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Are Supermarket Loyalty Points Worth It

Are Supermarket Loyalty Points Worth It
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The supermarket giants go to great lengths to secure and keep our business. And the explosion of loyalty cards onto the market in the mid-1990s started a revolution in their battle for customers with repercussions that remain with us today.

Loyalty cards have spawned loyalty credit cards; the wealth of consumer data yielded by all these cards is priceless to the supermarkets. When they were first introduced, the ‘newness’ of the concept and some pretty great deals, meant they offered valuable benefits to customers too. But in recent years things seem to have been changing. So are supermarket loyalty points still worth it in real terms?

Nectar Card

Nectar is one of the biggest loyalty schemes in the UK, with points-earning potential available from over 500 brands, including Sainsbury’s, Apple, Next and Expedia. Around 19 million people hold Nectar cards. And yet – Sainsbury’s took the decision to halve the value of its points from 11th April 2015 – where shoppers used to get two points worth half a penny each for every £1 spent in the supermarket, at Homebase, or at BT petrol stations, they now only receive one point for each £1 spent. And no point for using their own bag. Clearly Sainsbury’s is looking to save money.

But this doesn’t mean Nectar is now not worth bothering with. The points you do receive are still useful, the stores are usually stuffed with promos that offer the chance to gain multiples of points on certain purchases. You can also cash-in points at a range of partner businesses, including Argos and Vue Cinemas, so your benefits are not limited to one store or brand, the potential to gain points exists in many other places where you may shop.

Tesco Clubcard

This was one of the very first cards offered by the supermarkets and today effectively gives you a 1% cash off opportunity on your shopping. Each £1 spent in store gives you one point, equal to 1p (the same as Sainsbury’s Nectar Card BEFORE the change). If you keep your points and use them to take money off your shopping, you can save yourself £1 for every £100 you spend. Shoppers using their Clubcard at Esso and Eon gain a further point for every £2 spent with these partners.

The card does offer other reward opportunities; it is here that Tesco’s Clubcard really shines. It is often possible to double, treble, or quadruple the value of points earned when swapping them for partner offers for things like days out, or meals at selected restaurants. They also offer a Clubcard Boost at Christmas, which brings added value to points when they are used to buy selected popular gift items.

Boots Advantage Card

This card offers the most points for your money, with shoppers earning 4 points per £1 spent at Boots, and 1point per £1 spent at an extensive range of brands such as Asos and thetrainline.com. Each point is worth 1p. The only downside is that you need to have to accumulate enough points to buy items outright – you are not allowed to use them to generate a discount on a large spend.

Boots offers a whopping 10 points per £1 to those shoppers who join their Over-60s or Parenting clubs. And they also run special offer days when savvy shoppers can bulk buy and earn bulk points into the bargain.

Are Supermarket Loyalty Points Worth It

Morrisons Match and More Card

This card offers store-spending rewards with a twist. For purchases over £15, product pricing is compared with those available in the other major supermarkets. Shoppers gain 10 points for every 1p difference in pricing found where Morrisons were more expensive. Points are worth 0.1p, so it’s effectively 1p given for every £1 more that you paid at Morrisons.

Are Supermarket Loyalty Points Worth It

Credit Cards

Supermarket credit cards offer the chance to earn considerably more points than by paying with a standard credit card or in cash. With the Sainsbury’s Bank Nectar Bonus credit card you gain two points per £1 spent in store, with one point awarded for every £5 you spend elsewhere. The Tesco Clubcard Credit Card delivers 5 points for each £4 spent in store or on fuel, and one point for every £4 spent elsewhere. Tesco Bank mortgage holders will also gain one point for every £4 spent on repayments. As with any credit cards and loans, these benefits are only worth it if you keep on top of your spending – otherwise the interest charges incurred may quickly wipe-out any benefit gained.

In short, the supermarket loyalty cards still do offer valuable benefits to shoppers. Other stores may follow Sainsbury’s cuts, but even with these potential reductions the build-up of points on your card can still provide you with useful currency to use on your shopping, or on other offers elsewhere. The key is to be smart about how you shop – being loyal to a store will inevitably deliver you greater points benefits, but be wary of shopping just to gain points. Buy what you need, when you need it and let the points take care of themselves.

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About Cally Worden

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About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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