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 scheme too.
How the scheme works: You’ll get one Tesco Clubcard point for every pound you spend at Tesco online or in store, and when you fill up your car at Tesco petrol stations.
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 Prezzo, 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.
According to Tesco, there are around £17 million worth of forgotten Clubcard vouchers currently waiting to be claimed – enough to cover over 650,000 weekly shops. These vouchers have gone unclaimed for nearly two years and if they aren’t spent by 29 February they’ll expire for good, so check now to see if any of them could be yours.
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 10 points for every £1 spent on Boots own-brand and exclusive products, but this will drop to eight points from 18 March.
However, it’s still worth joining the scheme if you haven’t already, because even at the new reduced rate, you still get double the points of a regular Advantage card, as well as access to exclusive over-60s events and prize draws. Over-60s are also entitled to 200 points when they take a free Boots Hearing Health Check and can get 25% off prescription glasses and sunglasses at Boots Opticians. 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, my John Lewis, doesn’t give you points but every £1 you spend either online or in-store, provides you with an entry into a prize draw.
What are the scheme’s benefits? You can win prizes such as a weekend break away through the prize draw and you also get access to clearance and special events before other customers, along with a mix of offers and vouchers throughout the year and invitations to exclusive local events.
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 cardholders 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? myWaitrose cardholders who buy something in-store and scan their myWaitrose card can get a free cup of tea or coffee to drink in the supermarket or take away. You must take a reusable cup with you though as Waitrose no longer provides disposable takeaway cups in an effort to be more environmentally friendly.
Cardholders also get the chance to win member-only prizes and experiences, such as tickets to food festivals, cases of wine and events at 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 Morrisons More card gives customers five Morrisons More Points per pound spent in store.
What are points worth? When customers earn 5,000 points they receive a £5 voucher – known as the Morrisons Fiver. Customers will also earn 10 points per litre of fuel, and extra points on promotions in store and online.
If you prefer to manage your points on your mobile, you can download the Morrisons More app. This will allow you to receive personalised offers and find all your Morrisons club benefits in one place.
When do points expire? The points you earn don’t expire, but once you’re issued with your £5 vouchers, these vouchers will expire within 12 months.
How the scheme works: You’ll earn one Nectar point for every £1 you spend in-store or online at Sainsbury’s, and 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. At most partner online shops such as Asos, for example, you’ll collect 2 points for each £1 you spend, whereas for memberships or contracts, you’ll usually collect a fixed rate of points, for example 1,000 points when you sign up for a mobile phone contract. There are also weekly bonus points available. You simply select the offer shown on your Nectar account and you’ll be taken to the relevant shop.
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 1,000 points.
Nectar offers the ‘Nectar Toolbar’ 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 doesn’t currently have a loyalty scheme for its supermarket shoppers, but it is trialling a George Rewards loyalty scheme online for those who buy from its George clothing and homeware brand. You can sign up for the scheme here.
When you shop you earn points which can be redeemed for offers, services and events. Customers earn one point for every £1 they spend. You get 100 points when you sign up to the scheme. You’ll also get an extra 20 points every time you leave a review on a product you’ve bought, and 50 points when you refer a friend to George Rewards.
What are points worth? It’s difficult to say, as points are used to unlock different rewards. For example, when we signed up, 100 points gave us access to a prize draw to win a £150 voucher for George.com, whilst 300 points would give you access to a 10% discount off all new in clothing, shoes and accessories.
When do points expire: Points will expire 12 months after the month you last logged into your account.
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, 5% of what 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 1% of what 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 5% of what you spend back, than means you’d get £2.50 if you spend £50 at Co-op, or £5 if you spend £100.
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 5% reward you’ve earned in your Membership account will expire. Your 1% will still go to a local cause, and any points (for a share in Co-op profits) won’t change either.
How the scheme works: Lots of restaurants and coffee shops offer loyalty schemes which give you free drinks or food rather than points. For example, users of the Toby Carvery app earn one stamp every time they order a main meal at a Toby Carvery restaurant. When you download the Toby Carvery app for the first time, you’ll also get 25% off all main meals on your next visit within 28 days as well as offers and rewards sent to your phone.
What are stamps worth? If you collect five stamps, you’ll get a voucher which you can redeem for a free dessert. Only one stamp can be claimed each day.
Once you collect 10 stamps, you’ll receive a voucher for a free roast which you can use from Monday to Saturday.
When do rewards expire? Rewards must be redeemed within 28 days of receiving them. However, Toby Carvery is introducing a new loyalty scheme shortly, so any unclaimed rewards from the current scheme must be used before 2 March.
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? If you’re a member of the scheme and buy seven hot drinks, you’ll get your eighth one free.
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 and you’ll be entered into monthly prize draws to win £50 to spend in Greggs shops.
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.
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.