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We may primarily focus on airline loyalty programmes and air miles here at TPG but there are a ton of other money-saving loyalty programmes that we also love and help us save money and maximise our travel adventures.
There are dozens of U.K. loyalty schemes out there – of which the Tesco Clubcard and the cross-retailer Nectar card are among the best known.
Both of the above work for travellers who use points and miles, albeit in different ways (their points earned from the loyalty programmes can be converted to Virgin Points and Avios respectively) – but there are other loyalty cards and programmes out there that have similar potential, if sometimes small, benefits for holidaymakers. The key thing to remember is that everything is cumulative, and even the smallest reward can eventually add up.
Here are a handful of loyalty programmes that may be worth signing up for, helping you earn on everyday spending, such as grocery shopping, buying toiletries, or even filling up your car with a tank of petrol.
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Good for: Collecting Virgin Points, earning points on everyday spending, and getting discounts on select items in your weekly food shop
Sign up here: Tesco
Tesco Clubcard is perhaps one of the best-known loyalty schemes in Britain– you can read TPG U.K.’s full guide here.
Though you can no longer transfer Clubcard points into Avios (its partnership with BA ended in early 2021), you can turn £1.50 of Clubcard vouchers into 375 Virgin Points, to boost your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club total. Essentially, you can get 2.5 Virgin points for every one Clubcard point.
So, how do you earn Clubcard points? Once you’ve got the card (or have it attached to your online account), you just do your usual grocery shopping at Tesco, picking up one Clubcard point for every £1 you spend. If you drive, fill up your car with fuel at Tesco and earn one point for every £2 spent. Once you’ve earned a certain amount of points, they’ll be collected into Clubcard vouchers, which you can then transfer into Virgin Points. Simple, really.
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Another benefit for Clubcard holders is that it can help save cash on shopping if they keep an eagle eye out for Clubcard Prices (reductions in prices) and various offers, both in-store and online.
Finally, if you’re keen to rack up even more Clubcard points, there is the Tesco Clubcard Credit Card –a no-fee Mastercard (alas with no signing bonus) that offers points for every transaction over a certain amount. Namely, you’ll get five points per £4 spent at Tesco supermarkets, five points for every £4 spent on fuel at Tesco, plus one point per £8 you spend at other shops and retailers. This is on top of the one point per £1 you’ll get from scanning your card, or shopping online.
Say you spend £100 a week (or £400 a month) at Tesco on your family’s food shopping, that’s 400 points (from your loyalty card) and 500 (from your credit card), totalling 900 Tesco Clubcard points, a £9 voucher or 2,250 Virgin Points per month.
Good for: Collecting Avios, earning points on everyday purchases and regular food shopping.
Sign up here: Nectar
If you’re an Avios collector, then it’s definitely worth also getting a Nectar account. If you’re yet to sign up, you can read TPG U.K.’s full guide here.
Similar to the Tescon Clubcard you can earn Nectar points on everyday transactions. 400 Nectar points can be transferred into 250 Avios, meaning your everyday shopping can contribute to your points-funded dream trip. Until 16 November you can also transfer Avios back to Nectar points at this same rate (250 Avios to 400 Nectar points), after this date this conversion rate will change so you need to convert 300 Avios to get 400 Nectar points. The Nectar to Avios conversion however will remain (for now) set at 400 Nectar points for 250 Avios.
The easiest ways to collect Nectar are to shop at Sainsbury’s (where many purchases, including fuel, will earn you one Nectar point for every £1 spent), as well as at Sainsbury’s Bank, Esso, Argos, Very, even eBay on eligible items. You can also earn by spending with Booking.com, British Airways, DFDS, Expedia and Nectar Hotels (plus more brands, listed on the Nectar website).
To amplify your Nectar-collecting ability, there’s also the Nectar American Express Credit Card, which has a £0 annual fee in the first year (£25 from year two), offers a bonus of 20,000 Nectar points (when you spend £2,000 in the first three months) and a friend referral bonus of 5,000 Nectar points.
