Tesco’s £7.99 Clubcard Plus: Is it worth paying for money off?

Customers can pick which spree they want to apply the discount to

Tesco is launching a new loyalty scheme this week, which the supermarket claims will save customers £400 a year.

But what does Clubcard Plus offer and is it worth the £7.99 a month subscription fee?

The main sell for Clubcard Plus, which launches on Friday, is its offer of 10 per cent off ‘big shops’ each month. This covers two shops of up to £200 each. Customers can pick which spree they want to apply the discount to, but this must be done at the till and cannot be applied retrospectively.

Customers can pick which spree they want to apply the discount to

Customers can pick which spree they want to apply the discount to

Families who spend at least £80 on one shop a month would cover the cost of the subscription. Those who spend the maximum of £200 twice a month could save £40, or around £32 after the monthly fee. Over a year you could save £384.

But there are restrictions. You must shop in-store as the discount does not apply online. And certain items, such as fuel, Lottery tickets, tobacco, baby formula milk and gift vouchers, are excluded.

Under the scheme, you will also get 10 per cent off selected Tesco brands such as F&F, Tesco Pet and Go Cook.

Tesco mobile customers will be offered double data and, next year, those with a Tesco Bank credit card will no longer pay foreign exchange fees abroad.

To get the perks, you need to scan a barcode at the till via a smartphone app, so if you don’t have a high-tech phone you won’t be able to use the clubcard. The offer renews automatically every month, but you can cancel at any time.

The existing clubcard scheme will continue for those who do not want to upgrade. With this, you earn one point for every £1 spent in-store and online. On fuel, it is one point for every £2 spent. 

Vouchers are sent to you every three months, or you can download them onto the clubcard app.

To earn £5 in vouchers, you’d need to spend £500. Points can be worth far more if you use them with partners such as Cafe Rouge and Prezzo.

Does loyalty pay, or is it just inertia?

What’s the difference between loyalty and inertia? Do we get too little reward for the former and show too much of the latter when shopping and banking?

That’s the question Simon Lambert, Lee Boyce and host Georgie Frost tackle in this podcast.

It comes as Tesco – one of the original loyalty scheme pioneers – revealed its new paid-for Clubcard Plus, costing £7.99 per month.

Meanwhile, Nationwide Building Society has also announced it is scrapping its hugely popular loyalty savings accounts held by 1.6million people.

Press play above or listen (and please subscribe if you like the podcast) at Apple PodcastsAcastSpotify and Audioboom or visit our This is Money Podcast page.     

The main sell for Clubcard Plus, which launches on Friday, is its offer of 10% off ‘big shops’

The main sell for Clubcard Plus, which launches on Friday, is its offer of 10% off ‘big shops’

Andrew Hagger, from personal finance website MoneyComms, says: ‘If you’re a regular Tesco shopper, with a decent size weekly grocery bill, it makes good sense to sign up.

‘Say you had a couple of £80 shops during the month, that’s £16 saved against the £7.99 monthly fee. It’s not going to make you a millionaire, but that’s nearly £100 extra per year without changing your shopping habits, and it’s without the other in-store discounts on F&F and Tesco branded homeware.’

But Anika Newjoto, editor of reward scheme website Shopper Points, is not a fan.

She says many credit cards offer 0 per cent foreign exchange fees as well as other benefits such as cashback. And that other benefits, such as discounts on Tesco brands and double mobile data, are unlikely to be important to many people.

While families may benefit from 10 per cent off two big shops a month, Ms Newjoto says that this is not reflective of current shopping habits. She says: ‘The trend is towards doing smaller shops every few days in order to buy fresher produce. This scheme seems stuck in the 1980s, in the days of the big weekly family shop.

A Tesco spokesperson says: ‘Customers are always looking for ways to make their money go further, and will appreciate the money they save through Clubcard Plus. These savings will help make the budget go further, especially in the run up to Christmas.’

Marks & Spencer also has a subscription-based loyalty scheme called Premium Club. For £10 a month you get £40 of vouchers to spend on clothing and homeware every year, 48 hot drinks vouchers worth £132, and £45 of ‘treats’ vouchers every three months. And you earn three points for every £1 spent on your M&S credit card.

Other supermarkets offer free loyalty programmes. With Sainsbury’s Nectar scheme you earn one point per £1 spent at Sainsbury’s. When redeemed in-store, they usually work out at 0.5p a point, and it is currently running a special event that allows you to get double for your points. 

With Sainsbury’s Nectar scheme you earn one point per £1 spent at Sainsbury’s

With Sainsbury’s Nectar scheme you earn one point per £1 spent at Sainsbury’s

You need to get your double-up vouchers before you start shopping. Today is the last day to apply online via the Nectar website. You can get digital vouchers via the new Nectar app between November 13 and 19. You must spend the vouchers in-store in this timeframe, too.

Waitrose customers do not earn points with MyWaitrose card — instead you are offered exclusive discounts and a free hot drink every time you shop.

Morrisons’s More Scheme offers five points for every £1 spent in-store, online and in its cafes. You also get five points per litre of fuel. A £5 voucher is paid for every 5,000 points collected.

Retailer Costco charges £15 a year to order goods online. This allows you to use the website to buy in bulk, which can work out cheaper. You can also find household goods at wholesale prices. 

Individual membership costs £28 a year. To qualify for this you must work in certain industries, such as banking, local government or education, or be retired from these jobs.

It is worth checking sites such as mysupermarket.co.uk to ensure you get the best deals. 

 

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