Supermarket loyalty schemes can provide good offers and promotions, but you’ll need to spend an eye-watering amount before you can walk away with a free item, a study has found.
Analysis by comparison website Finder found someone with a loyalty card at Tesco (TSCO.L), Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) or Morrisons (MRW.L) would need to spend an average of £10,300 ($12,878) to get the UK’s average weekly shop amount of £62 for free.
Sainsbury’s and Morrisons loyalty programmes give you 0.5p for every £1 spent, meaning you would have to spend £12,400 to earn enough points to cover a £62 weekly shop. This would take the average shopper four years.
Tesco customers are rewarded with 1p for every £1 they spend, meaning it would cost £6,200 and take nearly two years to get a free weekly shop.
If you were hoping to get a free meal deal worth £3 at any of the stores above, you would need to part with an average of £500. However, at Tesco it would cost £300 to do this, which is half of the £600 needed at Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.
On average, you would have to spend a hefty £10,700 to earn enough points to be able to get an Oral-B Pro 2000 electric toothbrush — or the closest alternative — costing £60, for free. The cost rises to £12,000 at Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, Finder analysis found.
With summer approaching, many Brits will be stocking up on suncream, but in order to get a 200ml bottle of Piz Buin sun cream worth around £6 using loyalty points, you would need to part with an average of over £1,000.
To use loyalty points to buy £10.50 Nivea face cream, an average spend of £1,700 is required, and to get a free tube of toothpaste costing 90p you would need to buy £146 worth of items on average.
“Loyalty schemes can be a good way for consumers to access great deals and offers, but as our research shows, they differ a lot and may not always be the best deal out there.
Separate research by Finder in 2018 found almost half (46%) of Brits spend extra at supermarkets to be rewarded with more loyalty points — something that customers should be careful of, it warned.
“If you have already earned enough points to buy the item you want, then this is when loyalty points can work really well,” Georgia-Rose Johnson, shopping specialist at Finder, said.
“However, If you are having to spend more to get enough points to get a discount or even to get the item for free. then in the long run the item will have ended up costing you far more.
She added: “Plus, the item could be cheaper at another store so it's always worth doing your research before making the purchase.”