Spending on this card gives you two Nectar points per £1 spent on virtually all purchases, but you’ll earn three points per £1 on purchases at Sainsbury’s, Argos and other Nectar partners — as you can double dip for that third point with your loyalty card. Say you spend £100 a week (or £400 a month) at Sainsbury’s on your family’s shopping, that’s around 4,800 Nectar points or 3,000 Avios earned per month.
Related: The ultimate guide to British Airways Avios
Boots Advantage Card
Good for: Buying travel essentials, earning points on regular purchases
Sign up here: Boots
With Boots Advantage Card, you collect four points for every £1 you spend in shops, online or via their app, meaning you’ll be racking up points every time you pick up toiletries, make-up, skincare or even a Boots meal deal.
Every point is worth 1p, meaning 1,000 points is £10 to spend. They quickly add up, and though you can’t use your points to get money off a purchase (only to wipe out the full amount), they may well come in handy for frequent travellers. Whether you travel by plane or train, you might find yourself in an airport or station Boots picking up some forgotten sunscreen, travel minis, flight socks, travel adapters, eye masks, or a disposable camera to document your trip… the list could go on.
A range of offers and discounts will be available to holders, too, potentially saving you a bit of money in the long run… though only if you aren’t tempted by sales prices, and only buy what you actually need.
Good for: Collecting Virgin Points, Avios or other airline rewards
Sign up here: Heathrow
In a nutshell: if you spend a lot of time (and money) at London Heathrow Airport (LHR), then you’d be daft not to consider joining Heathrow Rewards.
Generally speaking, you get one point per £1 spent at the airport, as well as one point for every £10 spent at Travelex exchanging money, with a sign-up bonus of 100 points. You’ll even get extra points when you splash out on expensive items from the airport’s designer shops.
You can transfer your points (at a 1:1 rate) to either Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, into Avios points for use with British Airways, as well as Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Emirates Skywards, among others. Check out our guide to Heathrow Rewards for the full list.
Related: The best points and miles promotions running right now
Superdrug Health & Beautycard
Good for: Buying travel essentials, earning points on regular purchases
Sign up here: Superdrug
Similarly to Boots’ Advantage Card, Superdrug has its own rewards scheme called the Health & Beautycard, which could be useful for travellers in need of a few essentials such as travel toiletries, skincare products, vitamins, etc.
You’ll earn one point per £1 spent, with 100 points equating to £1 to spend in-store – though crucially you can use your points to pay for part of a purchase if you prefer. You’ll also have the chance to earn extra points as you shop, with periods where quadruple points are on offer, as well as receive various offers and discounts.
Good for: Collecting Avios, getting money off travel products such as luggage and tech, and earning points on regular fuel top-ups
Sign up here: BPme Rewards
Previously, petrol station BP’s rewards scheme was linked to Nectar, but it now runs its own programme called BPme Rewards.
Essentially, you can earn every time you top up your vehicle, wash your car or by nipping into a BP garage for a snack – snapping up two points for every one litre of Ultimate fuel, one point for every litre of regular fuel, and one point for every £1 spent in a BP shop or car wash.
So, how does this help holidaymakers? Well, you can convert 40 BPme points into 25 Avios (though note you can’t turn Avios into BPme points), with an upper limit of 30,000 BPme points being turned into Avios per day. An alternative might be saving them up for Amazon or Marks & Spencer gift cards, to be used for big travel-related purchases such as new luggage, camping gear, clothing, cameras or other handy tech.
Related: British Airways is launching a new wine club where you can earn up to 15 Avios for every £1 spent
Good for: Saving money on your phone bill, earning cashback on everyday spending (even at stores without their own loyalty schemes).
Sign up to the app: Airtime Rewards
Airtime Rewards is a bit of an outlier in this list, as though its app rewards you for shopping at around 150 retailers like a traditional loyalty scheme, the reward comes not in point form but as cashback — which can only be used for the specific, immovable purpose of knocking some money off your monthly phone bill.
All you need to do is check if your phone provider will actually let you get the money off your bill (O2, 3, EE, GiffGaff and Vodafone are signed up) and be willing to download the Airtime Rewards app and submit your debit or credit card details, allowing them to track your spending and automatically apply the discount to your account’s wallet when relevant (but P.S. it won’t work for American Express cards).
