SMITH'S TESTS AIR MILES FOR LOYALTY CARD PROGRAM

SALT LAKE CITY -- Following the lead of Ralphs, another Kroger division, Smith's Food & Drug here began testing airline miles as a tie-in offer with its loyalty card program this month.Smith's is testing a program from WebMiles Corp., Sandy, Utah, in 18 Las Vegas-area stores.WebMiles rewards shoppers with miles for using Smith's Fresh Values card. This test follows the successful test of the program

SALT LAKE CITY -- Following the lead of Ralphs, another Kroger division, Smith's Food & Drug here began testing airline miles as a tie-in offer with its loyalty card program this month.

Smith's is testing a program from WebMiles Corp., Sandy, Utah, in 18 Las Vegas-area stores.

WebMiles rewards shoppers with miles for using Smith's Fresh Values card. This test follows the successful test of the program at 28 San Diego County stores of Ralphs Grocery Co., Compton, Calif.

A Ralphs official would not comment on the chain's plans for the program.

"One of the benefits of being a division of Kroger is its best practices program and Ralphs' success with WebMiles was certainly part of our decision to test it," said Marsha Gilford, a spokeswoman for Smith's.

The program had been in place for only a few days when Gilford was interviewed by SN, so she had no results.

"WebMiles allows us to provide our customers with the maximum amount of flexibility when traveling since rewards may be redeemed on all airlines and flights, and the low threshold for redemption makes it easier for our customers to actually receive their reward, so they receive good value," said Jim Halsey, Smith's executive vice president.

Customers are being offered more ways to enroll in the program. Besides signing up on the WebMiles Web site, as in the Ralphs program, Smith's customers also can call a toll-free number, or fill out a card that they get in the stores.