'Chicago Trib' Launches Loyalty Program

By: Jennifer Saba The Chicago Tribune is launching a subscriber-advantage program starting this Sunday Jan. 16. Like credit-card loyalty programs, subscribers of the paper will receive special benefits like a 15% discount on a United Airlines ticket. The company made the announcement in a full-page ad that ran in Sunday's edition.

The Tribune, which is offering the incentive at no charge to those who get the paper, is also making slight adjustments to its online version. Currently, articles are available for free, as long as the user is registered (registration is not required to view classifieds and online shopping), although archived articles are paid. Starting Sunday, those who belong to the advantage program can access past stories for free as well as the past week's electronic version of the paper.

Those who don't belong to the program can view past articles and electronic papers for $29.95 a year. According to Patty Wetli, a spokeswoman for the Tribune, the paper averages 42 million page views per month with 1.8 million unique visitors per month.

Other perks include: access to an information-desk help line, which members can call for research assistance, and access to an "entertainment expert" who can tell a subscriber, for example, about the most romantic spots in the Windy City.


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