"A loyalty card is a piece of plastic"
Tim Manners keeps getting better and better. In this essay: Fast Company | Where's the Loyalty? he rips into those that have confused a program (loyalty cards, points, systems, scanners, etc.) with something that actually works.
Just because it's the bureaucratic thing to do doesn't mean it's going to work. In fact, the opposite is usually true.
All real loyalty programs start in the same place: creating an experience or a product that is its own reward. We're loyal because it makes us feel good, not because we're being bribed.