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Saturday 13th July 2024

Play your supermarket loyalty cards right

Nick Daws looks at major supermarkets’ loyalty cards and their pros and cons.

supermarket loyalty cards

Today I’m looking at loyalty cards. These are issued by many retailers and can offer a good way to save money on your shopping (though with certain provisos, which I’ll come to later).

Typically card-holders are offered discounts on particular products. They may also (or alternatively) be awarded points which can be exchanged for money-off vouchers and other benefits.

Of course, retailers have their own good reasons for issuing loyalty cards. The main one – as the name suggests – is to entice shoppers to keep returning to the store in question rather than going elsewhere. 

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Another aim can be to encourage shoppers to spend more at the store. For example, at certain times of year (the run-up to Christmas especially) discount vouchers may be offered to card-holders spending a minimum amount in the store every week over a month or so

In my opinion, if somewhere you shop regularly has a loyalty card scheme, it’s almost always worth signing up.

Personally I do most of my weekly shopping at Morrisons as it’s my nearest supermarket, but I do also shop fairly regularly at Waitrose too. So I’ll look at those two first. I will also discuss some of the other leading loyalty card schemes.

  • One other thing to note is that nowadays shops are increasingly switching to virtual cards which operate via an app on your mobile phone. Some schemes do still offer plastic cards as well, but these are generally being phased out. 

Morrisons More 

The Morrisons More card gives discounts and personalised offers based on your shopping history. You have to activate the offers in the app before you get to the checkout. It also offers member-only price reductions.

In addition, for some purchases (not all) when you present your More card you will be credited with points. You also receive points every time you purchase fuel from Morrisons (five points per litre). 

When you have accrued 5,000 points you get a £5 discount voucher to use on your shopping. For more info, see the Morrisons More website.

myWaitrose

You don’t get points with a myWaitrose card. Rather, you receive personalised weekly discounts on selected products. Each week you can pick two offers from a short list of products you have bought before and others they think you might like.

Other benefits for myWaitrose members include:

  • free self-service hot drink after shopping (bring your own cup)
  • free Waitrose magazines
  • free newspapers (one a day)
  • 20% off selected meat from the in-store counter every Saturday
  • 20% off selected fish from the in-store counter every Friday
  • 5% off laundry and dry cleaning at Johnsons the Cleaners
  • 10% off Waitrose cookery school courses
  • members-only prize competitions
  • other special discounts for members only

Further details can be found on the myWaitrose website.

Nectar Card

Nectar cards are accepted at Sainsbury’s and other stores such as Argos and Habitat. You can see a full list of retailers accepting Nectar cards here

You can also link your Nectar account to the online auction site eBay and collect and spend points there. 

Every time you make a purchase and present your Nectar card, you get points. The number varies between retailers, but typically you will receive 1 point for every pound spent. 

The value of points also varies between stores. At Sainsbury’s each point is worth 0.5p, so 1000 points will get you £5.00 off your shopping. You can also get bigger discounts on a range of purchases from Nectar partners via the Nectar app or website.

Tesco Clubcard

Tesco Clubcard is another very popular points-based loyalty card. You earn one point for every £1 you spend in Tesco stores (or one point for every £2 you spend on fuel). 

You can also earn points in other ways, e.g. you will receive one point per £1 spent on Tesco Mobile Pay Monthly and Tesco Mobile top-ups. You can also get 500 points by signing up to Halfords Motoring Club Premium.

Your points will be awarded as a voucher when you get to 250 points (or 150 points online). You can use your vouchers to pay towards your shopping at Tesco.

Tesco have also partnered with various companies who will double or even treble the value of your points on everything from shopping to holidays, restaurant meals to days out. Clubcard holders also receive extra discounts on some grocery items.

Tesco Clubcard vouchers have an expiry date, so be sure to use them before they expire. You can track them in the Clubcard app or on the Clubcard website.

Boots Advantage Card

This is another very popular loyalty card. For every £1 you spend at Boots, you earn four points. Each point is worth 1p to spend in-store or online, so the 160 points from a £40 spend would be worth £1.60.

To use your points, you simply show your card at the till and ask to pay with points, or select the Advantage card icon at the checkout when shopping online. Note that you can’t use your Advantage points to part-pay for an item. Instead, you will need enough points to cover the entire cost.

Boots also has a Parenting Club (where you can collect double points), and there is a free monthly magazine for members. You will need to use your card at least once a year, or you will lose your points. For further info, see the Boots Advantage Card website.

Co-op Card

This is another card I have myself and recommend. With a Co-op card you get money back on your shopping and discounts as well.

For every £1 you spend in store, 2p goes into your Co-op account. You can put this money towards purchases at the store in future (there is no minimum amount for this).. 

Not only that, for every £1 you spend, 2p will be donated to good causes in your local community as well. 

As a Co-op member, you’ll also receive other offers and discounts, e.g. on Co-op insurance and legal services. If you register on the Co-op website you’ll get additional personalised offers too. 

Of course, many other retailers issue loyalty cards as well. If there are any you shop at regularly, it’s very likely you will benefit from signing up for them.

One final piece of advice with loyalty cards is to make sure they work for you, rather than you for them

As I said earlier, stores use loyalty card offers to tempt you into buying (more) from them. 

So if an offer is for something you would have bought anyway, that’s fine. And if it’s something you might have bought rather than something else – a curry rather than a pizza, say – it may be worth opting for the offer to take advantage of the saving. 

But beware of letting cards tempt you into spending more at the store than you would normally. And remember that some products – even with loyalty card discounts – may be cheaper to buy elsewhere. It still very much pays to shop around!

As always, if you have any comments about this article, please do post them below.

Nick Daws writes for Pounds and Sense, a UK personal finance blog aimed especially (though not exclusively) at over-fifties.

Photo Credits: Unsplash

Nick Daws

Mouthy Blogger

Nick Daws is a semi-retired freelance writer and editor. He is the author of over 30 non-fiction books, including Start Your Own Home-Based Business and The Internet for Writers. He lives in Burntwood, Staffordshire, where he has been running his personal finance blog at Poundsandsense.com for over seven years.

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