Does loyalty pay?

How to get your points to make prizes

1. Loyalty cards have been around in the UK since the 1980s. Today, around 92% of Britons have a least one card. Tesco Clubcard, Nectar and Boots Advantage are the most popular.

2. The cards award points depending on how much you spend in the store offering the card. For retailers, they offer an invaluable way to gather information on customers.

3. Don’t get too excited about loyalty card points: they are not generous and collecting them should not sway your choice of retailer. If something is cheaper from another store, always go for the cheaper option and forego the points. 

4. How you get your rewards depends on the card. Nectar (points awarded by Sainsbury’s, BP, Argos and others) gives you money on the card which you can redeem against future shopping. Tesco Clubcard sends out vouchers.

5. You’ll need to be very loyal to get anything worthwhile. Points are doled out depending on where you spend and what you buy. Tesco, for example, gives you one point per £1 spent in its supermarkets but you get only one point for £2 spent on its petrol or diesel.

6. There’s no point in having a loyalty card and not using the points you’ve accumulated. There’s many millions of pounds of unredeemed rewards.

7. Watch out for special offers. With Tesco you can boost your points and spend the increased total on days out and other things.

8. Loyalty cards can be managed online. You can keep tabs on different cards through a single app or use the card's own app. Morrisons, for example, has an one for its More card (which gives you a £5 voucher once you’ve accumulated 5,000 points). You can even feed the loyalty card data into a mobile payments system like Apple Pay or Google Wallet.

9. Rather than save a few pounds on shopping, you could collect points for flights. You’ll get the best deal if you sign up for a special credit card: Amex offers Avios miles on some of its cards and there’s a special British Airways Amex. Virgin credit cards also give points towards Virgin Atlantic flights.

10. Finally, don’t forget to get a Waitrose loyalty card. Money off shopping, yes – but also a free cup of tea or coffee while you shop. Due to complaints from Waitrose customers that this deal was attracting the wrong sort of clientele ( you now have to buy stuff rather than just roll up for a free cuppa.


More stuff:

  • Check out for more information on loyalty cards.
  • An app to store points and balances from all your loyalty cards can be found at
  • For information about credit cards, see our quick guide Be Card Sharp here.


Last updated 8 November 2016.