Earn Points For Your Shopping
It’s always nice to think that you’re earning money without having to do anything and retailers’ loyalty schemes are a perfect example of this idea. Many high street stores and supermarkets will have some sort of system whereby you are able to collect ‘points’ based on how much you spend in each transaction. These points then accumulate over time and once you reach certain milestones you are able to translate them into vouchers. The vouchers might be for money off your bill next time you shop at the store, or you might choose to redeem them against other treats or experiences. Often, these points can be collected in exactly the same way via the store’s online shop and many companies who are solely based on the internet offer reward schemes as well.
How to Earn Points
It really couldn’t be more simple. You simply need to enquire about loyalty schemes at the customer service desks of the stores where you usually shop, or you could visit the stores’ websites and find the information there.
Once you have the relevant registration forms you will need to fill them out and return them. Many stores will send you out a card (which will be of exactly the same dimensions as a regular credit or debit card) that you will use every time you shop. If you are shopping online, you will be able to enter your unique card number on the website so that you are credited with the points in the same way. Often, you won’t even need to remind yourself to use the card, as checkout staff are trained to ask each customer if they have one just before you pay for your goods. You will also be reminded online, as the process is fully automated. If it’s a website where you shop regularly, it might even be worth using the option to securely save your details so that you don’t have to enter them each time.
It really is that easy! You just shop in exactly the same way as you would have done before, but now you’ll be getting more value from your spending as you’ll be earning points as well.
Where to Earn Points
So, now that you’ve learned how to get going, it would be helpful to know about all the different places that offer these loyalty schemes.
Nectar - this is one of the biggest schemes and it spreads across many different retailers. You can earn points when you do your supermarket shop at Sainsbury’s, when you do your DIY shopping at Homebase, when you buy fuel at BP stations, when you book your holidays at Expedia - in fact, the list is so extensive that it’s probably easier just to visit the website and take a look on there.
Tesco Club Card - obviously, this is the reward scheme associated with Tesco, but despite being a single retailer Tesco now stocks far more than just food you will find that the points stack up more quickly than you’d imagine. The system applies in exactly the same way to Tesco’s online outlets, so you can purchase items like furniture and electronic appliances online and earn points for those transactions as well.
Other supermarkets - Unlike Tesco and Sainsbury’s, the other two major supermarkets - Morrisons and Asda - do not currently offer a loyalty scheme where you can earn points every time you shop. Morrisons do, however, offer you the opportunity to earn points if you fill up with petrol or diesel at one of their fuel stations and you can then ‘spend’ the points in their stores. Visit Morrisons.co.uk for more details. With Asda, you have the chance to apply for one of their credit cards, through which you can earn cashback when you use it to purchase your Asda shopping or Asda fuel.
Boots Advantage Card - the Advantage Card from Boots lets you collect points on any purchases you make at Boots, either in store on on their website.
Department store loyalty cards - there are many examples of these and they are not always combined with a store card (for which there might be a hefty interest rate if you don’t pay off the balance in full each month). Visit the websites for your preferred store - such as John Lewis, House of Fraser or Debenhams - to find out more and to discover how to apply.
Other high street retailers - as mentioned previously, many high street retail chains offer their own rewards schemes. Examples of these include The Body Shop and Waterstone’s. Food and drink outlets may well operate similar systems as well, even if they are fairly basic. Costa Coffee, for example, gives you a stamp on a for every transaction and once the card is full you can exchange it for a free drink.
Independent stores - my local boutique card and gift store has a similar system to that of Costa Coffee, for example, so it’s well worth enquiring next time you’re visiting your local area and seeing if other, smaller stores offer any incentive system too.
How to Maximise Your Point-Earning Potential
Many supermarkets and larger retails now have an associated financial services business. This means that you are able to get, for example, a Marks and Spencer credit card which you can use anywhere that you’d normally be able to use a credit card. However, if you use it at Marks and Spencer (in this example) you will earn extra rewards and be informed about special promotions and offers that won’t be available to all customers. Other retailers providing such a service include Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and John Lewis, although there are many more.
Having a financial services arm means that these institutions are also able to provide things like car insurance and home insurance and if you purchase these you will be entitled to yet more rewards points.
Just a word of caution - even though these offers seem appealing, you should never consider taking out financial agreements which you will not be able to uphold. There is little point earning more Nectar points if you are seriously in debt and cannot repay your loans, so think carefully before you agree to take out store cards or credit cards. Store cards, in particular, are notorious for having very high interest rates so always read the small print. If you are unsure about any aspect of what you are being asked to sign then seek out advice. A good place to start would be a website such as MSE.
How to Redeem Your Points
Once you have collected all these points, you will obviously wish to redeem them at some point. How you go about doing this will vary from store to store, so it’s best to check out the specific details for your cards when the time comes.
To give you an idea, you can use your Tesco Clubcard points to get vouchers off your Tesco shopping, but you can also use them for many other things as well, such as vouchers for restaurants like Pizza Express and tickets to theme parks. The vouchers are often given a higher value if you trade them for experiences such as these, so don’t always assume that it’s best to just take them off your shopping.
With Nectar it is similar in that you can either get money off your Sainsbury’s shopping, or you can trade your points for vouchers to use elsewhere.
Boots require you to have saved up the exact amount (or more) of points that you require to purchase the intended item before you can redeem them, i.e., if you wanted to buy a £15 eyeshadow you would need at least £15 of points. Other schemes don’t always require this, so if you had a Sainsbury’s shop that came to £100, you could use £50 of Nectar points and then settle the balance using a different method of payment.
As the schemes all have their own slightly different rules, you will need to check with each store as to the details. Once you’re using them regularly though, you’ll soon get used to how they work. Also, as all these schemes are free to join, there is no harm in registering with them all and saving as much money as possible on future purchases!