Best supermarket loyalty schemes that'll save you the most money revealed – and it's not the chain you think | The Sun
SUPERMARKETS are clamouring for our business with an array of loyalty schemes offering points, discounts, cashback and freebies.
Consumer group Which? estimates the programmes – which are mostly run through smartphone apps – can save shoppers between 50p and £10 for each £100 spent.
But the targets and rewards are often revamped or scaled down as retailers’ budgets come under increasing pressure.
Just last week Sainsbury’s started a new “Nectar Prices” initiative to rival Tesco’s Clubcard deals, while Tesco has reduced the value of its loyalty rewards.
The savings can be huge.
Tesco claims its Clubcard prices can save shoppers up to £351 a year, while £40 spent per week on Iceland’s Bonus Card means a bonus of£104 per year.
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Below we look at the pros and cons of each scheme, and how much they will potentially give back.
Ele Clark, Which? retail editor, said: "The competition between supermarkets over loyalty card schemes is intensifying and, as the cost of living crisis continues, it’s more important than ever that consumers can access the best value products for their needs.
“Supermarket loyalty schemes can be a good way for people to earn points and save money on their shopping – so it could be worth signing to schemes offered by shops you already use.
"If you want to make more significant savings, consider switching to a cheaper supermarket altogether."
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Andy Barr, co-founder and personal finance expert at price tracking tool Alertr, added: "The thought of keeping track of multiple schemes might seem overwhelming, but once you get into the habit of using your loyalty cards regularly it will feel like no effort at all, and it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
"I’d recommend, as a minimum, signing up for the loyalty scheme for the supermarket that you shop at most frequently."
HOW DOES IT WORK? Asda Rewards, which launched last summer, gives shoppers money back when they buy “star products” or complete spending missions.
These offers are personalised, but typically a new customer might be offered £1 for spending £75.
There are also hundreds of star product offers, like 50p off for buying a bottle of Diet Coke Sublime Lime.
The money earned goes into your “Cashpot”, which can then be exchanged into a voucher in the app, to be redeemed at the till or by entering the code at the online checkout.
PROS: Asda didn’t have a Rewards scheme for years – so this is an easy way of earning discounts if you’re a regular shopper.
New users can at the moment get a £5 “First Scan Bonus” by signing up for an account and scanning the app for the first time in store or shopping online. It ends on May 3.
There are also special events for members, such as promotions on baby products including nappies and wipes.
CONS: You’ll need a smartphone. Convert your cashpot into vouchers within six months or you’ll lose the money. Watch out for expiry dates on vouchers.
REWARDS FOR SPENDING £100 A MONTH? Varies depending on the offers you’re sent.
HOW TO SIGN UP? Download the Asda Rewards app.
HOW DOES IT WORK? You get one Clubcard point for every £1 spent in-store and online or £2 on fuel from Tesco petrol stations.
From June 14, this will change to one point for every two litres of fuel you buy (excluding Esso filling stations at Tesco Express stores, where you get one point for every £3 spent).
Points are turned into vouchers on the Tesco Grocery & Clubcard app or your online Tesco account.
Each point is worth 1p in Tesco, but they are currently worth three times the amount when you convert them into vouchers for Tesco’s partners.
Clubcard shoppers also get cheaper prices on a wide array of products.
Top offers last week included £4.15 for a £4.80 large chicken and £17 for a £22.50 bottle of Gordon’s Special Dry London Gin (1 litre).
There are currently more than 8,000 deals on Clubcard Prices on a weekly basis across the whole store – from food and clothing to Tesco Mobile and Tesco Bank.
PROS: There are lots of Clubcard partners to redeem vouchers with, including Disney+, Chessington World of Adventures, RAC and Hungry Horse pubs.
CONS: Clubcard vouchers are currently worth three times their value with Tesco’s Reward partners, but from June 14, they will be worth twice their value. Vouchers exchanged before that date will be valid for 12 months instead of six.
Watch out for vouchers’ expiry dates.
REWARDS FOR SPENDING £100 A WEEK? 5,200 points, or £52 in Tesco vouchers. Tesco says its Clubcard prices can save shoppers up to £351 a year.
HOW TO SIGN UP? You’ll need to register for a Tesco account.
You can do it by downloading the Tesco Grocery & Clubcard app on your smartphone or following the steps online at tesco.com.
Sainsbury's Nectar Card
HOW DOES IT WORK? Nectar customers can use their card to collect points, either on a smartphone app, or with a physical card to collect and spend points.
You get a minimum of one point per £1 in stores and online at Sainsbury’s, plus bonus points are available on the Nectar app, via paper coupons at checkouts, or sent in the post.
You can also get one point for every litre of fuel at Sainsbury's petrol stations. One point is worth 0.5p when shopping with the retailer.
Sainsbury’s last week launched “Nectar Prices”, which gives members discounts on over 300 items in store and online, with selected products at 5%.
Products on offer include Fairy washing up liquid, Heinz ketchup and Pampers nappies.
Nectar customers can also get extra personalised prices through Your Nectar Prices on the Nectar app, when shopping in store with SmartShop.
PROS: Customers can collect points with more than 300 partner brands, such as Just Eat, Esso and Debenhams, and spend them at over 12 partners, including Sainsbury's, Argos, British Airways and eBay.
CONS: Nectar points are half the value of Clubcard points, but the new Nectar Prices initiative scheme is an extra incentive to use the scheme.
