Swarm launches Perks so you can get real-world rewards

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For the last year, the team at Foursquare has been working relentlessly to turn Swarm into something fun. In many respects, checking in on Swarm is playing a game, and now the company is ready to reward you for your gameplay.

Today the company launched Swarm Perks and Swarm Challenges, both of which offer real-world rewards to users.

Let’s start with Perks.

Swarm Perks is a discount program that hooks in with existing discount networks to add rewards to your check-ins,from over 60 national chains.

When a user goes to Swarm to check in to a location, all the places that are currently running a discount will appear with a money bag icon next to the name. After selecting this location to check in, they’ll immediately be presented with a discount and a bar code that can be used at POS to redeem.

For example, Best Buy might be running a 20 percent discount on kitchen appliances over $100.

It’s worth noting that Swarm Perks are not based on your actual game play. For instance, being on the top of the leaderboard or being the mayor of various places doesn’t make a difference in your Swarm Perks — they are open to all Swarm users.

The other half of Swarm Perks is called Challenges.

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Swarm Challenges overs all users the chance to enter into a sweepstakes for an even bigger reward. Each week, Swarm will introduce a new challenge — this week, it’s two check-ins at outdoor locations — with a special prize.

These prizes include a $10,000 dream trip anywhere in the world, a cruise to Alaska, a stay at a destination spa, a shopping spree, concert tickets, a Canon SLR and more.

Since Foursquare’s inception, real-world rewards have always made sense. Though folks like to have a digital diary of their comings and goings, as well as checking in on their friends’ locations, there is nothing that compares to a real, physical prize.

When Foursquare split into Foursquare and Swarm, it felt like the company might have lost sight of that vision. Swarm worked like a social utility, telling you where your friends were, without any palpable fun built into the process.

But over the last year, Swarm has worked hard to add back mayorships, a coin leaderboard, and a sticker book, adding some delight to the app. Real-world rewards, in the form of Perks and Challenges, only continue that thread of making Swarm fun.

Check-ins per user are up 3x from January 2015.

You can check out Swarm for yourself right here.