• Pizza Hut to launch new 'VIP' customer loyalty promo

NEW YORK -- Pizza Hut is expected to debut a consumer loyalty program this week called "VIP," which stands for Very Important Pizza.

According to AdWeek magazine, in the VIP program, customers of corporate stores in 23 markets pay will $14.99 to join for a year, and immediately receive a large pizza in return. After that, for every two carryout or home delivery orders of at least $10, customers receive a free large pizza (up to two free pizzas per month). Every month participants will get an order of free breadsticks or baked cinnamon sticks just for participating. Free food is redeemed via coupons mailed automatically to qualifying VIP members.

In late September, the chain began offering a stored-value magnetic-stripe loyalty card sold in increments of $5 (up to $100). (See related story Pizza Hut intros stored-value holiday gift cards.) Called the Pizza Hut Card, the piece is being marketed as a great gift idea. Should the program prove successful, franchisees will offer it next year.

AdWeek also claims the chain will test a promotion in Minneapolis in November wherein customers receive a free DVD with the purchase of a large pizza. Pizza Hut marketing chief Tom James, however, would not confirm the test.

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