REWARDS FOR SPENDING £100 A WEEK? Minimum 5,200 points per year, worth at least £26 to spend with Nectar – but app users typically collect three times more points
HOW TO SIGN UP: Register online at nectar.com or register on the Nectar app, which you’ll need when you scan your shopping. Call 0344 811 0811 to enrol over the phone.
HOW DOES IT WORK? My Morrisons offers money off certain products and percentages off a particular category, like £1 off frozen desserts and 15% off baking products.
When a customer scans the app or swipes their card they get a chance to “bag a bonus”, which might be money off a shop or a treat from one of our Market Street counters
There are a range of clubs for parents, teachers, NHS workers and students to get discounts or freebies.
PROS: A “buy 4 get the 5th free” hot drinks scheme has now launched on the My Morrisons app for use in Morrisons cafés
CONS: You don’t get rewards for general spending as you would in a points-based scheme.
REWARDS FOR SPENDING £100 A WEEK? Depends on what you buy.
HOW TO SIGN UP: Download the My Morrisons app or visit mymorrisons.com
HOW DOES IT WORK? Lidl Plus offers rewards for hitting certain spending milestones over a month, with a free bakery item for spending £50 in a week, £2 off for spending £100, a free product such as a pack of nuts for spending £150 and £250 spent gets you 10% off your next shop.
You also get coupons for discounts on certain products, with current offers being three sweet buns for £1.50 and 15% off King Prawns.
PROS: You also get offers and benefits from Lidl's partners, such as £65 off Jet2holidays and 15% off airport parking with APH.
CONS: You need to remember to activate offers on the app before buying them.
REWARDS FOR SPENDING £100 A WEEK? Each month you’d get a bakery freebie, £2 off the first £100 you spent, another free product and 10% off your next shop.
HOW TO SIGN UP: Download the Lidl Plus app and register on there.
Iceland Bonus Card
HOW DOES IT WORK? Instead of rewarding spending, you get rewarded for saving instead.
Load cash onto an Iceland Bonus card in-store, online or via the app and for each £20 you put on, £1 will be added to the balance.
You can only spend the money in Iceland.
Bonus cardholders also get exclusive prices, like £2.50 for a frozen takeaway chicken biryani rather than £3.
PROS: You can save and spend as much as you want on the cards.
So if you topped up £100 onto the card every week and then spent it on a family shop, you could get £5 back on your groceries.
Over the year that would work out to £260 back – a pretty lucrative membership scheme.
CONS: Bonus Cards expire 24 months after last being used and the remaining balance is not retrievable.
REWARDS FOR SPENDING £100 A WEEK? If you saved £100 onto the card every week and then spent it on shopping, you'll get £5 back each time, or £260 over the year. The cards have a maximum value of £1,000.
HOW TO SIGN UP: Visit iceland.co.uk/bonus-card. Physical cards are also available in stores, but the card needs to be registered online.
Co-op Loyalty Card
HOW DOES IT WORK? Co-op membership costs £1.
You get two personalised offers each week to choose from via the Co-op member app, based on what you typically buy, which Co-op says creates up to £60 a year in savings.
If a member spends £20 on Co-op own brand products they’ll get 40p back on their card to spend in store and a further 40p will be split between community funds.
PROS: Members also get discounts on other Co-op services, such as a 5% discount on pet insurance and 10% off travel insurance.
CONS: The bonuses are only on certain products – not on all spending as with other schemes like Nectar and Clubcard.
REWARDS FOR SPENDING £100 A WEEK: Depends on what you buy.
HOW TO SIGN UP: Visit membership.coop.co.uk. If you don't have a smartphone or computer, sign up for membership by calling 0800 023 4708. You'll get coupons and personalised offers from the checkout.
M&S Sparks Card
HOW DOES IT WORK? You get tailored offers sent to the Sparks app, such as 20% off women’s jeans, 50p off when you spend £3 on M&S cakes and 15% off M&S fresh fruit.
One lucky Sparks customer in every store gets their shopping basket for free every week.
PROS: One current offer is spending £35 on clothing and homeware and getting three months of free access to Sparks days out, giving you discounts on family trips, such as 25% off a trip to a theme park.
CONS: Winning a free shop isn’t much use if you’ve just popped in to buy a loaf of bread.
REWARDS FOR SPENDING £100 A WEEK: Depends on what you buy.
HOW TO SIGN UP: Visit marksandspencer.com/joinsparks and download the app to scan in the store or online.
They don't issue plastic Sparks cards anymore, but you can still use the old ones.
Which loyalty scheme is best?
Which loyalty scheme you sign up for really depends on where you shop – but if you regularly use any supermarket it's worth looking at what they are offering members.
Even if you only save 50p here and there with a coupon, it all adds up over time.
Which? recently looked at how much points-based supermarket schemes offer back if you spend £100 a month.
The highest return was Iceland's Bonus card, which gives back £1 for every £20 saved onto it, meaning for every £100 you spend, you can have £5 – or 5% – back on your shopping.
Tesco Clubcard, by comparison, returns 1%, and Nectar, 0.5%, although it varies according to where you spend your points.
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Meanwhile, Andy Barr of Alertr said four stand out above the others as great money-saving options.
These are Tesco Clubcard, Sainsbury's Nectar, Asda and Lidl Plus.
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