RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In a recent survey conducted by Affinion Loyalty Group, a panel of rewards program members and respondents identified cash and retail store gift cards as their two favorite redemption items. When asked what they would like to redeem their points for in the future, the responses remained virtually the same. However, inserting a hypothetical variable shifted the paradigm significantly: a point of sale redemption option would allow consumers to use points or miles to pay for anything anywhere, just like dollars. This variable shifts the perceptions that consumers carry regarding rewards programs. Prior to its introduction, only about a quarter of consumers identified the redemption values of points programs as strictly "budget help." After the introduction of a point of sale option, however, the idea of points as "budget help" becomes much more pervasive, and the idea of points as "play money" is identified by survey participants far less often. A staggering 89 percent of members indicated that they would be interested in point of sale redemption, with 47 percent highly likely to redeem points at the point of sale. When respondents were asked what they would redeem for at the point of sale, groceries and everyday items were ranked the two most popular categories; cash redemptions become much less relevant in a point of sale model. "For more than 30 years, ALG has seen points redemption lead to an increase in earnings per account, as customer loyalty and usage increases after redemption," said Mike McDonnell, Vice President of Product Management and Client Solutions at ALG. "Our research indicates the need for an easy to use, omni-channel approach to points redemption, with clear, and simple to understand communication around the program." The survey was conducted by Affinion Loyalty Group, and includes 200 rewards programs participants.