Retailers signed up to Airtime Rewards offer varying percentages of cashback on your purchases, which could be anything from 1% to as much as 8%. Popular retailers the app lists include Boots (5% back), Argos (2%), Wilko (3%), New Look (2%), Halfords (4%), Currys (1%) and Waterstones (6%). Foodies can get money back from Wagamama, Zizzi, YO! Sushi and Ocado, while people who utilise public transport can get 8% cashback on LNER Trains.
How much you save depends on how often you shop at retailers like these, but it all adds up – and could knock the odd £5 or £10 off your phone bill, perhaps even monthly, meaning more to save for your next getaway. Or to help with any unexpected roaming charges.
Red by Dufry
Good for: Discounts on duty-free shopping, lounge access and even hotels
Sign up for the app here: Red by Dufry
Red by Dufry is the loyalty scheme for duty-free shopping at the airport, earning you points when you buy from Dufry shops – such as WorldDutyFree (which we have in the U.K.), ExpressDutyFree, Nuance (Asia, Europe and North America) and Hudson (U.S. and Canada), though tobacco purchases don’t count. You can use the discount and earn points at airport Michael Kors, Gap, Superdry, and Victoria’s Secret stores, too.
Sign up for the app and you’ll immediately get a Silver card (and QR code), which is scanned at checkout to earn five points per €1 EUR spent and get up to 5% off the price of your purchases. Other potential benefits, such as discounts on airport lounge access, various hotels, restaurants, museums and car rentals, are also worth exploring.
Over time, you can increase your discount. Once you’ve spent €400, you’ll have 2,000 and reach Gold status, giving you up to 7% discount – while spending €1,000 EUR gets you 5,000 points and up to 10% off your shopping with the Platinum card. A big bonus is that if your airport of choice is Heathrow, Dufry has confirmed you can also double dip and earn Heathrow Rewards at the same time as Red points – as well as redeem Heathrow Rewards as WorldDutyFree vouchers.
Related: Virgin Red vs BA Shopping: which one is most worth your time?
Good for: Earning point on book purchases, and getting money off your travel guidebooks and holiday reads
Sign up here: Waterstones
As far as rewards go, Waterstones Plus is relatively low stakes, but when it comes to maximising your travel, every pound saved is worth the effort. Particularly if you’re an avid reader, who can’t survive a long-haul plane journey without (at least) one book to delve into, need the latest holiday read for a day at the beach, or prefer exploring a new destination with a trusty guidebook in hand.
Simply, you get one Plus stamp for every £10 you spent in Waterstones shops, on the website or in its cafés. When you have 10 Plus stamps, you’ve got £10 to spend in-store. You might also get some useful offers. There’s an option for students, too, which offers the same stamps-to-cash scenario but adds a bumper 5% discount on most purchases.
Texaco Star Rewards
Good for: Earning points on regular fuel top-ups, and getting money off travel purchases such as luggage and tech
Sign up here: Texaco Star Rewards
Another rewards scheme for drivers, petrol station Texaco’s offering – called Star Rewards – has another straightforward premise, with one litre of fuel purchased equaling one point. When you have 500 points, you’ve got £5 to spend, either with Texaco or by converting your points into vouchers that can be used with various retailers – plus you get a 200-point sign-up bonus.
Most notably for travellers, Texaco points can be converted into a Love2Shop voucher, which can pay for or be put towards online purchases at Argos, Currys PC World, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Sports Direct – potentially saving you money on travel purchases such as luggage, cameras, or even just some new shoes. You can also use a certain value of voucher towards purchases with the National Trust, boosting any U.K. trips you might take.
Good for: Coffee lovers who want regular freebies while in transit
Sign up here: Costa Coffee
If you frequently find yourself drawn to the unmistakable mauve exterior of Costa Coffee when at any British train station or airport, then joining Costa Club – the brand’s loyalty scheme – is a no-brainer.
To be fair, there isn’t loads to think about here. When you buy eight (hot or cold) drinks, you’ll get the ninth free, or if you get your beverage in an environmentally-friendly reusable cup, you’ll only need to buy four to get your next freebie. A bonus is a free piece of cake on your birthday, too.
Costs can quickly add up as you wander the airport or while dipping into train station shops to buy snacks for your rail journey, so you might as well make the most of any savings.