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How loyalty schemes can help you save as the cost-of-living soars


For millions of households, discounts on food through loyalty schemes are turning from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a necessity

As the rising cost of groceries hits a 14-year high of 13.1 per cent, households are desperately seeking ways to cut their bills. The hike of the Bank of England base rate to 2.25 per cent last week will pile even more pressure on household bills, by pushing up mortgage and loan payments. 

For millions of households, discounts on food through loyalty schemes are turning from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a necessity. 

But reward schemes vary wildly in generosity and change frequently. For example, from November, Sainsbury’s is slashing loyalty rewards for 1.8million of its credit card holders. Here, we compare the top loyalty schemes and reveal the best strategies to maximise savings. 

Loyal following: Reward schemes vary wildly and are constantly changing ¿ but they are worth having

Loyal following: Reward schemes vary wildly and are constantly changing – but they are worth having

Tesco Clubcard 

Tesco’s Clubcard loyalty scheme is one of the most straightforward. It provides one point for every £1 spent in the supermarket and on its website. You also get one point for every £2 spent on fuel at its petrol pumps. Every 100 points collected is turned into a discount voucher worth £1. 

However, the supermarket’s exclusive Clubcard discounts may be less useful if you are really trying to drive down your bills. This is because the deals, which change all the time, tend to be on big brand names. Even with the discounts factored in, its own-brand alternatives are often cheaper. 

Current offers include ten Birds Eye fish fingers reduced from £2.50 to £1.75 and Kellogg’s Cornflakes cut from £2.85 to £2.50. Tesco own-brand fish fingers and cornflakes cost £1.50 and 90p respectively. 

You can boost the value of your points by spending them with so-called ‘reward partners’ – including Pizza Express, Zizzi, RAC and Virgin Atlantic. For example, at Pizza Express, a Tesco voucher of 50p is worth £1.50. 

Sainsbury’s Nectar 

Customers receive one Nectar point for every £1 spent at Sainsbury’s or Argos. Two points are worth a penny off your shopping at the supermarket – so spend £100 and you get 50p off your next bill. Spending on a Sainsbury’s credit card will earn you even more Nectar points. But watch out as from November 1, the number of points you earn will drop from two points for every £1 spent to one point for every £2 spent. 

To make the most of Nectar offers you can spend points at partners also signed up to the scheme. These include coffee chain Caffè Nero – where 350 points can get you a free latte – eBay, Esso and British Airways.

Asda Rewards 

Customers using Asda Rewards do not earn points – instead they build up a ‘cashpot’ that can be spent at the supermarket. 

You must download an app on to your smartphone and then scan it when paying for your groceries. But you can only build up money for the cashpot from some 400 socalled ‘star products’. 

These include essentials such as fruit and vegetables to school uniforms – with the star clearly marked in the store. 

Typically, a tenth of the amount spent on star products is transferred to your cashpot. You may save more on the occasional special offers, such as a back-to-school deal where customers could bank £5 into the cashpot if they spent £25 on George-branded clothes.

My Morrisons 

This scheme affords members special offers, rather than points for spending. Customers must download an app or sign up for a physical discount card to receive offers. Recent ones include 15 per cent off salads or £6 off if you spend £60 in the supermarket. You scan your phone or card at the checkout to take advantage of the deals available. Al Baker, who offers money saving tips on the website The Penny Pincher, says: ‘Deals on offer are few and far between – but as every penny counts, it is still worth considering.’ 

Although the loyalty scheme is relatively basic, Morrisons says it tailors discounts according to your spending habits, so you might find it becomes increasingly useful.

MyWaitrose 

Customers who sign up to the myWaitrose loyalty scheme are provided with a selection of vouchers that offer savings on certain groceries – either via their phone app or sent through the post. 

Discounts are targeted according to what you normally buy. The offers are limited but can be generous if you have predictable spending habits. You can get 20 per cent off selected cheese, fish or meat counters on given days of the week. Members also receive five per cent off dry cleaning with Johnsons the Cleaners. Waitrose has also teamed up with insurer Vitality to offer 25 per cent cashback on foods that are branded with a ‘good health’ logo.

M&S Sparks 

THIS loyalty scheme is offered as a smartphone app. Members receive special offers, such as £2 off when you spend £15 on flowers and plants or 30p off a coffee at the M&S cafe. Members also receive customised offers from time to time, such as a free packet of sweets with your shopping. Deals are claimed at the checkout by scanning your phone. 

If you do not shop at M&S for a while, you may be offered special deals to lure you back. 

Lidl Plus 

A smartphone loyalty app from this discount supermarket gives customers ten per cent off their next shop up to a maximum of £20 if they spend at least £250 in the store over a month. It is a straightforward option, but most likely to benefit frequent shoppers at Lidl. 

Cashback offers 

Websites that offer cashback are also worth considering to further cut the cost of groceries. These include JamDoughnut, a website where you can find occasional discount codes that can be used towards your supermarket shopping. 

Recent special offers include three per cent off a Sainsbury’s shop when you spend between £20 and £50 and four per cent off an Asda grocery shop costing up to £200. Other cashback websites include Shopmium and CheckoutSmart. You must remember to claim discounts before they expire. 

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