,600 stores across the country and includes 19 million members. Those members may use the card as a way to earn more rewards -- both for purchases at Ace Hardware stores and anywhere else Visa is accepted, according to Ace.

Neither card has an annual fee, and cardholders may earn up to 5% in reward dollars to redeem at Ace Hardware stores, 2% on gas and grocery purchases and 1% anywhere Visa is accepted. In addition, cardholders receive a $10 bonus coupon upon signing up for the card.

The version of the card designed for small business owners allows them to obtain additional cards with set spending caps for employees, and then receive detailed card statements to track employee spending.

“While the consumer card helps our customers take care of their homes and get on to the things that matter most in their lives, the small business card provides the type of features that these businesses need to help manage their business, while also stimulating Ace loyalty,” Surane said. “The Ace Rewards Visa is another way that we can exceed our customers’ service expectations, while simultaneously promoting the strength of our brand.”