As the price of food continues to rocket, keeping the cost of the weekly shop from spiralling out of control is a top priority for cash-strapped families.
Almost every week, there’s more bad news: be it a tub of Lurpak hitting nearly £10 or the price of Heinz favourites soaring by up to 55 per cent.
It’s no wonder, then, that shoppers are flocking to join supermarket loyalty schemes as retailers beef up perks to attract customers.
We explain the supermarket loyalty schemes on offer, how to make the most out of them and sneaky pitfalls to watch out for
Achille Traore, chief executive of customer retention firm White Label Loyalty, says: ‘More than half of British consumers are already signed up to at least one supermarket loyalty programme and we expect this percentage to grow as inflation permeates the supermarket shelves.’
But with firms increasingly prioritising smartphone apps over physical cards and paper coupons, elderly and vulnerable customers are at risk of being left behind.
Dennis Reed, of senior citizens campaign group Silver Voices, says: ‘There is complete disregard for the fact that many older people do not own a smartphone or, if they do, use it only for telephone calls. We want to ensure older people are not denied access to benefits and offers.’
To help make sure you don’t miss out on vital savings, here we explain the schemes on offer, how to make the most out of them and sneaky pitfalls to watch out for.
Asda’s Rewards programme is being trialled in 300 stores
WHAT’S ON OFFER? Asda’s Rewards programme is being trialled in 300 stores before a nationwide roll-out. Members get 10 per cent back when buying star products or completing ‘missions’.
uRight now, shoppers will get £2 back when spending £10 on Kellogg’s cereal. Savings can be put towards shopping bills, or they can be traded later for vouchers.
Customers can earn extra when meeting spending targets. Initially you get 50p for spending £50, another 50p when you’ve spent £100, and then an extra £1 when you hit £200, £1.50 at £300, £2.50 at £500, £4 at £750, £5 at £1,000 and £10 at £1,400.
LESSER-KNOWN PERKS: Also offers discounts on George clothing.
TIPS: Look out for Boost vouchers, which can increase the value of your cash pot. Check the Spend section of the app to see these. The new Asda Money Credit Card offers 1 per cent cashback at its stores.
PITFALLS: One mum complained online that the spending targets were difficult. The challenge also ends on August 10, but a new one is expected for pre-Christmas.
SMARTPHONE NEEDED? Yes. You can find this in your phone’s App Store (iPhone) or Play Store (Android) by searching the name of the retailer. Most apps have a digital version of your loyalty card, which looks like a barcode. Just scan this at the checkout.
One point is worth 1p in Tesco
WHAT’S ON OFFER? With Clubcard, collect one point for every £1 spent in-store and online or £2 on fuel and swap your points for vouchers. One point is worth 1p in Tesco. There are also cheaper prices.
Families who do a big weekly shop should consider the Clubcard Plus subscription, costing £7.99 a month for perks including 10 per cent off two shops of up to £200 each, and 10 per cent off F&F clothing.
LESSER-KNOWN PERKS: There are lots of partners to redeem vouchers with, including English Heritage, Eurotunnel, Alton Towers, Fitbit, SpaSeekers and Zizzi.
TIPS: Increase the value of vouchers with Tesco’s Rewards partners, so £10 of vouchers would buy you a Senior Railcard worth £30, or £6 of vouchers can buy you three months of Disney+ access, worth £24. Earn extra points with a Tesco Clubcard credit card, a Tesco Mobile contract or Clubcard Pay+, a prepaid debit card.
PITFALLS: Vouchers expire after two years.
SMARTPHONE NEEDED? Download the app or have a traditional card and vouchers through the post.
We make £180 a year for holidays
Retired social worker Glynis Campbell, 69, and husband Peter, 73, a former trading standards senior manager, enjoy weekends away using their Tesco Clubcard.
The couple, from Harlow, Essex, who joined the scheme when it launched in 1995, do all their regular shopping at their local branch and gain extra points via Tesco Bank credit cards and Tesco Mobile contracts.
Glynis Campbell and husband Peter enjoy weekends away using their Tesco Clubcard
Glynis, a mother of four and a grandmother of five, says: ‘It all adds up. We get around 500 points a month, which is about £5 to spend in-store, but you can get three times the value by exchanging them for rewards.
‘That makes us about £15 a month, or £180 a year, which is great for holidays. We have the odd weekend away at a Best Western hotel; a meal at our local Chef & Brewer pub; or a day out, such as a trip to Exmoor Zoo. It’s really handy during vacations.’
WHAT’S ON OFFER? Save money by collecting points with Nectar, with one point per £1 in stores and online, and a point for every litre of fuel at its petrol stations. One point is worth 0.5p in Sainsbury’s. You also receive bonus points for certain products, with one recent offer giving 30 points for buying a Sainsbury’s New York cheesecake. You can get cheaper Nectar prices by using the self-scanning SmartShop app to buy in-store.
LESSER-KNOWN PERKS: Customers can collect points from more than 400 partner brands, such as Just Eat, Esso and Debenhams, and spend them at some 17 companies, including Sainsbury’s, Argos, British Airways and eBay.
TIPS: Download the Nectar Notifier tool to remind you to collect points when shopping online with certain brands, such as Asos and Just Eat. There’s also the new ‘Nectar Connect’ scheme to link your account to a debit or credit card and earn bonus points with certain partners, such as Costa Coffee and Interflora.
PITFALLS: My Nectar Prices are only available to in-store shoppers.
SMARTPHONE NEEDED? No, but customers who use the app collect three times more points than those who don’t, according to Nectar.
My Morrisons offers money off certain products and percentages off a particular category
WHAT’S ON OFFER? My Morrisons offers money off certain products and percentages off a particular category, such as 15 per cent off soft drinks or £1 off baby or pet products.
