Millions of us have one or more loyalty cards in our wallets, often with loads of points on them that we’ve never got around to cashing in.
Over three-quarters of the UK population are signed up to at least one loyalty scheme provider according to fin-tech company For Good Causes, with nine out of 10 of those people claiming they actively collect and redeem the points they earn.
However, loyalty points worth more than £7 billion are currently sitting unused, so if you think you might own a share, it’s time to dig out your cards and make the most of them, especially as some expire after a set time.
Here’s our rundown of some of the well known loyalty schemes that are available. Remember that there are plenty of others available, and many smaller independent retailers now offer these types of schemes too.
How the scheme works: You’ll get one Tesco Clubcard point for every pound you spend at Tesco online or in store. You’ll also get one point for every two pounds you spend when you fill up your car at a Tesco petrol station.
You’ll also benefit from the ‘Clubcard Prices’ scheme, which offers Clubcard holders significant discounts off of a range of products. Any items that are included in the scheme are marked with a promotional sticker, letting you know just how much you could save with your Clubcard
What are points worth? Every point is worth a penny if you redeem your points when shopping in store, so you’d need 500 points to get £5 to spend in store. If you’ve got 150 points or more, they’ll usually be sent out in vouchers to you every three months.
However, if you put your points towards Reward partner vouchers instead, they can be worth up to three times as much, so your 500 points could bag you a reward valued at £15.
For example, current partner deals include meals at Italian restaurant chain Pizza Express, where every 50p in vouchers can be turned into £1.50 to spend there. If you’re looking to cut holiday costs, every £5 in vouchers can be turned into £15 to put towards a holiday with Al Fresco Holidays.
You can find out more about how to spend your Tesco vouchers here.
When do points expire? Vouchers are valid for two years after they’ve been issued,or 21 months if you have requested Faster Vouchers.
If you think you’ve got points you might have forgotten about, you can get back the last couple of years of unused vouchers by logging into the Tesco Clubcard site and going to the ‘vouchers’ section under your Clubcard account. This will then show you any unspent vouchers, which you can either use online or print to use in-store. Alternatively you can download the Tesco Clubcard app to check whether you have any misplaced vouchers.
How the scheme works: Sign up for a Boots Advantage card and you’ll get four points for every £1 you spend. If you download the Boots app for the first time and make a transaction in store, you’ll get an additional 200 Boots Advantage points.
Boots also offers Advantage Card holders who are over the age of 60 a higher number of points when they spend, provided they’ve signed up to its Over-60s Rewards scheme.
Currently, those who belong to the Over-60s Rewards scheme get eight points for every £1 spent on Boots own-brand and exclusive products, which is double the points of a regular Advantage card. Over-60s are also entitled to 200 points when they take a free Boots Hearing Health Check. You can sign up for a Boots Advantage card here.
What are points worth? Each point is worth 1p, so 1,000 points is equivalent to £10. However, points can only be redeemed against your shopping in store, and not for any other rewards.
When do points expire? Boots says it will remove Boots Advantage Card points from accounts that haven’t been used for two years..
How the scheme works: John Lewis’s reward scheme, myJohn Lewis, doesn’t give you points, but instead offers you some exclusive benefits, offers and competitions.
What are the scheme’s benefits? Unlike some of the other loyalty cards listed here, myJohn Lewis membership provides a blanket set of benefits, rather than you building up points to receive vouchers. The benefits change from month to month, and include rewards, competitions, exclusive discounts on certain brands, personalised offers based on your shopping habits, member-only events, and a chance to win your John Lewis ‘wish list’ up to the value of £1,000.
You can find out more about my John Lewis and sign up for the scheme here.
When do points expire? There are no points to earn with the my John Lewis scheme, but the offers and deals that members can access are usually only available for a limited time before they are replaced with new deals. Deals and offers are also subject to availability.
How the scheme works: There are no points to collect with the myWaitrose scheme either. Waitrose is part of the John Lewis Partnership, but the myWaitrose scheme is separate to the myJohnLewis scheme.
What are the scheme’s benefits? Cardholders will get personalised money-saving vouchers that are released each week based on your shopping habits as well as exclusive savings such as 20% off meat and cheese counters every day and 20% off their fish counters on a Friday. MyWaitrose members also get a free Waitrose magazines, as well as discounts on dry cleaning and the Waitrose Cookery School.
You can sign up for a myWaitrose card here.
