There may not be many rewards for loyalty when it comes to financial services, but there are some benefits to sticking with your supermarket.
The best supermarket loyalty cards “can make a significant difference to your weekly shop”, said The Money Edit. This could be particularly helpful “with food prices soaring and household budgets increasingly squeezed by astronomical rises in energy bills and fuel prices”.
Loyalty schemes such as Sainsbury’s Nectar or Tesco Clubcard reward regular shoppers with discounts and special offers.
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But reward schemes “vary wildly in generosity and change frequently”, warned This Is Money, so it is important to keep an eye on the terms and conditions so you don’t miss out on deals.
Here are some of the best to boost your shopping basket.
“The Tesco Clubcard is one of the UK’s longest standing loyalty schemes,” said Moneyguru. Members can get one point for every £1 spent in the supermarket and on its website as well as one point for every £2 spent on fuel at Tesco petrol pumps.
Every 100 points collected is turned into a discount voucher worth £1 that can be used “to buy products, experiences, and days out through Tesco’s partner retailers”.
Clubcard members also get access to cheaper deals when shopping in-store and online.
But, said This Is Money, discounts may be less useful if you are really trying to drive down your bills, as reductions tend to be on big brand names, and Tesco’s “own-brand alternatives are often cheaper”.
The supermarket is also in the process of replacing the digital version of its Clubcard from 18 April with a new Tesco Grocery & Clubcard app.
Sainsbury’s Nectar card
“Every pound spent with Sainsbury’s earns you one [Nectar] point,” explained The Money Edit, “and you’ll get one point for every litre of fuel when filling up at Sainsbury’s pumps.”
Every 500 points equates to £2.50 to spend at Sainsbury’s or one of its “spend” partners including Argos, eBay, British Airways and Esso.
Similar to the Tesco Clubcard scheme, said Yahoo Finance, Nectar users are now also able to access brand discounts and benefit from lower prices on selected items.
Asda Rewards do not offer points to customers, said This Is Money, but instead they build up a “cashpot” that can be spent at the supermarket.
Users must download an app and then scan it when paying for groceries. You can only build up money for the cashpot from some 400 “star products” including essentials such as fruit and vegetables, and school uniforms.
Once you’ve built up cash, said The Sun, you redeem the money by creating a voucher in the app, which you scan at the checkout.
Cashback is personalised, the newspaper added, with rewards offered on the items you’re most likely to buy.
Morrisons shoppers can sign up to its loyalty scheme for free and use a card or app when paying. Although the loyalty scheme is relatively basic, said This Is Money, “Morrisons says it tailors discounts according to your spending habits”.
Offers and deals will pop up on your card and be applied automatically, which could be anything from a 10% saving to a £5 voucher.
Lidl shoppers can use its loyalty app to get discounts on groceries, Sky bills and cinema tickets.
“If you shop at Lidl regularly then you can expect to bank bigger savings than any other supermarket loyalty card,” said The Money Edit.
Shoppers get personalised rewards, the financial website added. Every £100 spent will get you a £2 off coupon, while spending £250 a month gets you a 10% off coupon. If you don’t hit those thresholds, there’s still a free bakery item when you spend £50 a month.
M&S Sparks card
Each time you shop at M&S in a store or online, said The Sun, you could get a tailored reward ranging from discounts on whole product ranges like homeware, or on individual items. The scheme is operated through an app that is scanned at the checkout.
Each week, one Sparks card customer is picked at random to get their shopping for free.
Even if you do not shop at M&S for a while, “you may be offered special deals to lure you back”, said This Is Money.
Waitrose offers personalised discounts on products shoppers buy most, said Love Money, with offers updated every week.
One of the “major benefits” of the scheme, the financial website said, is that it allows cardholders to get a free tea or coffee each time they visit a store provided they buy something and bring a reusable cup. Waitrose has scrapped its previously popular free newspaper offer, but “you do still get a free copy of the monthly Waitrose & Partners Food magazine”, LoveMoney explained. Other perks include discounts on dry cleaning and the Waitrose Cookery School.
The card is worth keeping in your pocket or purse, said The Money Edit, but “it’s not as generous as some of the other schemes with their quick cash bonuses and freebies”.
Look beyond loyalty schemes
Getting the most from supermarket loyalty schemes doesn’t mean having a wallet full of loyalty cards, said Moneyguru. “It’s more about getting better value from the supermarkets that you usually shop in and on the products that you would normally purchase, rather than buying items that you won’t use in different stores just to benefit from a few extra points or a small discount.”
Take into account where you do your regular shop, said The Sun. “If you’re brand loyal, then the chances are it’ll be best to take up membership with your favourite supermarket.”
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Marc Shoffman is an award-winning freelance journalist, specialising in business, property and personal finance. He has a master’s degree in financial journalism from City University and has previously written for FT Adviser, This Is Money, the Mail on Sunday and MoneyWeek. This article is based on information first published on The Week’s sister site, The Money Edit.
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