Groupon’s “VIP” Loyalty Program Hits Minneapolis

Select Groupon subscribers in the Twin Cities were invited to try a free three-month subscription to a new program that the company is testing and eventually plans to roll out nationwide.

Twin Cities bargain hunters will soon have another way to participate in the daily deal craze.

Select local residents who subscribe to Groupon's daily deal e-mails on Tuesday received a special e-mail inviting them to try a complimentary three-month membership to Groupon's latest offering-Groupon VIP, a subscription-based loyalty program.

Chicago-based Groupon began testing VIP early last month in Charlotte, North Carolina; Indianapolis; Miami; Milwaukee; Tampa, Florida; and Hampton Roads, Virginia. On Tuesday, the test expanded to Minneapolis, along with Chicago; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; and Orange County, California. The program provides members:

  • Early access to deals, beginning at noon the day before they're scheduled to run.
  • Access to closed and sold-out deals that are no longer available to regular Groupon subscribers.
  • Relief for those who have purchased a deal that's about to expire, moved to a new neighborhood, or are for any reason unable to use their voucher; the return policy allows for one-click deal exchanges in the form of credits that can be used toward the purchase of additional Groupon vouchers.

Groupon plans to eventually roll out the new program nationwide, but the company hasn't indicated how soon that will occur.

“We're continually innovating to improve the Groupon customer experience,” Jeff Holden, senior vice president of product development at Groupon, said in a statement. “In the case of VIP, we asked our customers 'If you could wave a magic wand and change Groupon in any way, what would you ask for?' The three main features of VIP were at the top of the list: early access to deals, ability to purchase closed or sold out deals, and anytime-refunds.”

Membership in the program costs $29.99 after a free, three-month trial period. For more information, or to request an invitation to try it out, click here.

Groupon launched in November 2008 in Chicago and now offers daily deals in 48 countries around the world. Other daily deal sites available in the Twin Cities are Living Social, Crowd Cut, and DealStork.