When do points expire? As you don’t earn points on your spending, there’s no expiry date. However, the offers and deals that myWaitrose cardholders can benefit from have an expiry date which varies depending on the particular offer. Deals and offers change regularly and are also subject to availability.
How the scheme works: The My Morrisons card is also a points free loyalty scheme, offering its members personalised offers, discounts and bonuses all managed through the My Morrisons app.
What are points worth? There aren’t any points with the My Morrisons card, but members do have access to a range of personalised offers in the form of digital coupons, offering money off their next shop. This could be money off of your favourite brand of laundry detergent, or could be a £5 voucher. On top of this, every time you shop you’re in with a chance of getting a basket bonus, which could be money off your shopping or a free item. Members will also have the opportunity to join My Morrisons Clubs, which offer exclusive discounts and treats based on your interests.
In an aim to use less paper and plastic, the My Morrisons scheme is digital, with members using an app on their phone to present their ‘card’ at the checkout, or their login details online. The only physical cards in use are the old Morrisons More cards, which have automatically been transferred to the new scheme.
You can sign up for the My Morrisons scheme here.
When do points expire? As there are no points for the My Morrisons scheme, they will not expire, however the personalised offers available will change regularly, in line with your shopping habits.
How the scheme works: You’ll earn one Nectar point for every £1 you spend in-store or online at Sainsbury’s, as well as getting one point for every litre of fuel when you fill up at a Sainsbury’s petrol station. You can also pre-select weekly bonus point offers, based on the things you buy often.
You can also earn and spend Nectar points at a wide range of other retailers. These are known as partner offers and the deals rotate frequent, but you could earn points by shopping on eBay, ao, Argos and more.
What are points worth? Each Nectar point is worth 0.5p, so you’d need 1,000 nectar points to get £5 off your Sainsbury’s shopping. Alternatively, you may be able to boost their value slightly by putting them towards things like meals out, holiday reading, or money off your next purchase at your favourite shop. For example, you can redeem your points at the Sky Store, getting a £5.99 voucher for 1,050 points.
Nectar offers the ‘Nectar Notifier’ which is an add-on to your web browser which can help you collect and spend points. For example, you can collect up to 200 points per month, just by using the Toolbar for your online searches, as you get 1 point for every 2 valid searches you make. The Toolbar also reminds you when you’re on a website where you can collect points. You also get 100 bonus points just for adding the Toolbar to your browser.
When do points expire? There’s no automatic expiry date for Nectar points. But if you don’t collect or spend any points for a year, your Nectar account will be closed.
You can find out more about how the Nectar card works and download the app for the scheme here.
How the scheme works: Asda has rolled out their Asda Rewards programme nationwide, a new app-based scheme to reward customers.
What are points worth? Asda Rewards uses pounds rather than points. Customers can build up their cash pot by scanning the app after a purchase, buying ‘star products’ or completing missions set by the app. This cash can then be exchanged for vouchers and used on future shops.
When do points expire? Asda vouchers last for 30 days in the app after you’ve bought them with your cash pot. They will expire afterwards.
How the scheme works: To become a Co-op member you have to pay £1, which buys you one share in the Co-op. When you make eligible purchases at the Co-op, 2p of every £1 you spend will go into your Membership account. You can spend this the next time you shop at the Co-op or save it up to spend whenever you want. The Co-op will also give 2p of every £1 you spend to the community. You can apply for Co-op membership here. Members may also receive a share of profits when Co-op announces its results.
What are rewards worth: As you get 2p back for every £1 you spend, that means you’d get £1 if you spend £50 at Co-op, or £2 if you spend £100. Local community initiatives and charities will get the same input from your spending, meaning that unlike other loyalty schemes, your money provides equal benefits to you and your local community.
When do rewards expire? If you don’t buy anything from any of the Co-op businesses and don’t use your Membership card for 12 months, any rewards you’ve earned in your Membership account will expire. Any local cause contributions you have made will still be given to a local cause, and any points (for a share in Co-op profits) won’t change either.
Marks and Spencer
How the scheme works: The Marks and Spencer Sparks scheme offers some exclusive deals, treats and a charity donation every time you shop. The scheme works through an app and a digital card, through which you’ll receive personalised offers and treats. The scheme previously had a physical card, but this was scrapped when it was relaunched in 2020.
Marks and Spencer have said that Sparks is a Digital First scheme which means that those using the Sparks app will get the best user experience, as they will be able to take full advantage of the scheme’s benefits. While the physical card will still be available, the most instantaneous experience will be through the app or online.
