Loyalty cards – are they worth it?

Loyalty cardsMy purse is absolutely jam packed with cards. Credit and debit cards, membership cards to various organisations, my library card, but mostly ridiculous numbers of loyalty cards! It is just as well I don’t carry much cash, because there is very little space left for that.

As I only use about 4 of my loyalty cards, I am planning a cull. I need to decide which ones have the best benefits and which are worth keeping. Are loyalty cards worth the bother?

My most used loyalty cards

Boots Advantage card

My Boots Advantage card has to be my favourite. I like the shop and can easily pop in on my way home from work as we have a large out of town one. It seems quite generous too, giving 4 points (effectively 1p) for each £1 spent. Generally I save my points up for Christmas or the post Christmas sales.

However, I am aware that sometimes I can buy a product cheaper somewhere like Superdrug or at Sainsbury’s, which is also on my way home. I might not get the points, but saving money on my purchases comes first.

I look out for my double points vouchers and keep them in my purse. It is also worth making a note of mega points weekends. If I know one is coming up I will hang off buying regular purchases such as vitamins.

Tesco Club Card

I barely shop in Tesco’s as I prefer Aldi and Lidl. However, I keep my loyalty card because I sometimes pop into the Tesco petrol station near me. I also have my mobile phone deal with Tesco so earn points on that.

Tesco has always offered great deals when redeeming your points. They are worth a whole lot more if you spend them on a Club Card Boost deal rather than in store. We tend to mostly use ours for cinema tickets, but there are some excellent offers on restaurants, days out, etc – even on breakdown cover.

This loyalty card is worth having, but I wouldn’t shop in Tesco just for the  points as I save more money overall in the discount supermarkets.

Sainsbury’s Nectar card

I used to save up my Nectar points for my Christmas shop. Now I have my Nectar account linked to my eBay account, so I can convert my points into a voucher to spend on eBay.  This works for me, as I use eBay a lot, but, like the Tesco Clubcard, you can use your points to purchase all kinds of products and experiences. I also stop at Sainsbury’s for petrol and collect points that way.

Coop Card

We have a small Coop round the corner that is really handy when we run out of something like milk, so we use it quite a bit. However, I wouldn’t do my main shop in a Coop store. I love the ethos of the organisation, but the big supermarket near me is expensive and the fruit and vegetables aren’t great quality some of the time.

We all use the small local store often enough to receive a decent annual dividend though – usually around £20 at least. This card is worth keeping.

The thing that annoys me about the Coop is that we have two different organisations covering our town, and you can’t use one card in the other. Not very joined up!

And the rest

Also in my purse I have cards from Iceland, Superdrug, the Body Shop, Pets at Home, Holland and Barrett and the Wyevale Gardening Club. The latter is the only one I use. I am going to dispense with the others!

What’s the point?

The point of loyalty cards is, obviously, to promote your loyalty and get you to keep shopping in a particular store. But retailers don’t lose out or give you something for nothing. I am quite sure they build the cost of their loyalty cards into their general prices! This is why shops like Aldi and Lidl don’t bother with them. They focus on keeping their prices low. But if you are going to use the shops anyway, you may as well collect the points.

It has been worth collecting my points throughout the year on some of my loyalty cards, but to be honest I have earned more money using cash back sites in the past 4 months than I have the whole year on the cards! Over £100 on Top Cashback and £50 on Quidco.

I always check them to see if they have any cash back offers before buying anything online. At the moment Top Cashback has a great deal for new members. If you purchase a makeup palette from Superdrug you get a full cashback of £13, effectively getting the palette free. This could be another Christmas present off your list. (This is my tell a friend link).

What about you? I would be interested to know which are your favourite loyalty cards and how you spend your points. Do you use cashback sites or do you find it all too much trouble?


8 thoughts on “Loyalty cards – are they worth it?

  1. I have a similar amount.

    The Body Shop got culled long ago. They charge 10CDN$ for a years membership. I really don’t spend enough in there to justify the card. I think I only got it because the salesclerk told me it was her first day!

    I use airmiles a lot. They are linked up to a drug store and a couple of supermarkets for bonus points. So I save the points and use them to pay for groceries throughout the year and put the money into an envelope to use for vacation money.

