Your airline and coffee shop chain have loyalty programs. Now so does Verizon

Verizon(s vz) already has the most loyal customers in the mobile industry, but it aims to make its service a bit stickier to its customers. On Thursday, Verizon is launching a rewards program, which will give customers points for paying their bills on time or using its online customer service portal.
It’s not like an airline frequent flier program, however: You can’t, for example, cash in reward points for free phones or mobile service. Instead Verizon will let customers trade in their points for discounts on name-brand merchandise and offers on travel, at local restaurants and other shopping activities. To participate in the programs local offer program, though, customers will need to register for the carrier’s location-tracking daily deal program, Verizon Selects.
Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis said that the program, called Smart Rewards, will offer some Verizon-specific deals. For instance, until the end of August Verizon Rewards will “auction” off a few LTE tablets each day as well tickets to upcoming NFL games (Verizon has a partnership with the NFL). Customers can use rewards points to bid in those auctions, she said.
While these kind of loyalty programs are usually designed to invest customers into a particular service provider, Verizon has the lowest churn rate in the mobile industry, which means a much smaller percentage of its customers cancel service and depart every month. Lewis said the program is more about customer engagement than it is about creating a true loyalty program.
Verizon, however, does receive an added benefit from enticing customers into using its online portal and signing up for paperless billing, both of which save Verizon customer service costs.
The program will be available to all Verizon consumer postpaid customers. When the service launches, Verizon will seed the account of every customers who registers with 10,000 points.