Are loyalty schemes worth their while?

Andy Webb

Do loyalty cards save you money or just make you spend more? We compare the popular schemes so you can make an informed decision

We’re all guilty of amassing a wealth of loyalty cards without much clue about their value. 

With so many different schemes and complicated points systems, it’s often a struggle to know whether swiping your loyalty card at the till is worth the effort. To help, here’s a breakdown of the high street’s main loyalty cards and what you get.

 

Sainsbury’s Nectar

Points per full pound spent: 1

Value of 1 point: 0.5p

Though you can collect Nectar points at a few retailers, it’s Sainsbury’s where most of us earn our points. Once you have 500 points (worth £2.50) in your account you can use them at the till to save on your shopping, or exchange them online. You’ll likely also be sent money off vouchers in the post.

 

Tesco Clubcard

Points per full pound spent: 1

Value of 1 point: 1p

Once you’ve earned at least 150 Clubcard points you will be sent a voucher—though these are only sent out four times a year. You can use these vouchers at the till, or “boost” them so they’re worth three times as much on things like magazine subscriptions and train tickets. You’ll need to go online to do this. Again, Tesco posts out money off coupons to members to help you save extra on your shopping.

 

Marks and Spencer M&S Sparks

Points per full pound spent: 10

Value of 1 point: 0

Sparks from Marks and Spencers is a different type of loyalty scheme. The points you make don’t earn you any cash. Instead they allow you early access to sales and special events. Alongside regular discounts you access through the M&S website, you’ll also be sent special 20% off codes and vouchers to use throughout the year.

 

Waitrose MyWaitrose

Points per full pound spent: 0

Value of 1 point: 0

Similar to M&S, Waitrose’s loyalty scheme doesn’t earn you cash. In fact there aren’t any points to collect at all. You can however take advantage of in-store discounts. If you spend £10 you can claim a free newspaper, and there’s 20% off fish on Fridays and steak on a Saturday. There’s also no minimum spend if you want a free tea or coffee—though you will need to bring a reusable coffee cup. Keep an eye on the letter box for more of those coveted money off coupons.

 

Morrisons Morrisons More

Points per full pound spent: 5

Value of 1 point: 0.2p

You need to spend a lot of money at Morrisons to claim a voucher, with £5 the minimum payout. This requires a huge 5,000 points, which you’d only get after spending £1,000. But if you’re a regular at this supermarket it’s still worth signing up.

 

Boots Advantage

Points per full pound spent: 4

Value of 1 point: 1p

One of the most generous reward schemes on the market, you can start spending your Boots Advantage points as soon as you earn them—but you need to cover the entire total cost of your chosen purchase. Watch out for popular bonus points events, usually adding 1,000 points, worth £10, to your account if you spend around £50.