What are the scheme’s benefits? While you don’t collect points through your Sparks account, you will get a range of benefits, offers and free items by being a member. The key things Sparks provides are: personalised offers, based on what you like to buy, a donation to charity with every purchase you make, free gifts every now and then to say thank you, the chance to get what you’re buying for free and the opportunity to win thousands of pounds to spend at M&S, in store or online.
You can sign up to the Sparks scheme here.
When do rewards expire? Most offers will only be available for a short period of time and will change regularly, in line with your shopping habits. The best way to see how long you have for each offer is to download the Sparks app, which holds all offers, free items and treats.
How the scheme works: Through the Waterstones Plus scheme, you will get a virtual ‘stamp’ for every £10 you spend in store, online or in their cafes. Once you have 10 stamps, you will get £10 added to your Waterstones Plus account. You can then use your Plus account balance to buy pretty much anything from Waterstones’ range of books, stationery and gifts (exclusions apply).
What rewards can you get? The main rewards of the Waterstones Plus scheme are the £10 rewards you get when you’ve saved up 10 stamps. However, when you sign up, you will be asked whether you would like to receive the Waterstones Weekly email which they issue every Monday evening and details the week’s most exciting releases as well as access to signed and special editions, and early bird entrance to festivals and events.
Members will also get early access to seasonal offers and sales, as well as the chance to eter prize draws for free. Waterstones Plus will also give their members exclusive treats on the anniversary of the schemes launch, usually around the end of August.
You can sign up for a Waterstones Plus account here.
When do rewards expire? If over the course of 12 consecutive months, you do not collect, redeem or check your Plus balance, your account will expire.
How the scheme works:Members of the Costa Club can earn free drinks by building up points known as ‘beans’ on their card or app (Great Britain only).
What rewards can you get? For each drink you buy from a Costa store or Costa Express machine you earn one bean, or two beans if you bring a reusable cup to use in a store. Once you’ve built up eight beans, you can receive a free drink of any size in store. This means that you can get a free drink after only four visits to Costa if you’re using a reusable cup. You can also get free cake on your birthday, and app users can get exclusive discounts and extra beans.
You can sign up to the Costa Club here.
When do rewards expire? Beans collected via the updated Costa Club scheme will expire if a member has not used the mobile app or their card to either earn beans or redeem free drinks vouchers for 12 months since the last transaction. Free drink vouchers earned via collecting beans will expire six months after they have been issued.
How the scheme works: Sign up for the Greggs Rewards loyalty scheme and you also get treats rather than points when you spend there.
What rewards can you get? There are six categories that you can collect stamps for when you buy something from Greggs. If you collect nine stamps in any one of the categories, you will get the 10th product from that category for free.
You’ll receive a free hot drink just for downloading the app. You’ll also be sent a code which you can redeem for a complimentary sweet treat on your birthday, such as a cupcake, cream cake or doughnut.
When do rewards expire? The hot drink reward expires 31 days after it’s added to your account. Greggs reserves the right to cancel your Greggs Rewards account if it has not been used for 12 consecutive months.
How the scheme works: Download the McDonald’s Rewards app and you can earn one point for every penny you spend at McDonald’s.
If you have any McCafé stamps from the company’s previous rewards scheme, these will be converted into points automatically.
What rewards can you get? Once you earn enough points, you can redeem rewards at the counter, kiosk or in the drive-thru. 1,500 points will get you a side, while saving up 2,500 or 4,000 points can net you a main menu item.
You’ll also get a free Cheeseburger or Vegetable Deluxe just for downloading the app, and receive 1,500 bonus points on your first order.
When do rewards expire? Your points will expire on the last day of the 12th month after you have earned them.
Pret a Manger
How the scheme works: Download the Pret Perks app to earn stars with every shop at a Pret a Manger location.
If you already have a coffee subscription with Pret, you’ll also earn stars every time you renew this, or buy an item alongside your drink.
What rewards can you get? Once you earn ten stars, you can exchange them for a reward from a set list of products, such as popcorn, a cookie or a croissant.
When do rewards expire? Stars expire one year after you were last active within Pret Perks, while rewards will expire after 30 days.
You should never base your decision on where to shop on whether they offer a loyalty scheme, as your top priority should be to find the best possible deals. However, loyalty schemes are well worth using if you are shopping somewhere that offers one. Just make sure you use any points or rewards before they expire.
Have you got any tips to boost your loyalty points? If so, we’d love to hear from you. You can join the conversation on the Rest Less Community forum or leave a comment below.