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Using Branded Value to Drive Engagement and Incentivize Behavior: Blackhawk Network Partners with Upside, a New Business Travel Solution
More than 50 gift card brands now available as incentives to encourage business travelers to make lower cost and flexible travel choices

PLEASANTON, Calif., Jan. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackhawk Network—a pioneer of gift cards, payments tools and rewards delivered via a robust and convenient network—today announced it has partnered with Upside, a business travel site. Upside—the latest travel innovation from Priceline Founder, Jay Walker—is a new online travel website that can save companies on business travel expenses while also giving the traveler free gift cards. Through the partnership, more than 50 of Blackhawk's vast network of gift card providers are currently available as rewards for travelers willing to make lower cost and flexible travel choices.

"In today's world of the connected consumer, brands are looking to make more meaningful connections and engage their customers. One example of how they are doing this is through forms of branded value—like gift cards, which have an expanded utility beyond gifting occasions," said Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk Network. "Likewise, businesses are also looking at how to get more engagement out of their employees. By using branded value as an incentive mechanism, Upside's concept is a great example of how businesses can build engagement and change behavior with their company travelers."

Upside is able to do this by getting a combination of discounts with a range of hotel and airline providers, and bundling air and hotel selections, while also leveraging the traveler's flexibility to achieve lower prices. The site allows all parties to benefit by saving employers money and awarding employees to make better travel choices. 

"Not only are we offering simple ways to save money on business trips by providing value to both the traveler in the form of gift cards and to the employer in the form of lower travel costs, we're building an incentive system right into the travel selection process," said Jay Walker, CEO and founder of Upside. "By providing free gift cards, we are able to incent people to behave differently by rewarding them even before they travel."

As the traveler goes through the travel purchasing process, they can earn rewards in the form of gift card value. Once the traveler makes their selection and purchase, their gift card rewards are loaded in their Upside account. 

The traveler can convert their gift card rewards balance into an available gift card for the merchant, and for a denomination that their points can support. A variety of gift cards from Blackhawk's vast network of card partners are available, including:

  • Foot Locker, Inc. brands (Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker)
  • The Home Depot
  • Lowe's
  • Nike
  • Target

For more information, visit

About Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAWK) is a leading global stored value and payments provider, which supports the program management and distribution of gift cards, telecom products, and financial services products in retail, digital and incentive channels. Blackhawk's digital platform enables the management of stored value products, promotions, and loyalty programs across a network of digital distribution partners including retailers, financial service providers, and mobile wallets. For more information, please visit or product websites Cardpool, Gift Card Lab, Gift Card Mall, and OmniCard.

About ( is led by Priceline Founder Jay Walker and a team of former senior Priceline executives including former Priceline CTO Scott Case; former President Priceline Europe, Tim Brier; and former Priceline Chief Marketing Officer, Paul Breitenbach. is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with facilities in Stamford, CT and New York, NY. For more information, visit: or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Courtney Brunkow


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SOURCE Blackhawk Network