Ford's premium brand is launching a loyalty program dubbed Lincoln Access Rewards, the brand announced on Thursday. The program allows Lincoln buyers and lessees to earn points redeemable for service and maintenance, vehicle purchases, and "world-class experiences."

Like most loyalty programs, the focus of Lincoln Access Rewards is to get customers to keep spending money at Lincoln's dealership network. Points are earned when customers spend money on purchases or services at dealerships, and can be redeemed for the same things.

Lincoln is even offering tiers⁠—Standard, Reserve, and Black Label⁠—through which customers can advance as they accrue more points. Customers can also earn extra points by booking services via the Lincoln Way app. 

The program's stand-out feature is the ability to convert points into "experiences," though exactly what that means is somewhat unclear. Lincoln touts its "hospitality collaborations" as the mechanisms behind this perk, so it stands to reason that customers can redeem points to use for booking hotels, restaurants, and perhaps even travel. Lincoln said it has full dealer participation in the program.

Earlier this year, Ford overhauled its existing Owner Advantage Rewards program, launching a replacement called FordPass Rewards. Lincoln's new system is similar in implementation to Ford's revamped program, but with added emphasis on the experiences available via its hospitality connections.

Brands are exploring incentive-based programs as alternatives to offering cash discounts to buyers who are upgrading from an older model. Car buyers are not expected to exhibit as much brand loyalty when autonomous driving becomes more prevalent, and that is prompting manufacturers to explore new ways of retaining customers. 

Consumers surveys have suggested that buyers may be on board with rewards-based programs structured like Lincoln's, which in many ways mirrors airline frequent flyer rewards. Buyers also want to be able to transfer personalized information between vehicles, which is something brands could also facilitate. 

Lincoln is offering welcome points to buyers of 2020 model-year vehicles to get its customers hooked straight away.