Retailers are continuously inventing ways to entice customers to spend money and one of the best ways is to offer some form of loyalty scheme, many via a loyalty card, where you earn points which can be converted to money or vouchers, each time you spend.
How do they work?
Each time you spend money in store or online you will earn points from as little as 1 point for every 20p up to 1 point for every £1. Each store loyalty scheme will differ in the way you collect and spend collected points. Most retailers will also offer ways to earn additional points from buying certain items to vouchers and double or treble point weekends.
What can you spend your points on?
Each store will differ. The Boots scheme allows you to collect points and spend then in store giving you the option to save up for something a bit more expensive or you can redeem point as money off your shop. I quiet like to save my points and buy something nice as a treat for myself.
Tesco offers all sorts of different ways to spend your points from monetary vouchers which you use towards your weekly shop, the option to double up the amount of vouchers and use them towards special days out for the family, meals, magazine subscriptions, even holidays or flights.
Additional points can be collected each time you fill up at one of their petrol stations, use their credit card or mobile phone, or on their insurance products. Tesco also lets you can earn points with selected gas and electricity suppliers.
Nectar points was originally a scheme started by Barclaycard but became a joint venture between Sainsbury’s and BT. Nectar points have become so popular you can now collect points from e-stores (online stores) such as Amazon,Play.com, eBay, iTunes, various High Street stores and their own credit card.
Like Tesco, there are various ways to spend your points from specific items to holidays, flights and more.
How to collect more points
Each Loyalty scheme offers different incentives and ways to collect additional points to boost your total. Tesco has an on-going offer where they double every point you earn, and every quarter they send a statement of the points you’ve collected, money off vouchers and extra points vouchers. Other schemes also send you ‘earn extra points’ vouchers to boost your total.
What to watch out for
Whilst these special offers seem to be a good idea, you should still be careful. If you can earn extra points on certain items make sure you actually use the items before you buy. The amount of points you could earn might equate to 10-20p but could cost you an additional £1, so if you don’t use the item are you actually gaining anything?
Some offers and vouchers have expiry dates so “if you don’t use you lose” which would be a real shame. If you use multiple supermarkets you might find you don’t collect points very quickly and you may find you have small amounts on each instead of a bigger amount on one.
Keeping up to date
Most schemes give you online access to your account so you can keep up to date with your total, and check if you are entitled to any special offers.
The Tesco Clubcard has occasional special offers where you can double your points in certain departments. You can either double up and spend in store or go online, taking all the hassle out of your shop.
Nectar points have an online service allowing you to see how your points are adding up, and giving information on the stores where you can earn additional points.
Most schemes will also send you a paper statement although these are mailed less frequently, as the preferred method for communication continues to be online.
Make sure you get the most out of your shopping and get a little something back, all loyalty schemes should be free to sign up to.
Just remember every little helps and it always makes you feel good to know you are getting something back. Most schemes offer great deals and double up points around Christmas and other occasions – keep your eyes peeled for the next offer as you might miss out on something good.