Originally written in 2018, this article has been updated for 2022
More than nearly any other country in the world, us Brits are the most likely to carry a loyalty or reward card in our wallets (or on our phones), yet surprisingly, the least likely to use them.
In an earlier article ‘Why is pays to be unfaithful’ I discussed the merits of reward cards and conclude that shopping at the cheapest place always trumps using a reward card, but if shopping somewhere that has a loyalty scheme, then it pays to use it.
With that being said, here’s the Moneysavinganswers rundown of the best loyalty cards to carry with you.
Waitrose’s myWaitrose – 20 per cent on 10 items
Note 2018: Of course no sooner do I publish this and Waitrose decided to pull the 20 per cent offer. Poor form. I have the information here for historical purposes.
Waitrose might have cut back on the free tea and coffee (unless you make a purchase), but it’s loyalty card is one of the best around for frequent shoppers. Under the ‘Pick you own’ scheme, myWaitrose card holders can get 20 per cent discount on their favourite items.
The discount is limited to 10 items per customer, and while the offer isn’t available on everything sold in store or online, you do get a list of hundreds of items to choose from. Currently, there’s a fairly even split between Waitrose’s own items and branded products.
To get maximum benefit, it’s best to choose items that you buy every week, and those that are the most expensive, such as alcohol, ready meals, meats, etc… You can change your offers up to 10 times per month.
A neat little trick to expand the offer to 20 items, is to do your shopping together with a partner. This does take some discipline, to ensure that each of you only purchases the items on your list of offers, and of course you’ll need two trollies, but get it right and you’ll get 20 per cent of 20 items instead of 10.
Ikea Family – up to 25 per cent off (on Family lines)
Okay, so this isn’t one that you need to carry all the time, but even if you’re not in the market for some new furniture, then the Ikea Family card still has a host of upsides.
It’s free to join and entitles you a free coffee each time you visit an Ikea store. There are also deals on food too, such as a cooked six-item breakfast for just £1.50, and a free £5 voucher for your birthday.
Of course, the key perk is paying reduced prices on ‘family lines‘ which range from bicycles to bath robes, and can be up to 25 per cent cheaper than the regular price. On top of that, Family card members also benefit from an additional 10 per cent discount on sales items.
The card can also be used in Ikea stores abroad too, but the benefits you receive will be those tailored to the country you are visiting.
Costa Coffee Club – 5% discount
If expensive coffee is your thing (hey, I’m not judging but this is a moneysaving site after all), then the Costa Coffee Club card or app might be worthy of home in your wallet, purse, or anything else you carry. The card offers 5 points per £1 spent, with 100 points being equal to £1.
It is currently running a promotion whereby new customers will automatically gain 100 points when they sign up to the scheme. And in case thet’s not enough, the card also entitles holders to free unlimited wifi in Costa stores nationwide.
Boots Advantage card – 4 per cent discount
This old highstreet favourite offers four points for every £1 spent. Points are worth 1p each, so 2,000 points (a £500 spend) is equivalent to £20. Or put another way, your gaining a 4 per cent discount each time you use the card.
Unlike some other schemes, points can only be redeemed against shopping at Boots and not for any other rewards.
We’ve previously shown that cosmetics and toiletries can be up to 15 per cent cheaper in Supermarkets, but if you must shop at Boots, then it pays to hold and Advantage card.
TIP: Look out for special offers that boost Advantage card points and you reward potential, especially in the run to up to national holidays.
Tesco Clubcard – 1 per cent discount (boosted to 3%)
Arguably the most popular loyalty card around, Clubcard members earn one point per pound spent. Besides Tesco stores and online shopping, points can also be collected via participating partners such as E.on.
Each point is worth 1p, 1,000 points equals £10 off your shopping, but if you swap your vouchers (posted to you every three months) for ‘Boost’ tokens, they can be worth up to four times their original amount.
These can be redeemed on days out, restaurants, cinemas, travel, and other activities.
Update: Tesco recently announced that boost tokens will now only be worth three times the face value. The move has seen some ‘loyal’ customers lose up to £100 off the value of their Clubcard points.
In a further update Tesco plans (from 28th August 2018), to allow its Clubcard users to request vouchers whenever they want instead of having to wait for their next quarterly statement. The scheme will allow users to request that the total value of your points is turned into vouchers within 24 hours. These can then be downloaded and printed or used via the Clubcard app.
Superdrug Health and Beauty Card – 1% discount
Not to be outdone by rival Boots, Superdug has its own loyalty card called the ‘Health and Beauty Card.’ The health and beauty card rewards customers with a 1 point per £1 spent. Saving up the points gets you money off purchases in the future. for example 200 points will earn you a £2 off, meaning you are getting a 1% discount.
That is much lower than the 4% available at Boots, but it’s worth baring in mind that items in Superdrug are often cheaper to begin with. Of course if you read our guide on ‘why is pays to be unfaithful’ you’ll see that Supermarkets tend to offer lower prices that beat both Boots and Superdrug for branded cosmetics.
Sainsbury’s Nectar Card – 0.5 per cent discount
The Nectar card has suffered something of a fall from grace over recent times with Amazon, Debenhams, and EasyJet, all withdrawing from the scheme. But despite that, it is a favourite with over 19m customers.
It can still be used with some great highsteet brands though, most notably Sainsbury’s, Argos, and Homebase.
When spending with Nectar you receive 1 point for every £1. Each point is worth a measly 0.5p, meaning it would take a £2,000 spend just to gain a £10 discount.
While that sounds poor (and it is), you can also earn points when buying on eBay even vehicles, and when filling up at BP petrol stations. The latter makes it a firm favourite for those that rack up the miles.
Points can be put towards money off your shopping, or redeemed against reward days and activities.
Note: The Nectar card could soon be revamped, and possibly made worse than it already is. Sainburys is trialing in a new system in the Isle of Wight, whereby shoppers no longer earn points on their final bill amount, but instead have their shopping habits tracked, and be rewarded with ‘special offers’ based on their buying history.
Any others we should consider? Let us know in the comments below.