Scheme now revamped to include more meat and dairy discounts. Card holders can ‘bag a bonus’, such as £5 off your next shop.
LESSER-KNOWN PERKS: Members can join a range of clubs for parents, teachers, NHS workers and students to get discounts or freebies for events such as Mother’s Day.
TIPS: My Morrisons is running a six-week scheme giving members a discount at the end of August if they have met spending targets.
PITFALLS: Shoppers have baulked at targets set by the summer scheme, with one asked to spend £60 weekly for four of six weeks to save £23.
SMARTPHONE NEEDED? No. Customers can receive a plastic card plus paper vouchers.
WHAT’S ON OFFER? My Waitrose offers a selection of personalised vouchers each week, including discounts on your frequently purchased items. For example, you might get £3.50 off steak, £2 off strawberries, and £1 off a loaf of bread. There’s also 20 per cent off at the meat and cheese counters every day, and 20 per cent off at the fish counter every Friday.
LESSER-KNOWN PERKS: Members get free copies of Waitrose food and drink magazines and 5 per cent off dry cleaning and laundry in-store from Johnsons Cleaners.
TIPS: Check the app on Wednesdays, when offers are updated.
PITFALLS: No more free newspapers, while free coffees have been paused. Complaints about irrelevant offers, such as bald men offered discounts on hair masks and vegetarian women receiving chicken soup discounts.
SMARTPHONE NEEDED? No. Physical cards are available. Customers can access vouchers online and print them at home.
WHAT’S ON OFFER? Lidl Plus offers money-off coupons, with recent offers including 10 per cent off strawberries and 30 per cent off bakery goods.
You can unlock further vouchers when you reach spending targets during a month. In July you got a free in-store bakery item when you spent £50.
LESSER-KNOWN PERKS: Discounts and benefits from Lidl’s partners such as £150 off bookings with Loveholidays, 40 per cent off cinema tickets with The Cinema Society and a £25 coupon for uSwitch broadband.
TIPS: Shoppers can store digital receipts on the app.
PITFALLS: Activate offers on the app before buying them.
SMARTPHONE NEEDED? Yes.
Iceland’s Bonus Card includes prize draws
WHAT’S ON OFFER? Shoppers can save as much as they like on to Bonus cards in-store, online or via the app. For each £20 added, £1 will be added to their balance. They get exclusive prices. A four-pack of Mars Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Bars is £1.50, down from £2.25.
LESSER-KNOWN PERKS: Prize draws. Up until today, if you spent more than £30 in store with your Bonus Card you would be in with a chance to win more than 50,000 prizes, including £50 Sports Direct gift cards, £20 Primark vouchers and laptops worth up to £400. It’s not known when the next draw is.
TIPS: Look out for Bonus Card savings events with occasional £2 bonuses for every £20 added.
PITFALLS: Bonus Cards expire 24 months after last being used. Remaining balance not retrievable.
SMARTPHONE NEEDED? No. Physical card available in stores. It needs to be registered online, but Iceland say staff will help with this.
WHAT’S ON OFFER? Register for Co-op membership for £1. You get 2p for every £1 spent on selected Co-op products and 40p for every £20 spent on branded food. The rewards go to your Co-op account for spending in-store. Choose two weekly personalised offers each week via the smartphone app.
LESSER-KNOWN PERKS: Members also get discounts on other Co-op services, such as £125 off a funeral plan, £2 off every £100 they spend when buying a will and 5 per cent off life insurance. Until the end of the year, members who buy or renew their Co-op Car Insurance will get £50.
TIPS: New offers on Mondays.
PITFALLS: There has been a lot of upset that the Co-op’s Food magazine — aimed at members — is being trialled as online-only for the next four issues.
SMARTPHONE NEEDED? No. If you don’t have a smartphone, sign up for membership by calling 0800 023 4708. You can get coupons and personalised offers from the till area.
There are new tailored Sparks offers on the app every week or so
WHAT’S ON OFFER? One Sparks card customer in every store gets their entire shopping basket for free each week.
There are new tailored Sparks offers on the app every week or so, from money off to free items, with recent offers including 20 per cent off homeware, £1 off Count On Us meals, 50p off bagged salad or a free loaf of bread.
LESSER-KNOWN PERKS: M&S food magazines, usually £2, are free for Sparks members.
TIPS: Spend £35 on clothing and homeware and get three months of free access to Sparks days out, giving you discounts on family trips, such as 50 per cent off English Heritage day tickets.
PITFALLS: You might win a free shop — but it won’t make much difference if you are just buying a pint of milk.
SMARTPHONE NEEDED? Yes, unless you have an old Sparks card. M&S moved to being a smartphone-based loyalty scheme two years ago.
Why we ditched Tesco for Nectar
Nectar points can still be converted into Avios points, unlike Tesco’s
Leor Franks, 43, a marketing director at a London law firm, and wife Tamara, also 43, a solicitor, collect around 100,000 Nectar points each year to convert into Avios points for free holiday flights.
The couple switched allegiance from Tesco Clubcard when its partnership with Avios ceased in January 2021.
Leor, from Stanmore, West London, says: ‘We’re Sainsbury’s and Nectar superfans. We use their petrol stations, do all our shopping there and spend with other Nectar brands so long as the price is competitive. We’ll order from eBay, rather than Amazon.
‘I’m also on the Nectar Connect scheme, where you register your credit card and get bonus offers at Nectar partners, such as Costa Coffee.’
Leor, Tamara and their children Mia, 11, and Max, eight, used Avios points to fly business class to Switzerland in February and to Jordan in April.