Who has the best supermarket loyalty scheme?
Written by Robert Bester, Consumer Finance Expert Robert has been a writer for six years, specialising in consumer finance and the UK lending market. Concentrating on consumer credit products, Robert writes informative articles that help customers manage their personal finances efficiently.
19th April 2021
6 minute read
Deciding who has the best supermarket loyalty scheme very much depends on you as an individual, your shopping habits, where you like to shop and which rewards you value the most.
With so many supermarket loyalty schemes available, there are plenty to choose from and you’re sure to find at least one out of the list below that’s worth signing up for.
Sainsbury’s Nectar card
One of the biggest loyalty schemes currently operating in the UK. The Sainsbury’s Nectar card includes a range of retail giants such as eBay, Debenhams and BP as partner members.
Users of the Nectar card can collect points on purchases made in-store and online. In turn, these can be redeemed for money off discounts, experiences and products. Complete with its own member website, Nectar points customers can view their balance, redeem points and view online retailers who are also involved with the scheme.
Each point is worth 0.5% of your original shop, but occasionally Nectar run promotions where you will receive more points for each pound spent.
My Waitrose Scheme
My Waitrose works a little differently to other supermarket loyalty cards in that it doesn’t collect points, but instead gives cardholders the opportunity to win prizes, save money on their shopping and get products free of charge instantly.
Some of the key benefits include 20% off fish products on Fridays, free Waitrose magazines, entry into competitions and free hot drinks when visiting a store.
This is an excellent card for those who want to benefit from a loyalty scheme instantly and don’t want to worry about managing an online points account.
The Tesco Clubcard is one of the UK’s longest standing loyalty schemes. Members collect points on in-store and online purchases. They can also buy products, experiences and days out through Tesco’s partner retailers where points can be redeemed as money off vouchers. They can also be ‘boosted’ online. This is where you can increase the value of the points to be spent
Tesco Clubcard also have regular product specials and events that allow its members to gain more points on their purchases.
Each point is worth 1% of your original shop and you must collect at least 150 points before you can redeem them.
Co-op membership doesn’t just give you the ability to earn rewards, get 5% back on certain Co-op branded food purchases in-store and take a share in company profits, it also allows you to help your local community and have a say on the future of the business.
No points are collected, instead any money saved is put back on the card for future purchases and regular discounts are also available if you use the card in-store.
Membership costs £1 and covers Co-op food stores, Co-op legal and Co-op electrical services.
A Morrisons More card gives users the opportunity to collect points on in-store and online purchases, fuel at Morrisons petrol stations and in the supermarket’s cafes. For each pound spent you will receive five More points. When the total reaches 5,000 you’ll be able to redeem them for a £5 discount on your next purchase.
You are given vouchers as the checkout or you can manage your account online where discount can be redeemed from the card and the balance can be managed using the member’s only website.
Each point is worth 0.5% of your original shop but in-store and online promotions also give additional points, so are worth watching out for.
Marks & Spencer SPARKS
Marks & Spencer takes a different approach to loyalty cards, and although you collect points each time you shop either online or in-store, you can’t actually redeem them as you would with a standard supermarket loyalty card.
Instead, the Sparks card allows you to build up points in return for invites to exclusive in-store events, sales and promotions before anyone else. For those that spend a lot of money at Marks & Spencer, they’ll receive access to cookery masterclasses and VIP catwalk shows.
There are a few additional perks to be had, such as money off their £10 dine-in deals, but this loyalty scheme mainly focuses on offering experiences for its customers rather than just discounts.
Iceland’s Bonus Card
Frozen food giant Iceland also has its own loyalty scheme, which allows you to manage your budget and plan ahead by allowing you to add money to the card. It works in much the same way as supermarket saving stamps and gives you an additional £1 for every £20 saved.
You can easily check your saving balance by registering your card online and can add more funds to the card from the comfort of your sofa.
Members also qualify for free home delivery for purchases made in-store or online and also get access to exclusive deals and promotions.
Getting the most from supermarket loyalty schemes
Getting the most from supermarket loyalty schemes doesn’t mean having a wallet full of loyalty cards. Its 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.
Here are some things to avoid if you want to make the most out of supermarket loyalty schemes:
Don’t be suckered in by a loyalty scheme
Choosing where to shop dependent on the strength of their loyalty scheme is never a good idea. There are far more factors that go into choosing where to do your weekly shop than points and perks alone.
You are far better signing up for a loyalty card on the supermarkets that you use on a regular basis, otherwise you’ll just end up with a pile of loyalty cards that will never get used, languishing in a kitchen drawer.
Don’t be blinded by loyalty
Some shoppers take loyalty cards to the extreme and will drive to several different shops just to get the most points or save money. This seems a little excessive when you consider the fact that cashback or reward credit card can offer a far better return and can be used with any retailer, rather than just the one supermarket chain.
Cashback or rewards credit cards can offer amounts of up to 5% back which makes them a better choice than most supermarket or store loyalty cards. All you need to remember is to clear the balance each month to avoid interest fees.
Don’t let points entice you to buy purchases you wouldn’t otherwise make
Just because it’s a good deal doesn’t mean that it should end up in your shopping trolley. Supermarkets are real pros at getting us to make impulse buys, especially if there’s a significant reduction in price or extra points to be had.
But if it isn’t something that you usually buy or actually need, you might as well be throwing your money away. All you’ll do with this bargain item is pop it in your kitchen and forget about it until it’s way past its sell-by date and has to be put in the bin.
Boost your loyalty points where you can
If you’ve come across an item that’s on your weekly shopping list that has some extra points available then great, in the trolley it goes. This is the best way of making the most of supermarket loyalty cards so, if you can stock up on the item in question, go for it!
Likewise, if you’re looking for something to do at the weekend and can boost your points to get a great deal for the family then perfect. With three times the points amount available on days or meals out, many families rely on the excellent offers available from supermarket loyalty schemes so make the most of them.
Using Apps instead of cards
There’s been an interesting technological advancement in the loyalty card world recently, with many apps coming to smartphones that allow you to control all of your loyalty memberships with a simple click or swipe at the checkout.
These apps allow you to de-clutter your wallet and scan your card’s barcode using just your phone, so you no longer have to worry about forgetting your card and having to go back to the store to get your points added manually later on.
Many of these apps are free of charge and are quick and easy to set up, so if you love loyalty cards it’s worth looking at downloading one from the iTunes or Android store to ensure you never miss out on a single point.
Why a cashback card may be a better option
Although there are a few nice perks that come with supermarket loyalty cards, they are very restrictive in terms of where you can use them and what kind of return you’ll get for spending your hard-earned cash.
Some loyalty schemes can also require a lot of effort from the customer, with various log-ins, member area registrations and voucher print-outs required to actually get any benefit at all.
Cashback credit cards are simple to understand, easy to apply for and offer cash back percentages on all purchases, regardless of what you purchase or which retailer you choose to buy from.
The cashback amounts are returned directly to the card either monthly or annually making the process of getting something back simple and stress-free.
All you need to worry about is clearing the balance in full at the end of each month, if you can manage to do this then you’ll soon see that this is a straightforward way of getting some real value from spending your money.