High street store loyalty schemes

Working out which High Street loyalty schemes offer the best rewards

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BBC Watchdog's Dr John Haigh compares the loyalty schemes offered by five High Street stores to see which one offers customers the best value. If you spent £100 in each store, how much would you get back?
Loyalty scheme information correct as of November 2012.

Summary of right of replies:
"All the companies mentioned point out that there are many ways for customers to acquire extra points with special promotions and other opportunities throughout the year. They all say that customers with points can benefit from reduced price offers to theme parks and other events. They also say that their schemes have a very high level of customer satisfaction."


Dr. John Haigh: The simplest way to work out which Loyalty Scheme gives customers the best value, is to make the most basic comparison possible. If I spend £100 in store, which points scheme gives me back the most money to spend at that shop?

Here, I've some of the most popular High Street shops that have Loyalty Schemes; Tesco's with the Clubcard; Sainsbury's with the Nectar Card; Superdrug and their Beauty Card; Boots with their Advantage Card and I love a good book, so let's add Waterstone's.

Now to work out which offers the best value. First, the number of points. If I spend £1 in each store, how many points do I get?

With Tesco, it's one, with Sainsbury's it's two, with Superdrug, it's one, with Boots it's four and with Waterstone's it's three. Looking at the points alone, Boots, Waterstone's and Sainsbury's come out on top.

Does that mean that their points are worth the most money in the shop? Not necessarily, it depends on how much each point is worth. In Tesco's, each point is worth a penny; in Sainsbury's, each point is worth half a penny, so those two points are worth a penny, just the same as Tesco'; at Superdrug, each point is also worth a penny, so that's just the same; in Boots, each of these four points is also worth a penny, so in Boots, you get four pence and in Waterstone's each of these points is also worth a penny, so in Waterstone's for each pound you spend, you get three pence back to spend in store.

So, back to my original question, if you spend £100 in each store, how much do you get back from their Loyalty Scheme? In Tesco's Sainsbury's, Superdrug, it's all the same, £1 for £100 spend. But in Waterstone's, you get back £3 for each £100 you spend. And the Boots Advantage card is best of all, you get £4 for each £100 that you spend. Not bad at all!

And now for a quick disclaimer; of course you can spend your points on other rewards, we've just looked at the basic monetary value and there are other loyalty schemes available, so apologies if we haven't mentioned yours.

Quick tips for tutors

A short video where five High Street loyalty cards are compared for customer value. The presenter demonstrates which loyalty scheme offers the best return based on a £100 spend.
May be used in class to stimulate discussion around the featured story. Alternatively could be used to introduce the following topic: Money