  2. I have very few so-called loyalty cards. I think the main reason for the companies offering them is not to help us, the customers, but to keep a check on what we buy; they have a profile of our spending.
    Husband and I each have a Waitrose card which enables us to get ‘free’ coffee (free? Of course it’s not free; we pay for it in the goods we buy), a free newspaper (ditto), and a free store magazine (ditto again.)
    I also have a Boots advantage card but I don’t really buy sufficient products to stack up the points. I think I have about £15 on that right now, not exactly a fortune.
    I don’t shop in Tesco or Sainsbury, seldom in Asda (although I went specially to Asda recently for some lidded casseroles to use with our new small extra freezer) and I’ve never shopped in Iceland, so don’t have their cards. I have considered a Morrison’s card but again, we only go to our local Morrison’s now and again, it’s such a large, noisy store, people shouting, tills making a racket, music often blaring out, it’s far noisier than Waitrose and therefore I avoid it simply because it’s just so awful (I have to say that the Morrison’s in a nearby town, which will remain nameless, is much nicer.)
    If I am parting with my money it matters to me that I actually like the store, so it’s Waitrose for food and Lidl for household products.
    I have a House of Fraser card as I once bought something there and was persuaded into having one, but have never used it.
    I have a M&S card but when I’ve bought some things online recently, I forgot to include the details of this card as so seldom does it come out of my wallet.
    I have a Co-op card and that seems the only sensible one, as that card gives me money on every item I buy and although I don’t use the Co-op often, and usually only for their wholemeal bread which we like, I have stacked up about £12 since the summer, again hardly a fortune. The Co-op sometimes hands out vouchers for reduced-price items, but often those items are not available in the small Co-op that I visit.
    I use my Wyevale Garden Centre card when I visit our local Wyevale, but mainly we use a different garden centre which doesn’t have a loyalty scheme, we simply prefer that garden centre.
    I’ve never stacked up much money using these cards. For me, they’re hardly worth the faff of applying for them or dragging them out of my wallet.
    Margaret P

  3. We’ve got so many that we have a separate ‘shopping wallet’ that we keep them in. Only problem is, you invariably end up leaving it at home when you’re out and about and happen to need it! We mostly use the Tesco Clubcard credit card for points on petrol, so that’s definitely worthwhile.

  4. I have one loyalty card for Boots, but as I buy very few of that kind of thing and normally go to Lidl or Superdrug, I have a card there, too. I gave up my Tesco one, as I rarely shop there either, because I came to the conclusion that I was telling the world my details and that just let to a load of junk in the email box. I don’t buy many brand items. I had a stint of couponing but it wasn’t worth it really as I was happy with Aldi/Lidl and I was sick of checking for deals etc on the computer when I could be doing something much more interesting.

  5. I mainly use Nectar and Co-op cards. I shop at other supermarkets and shops, but not really enough to add up to anything substantial. We used the Co-op for a funeral earlier in the year and ended up with a substantial amount on our card. We used some of the money to buy some kitchen appliances (coffee grinder, food processor and a toasted sandwich/waffle maker).

    I don’t shop online often, but have used cashback sites in the past, have to be honest I don’t do it as a matter of course, but other than hay for my rabbits I maybe spend £50 a year online shopping.

  6. My Iceland and Nectar cards get used weekly – in fact I just paid for today’s £60 Sainsbury’s shop with points and it barely made a dent in them!
    My Subway card is a favorite – I got 3 free footlongs this week to use up points as I was near the max!
    I keep them just in case we go there again. I got £2.50 off a present at Waterstones that I didn’t even know I’d accrued.
    I won’t go out of my way to collect points on all the others I hold (various restaurant ones mostly), but eventually they add up to a free meal or starter, or can be used instead of money when the month lasts a bit too long!
    I’ve joined Quidco as they did a deal where if you bought £10 of chocolate they’d credit you £15, as they’d pay for the postage too – so seeing as I was going to buy sweets for Halloween anyway …! But I never think to look at it for everyday stuff so am not getting the most out of it.

  7. Hi Jane
    Like you I had too many loyalty cards. My purse was stuffed full! I got fed up and changed to using an App called Stocard to store them on. I now keep the actual cards at home in a tin and show the virtual card on my phone at the till. Morrisons More is good, I use it a lot and like you I mainly use Tesco and Boots.
    Not all retailers can scan the bar code; they have to input it manually but at least I get the points and I now use a small purse again.

Comments are closed.