How many loyalty cards do you have stashed away in your purse, bag, car and pretty much every draw in your house? We love to find a bargain and love a freebie even more, but do you know how much your free coffee is actually costing you?
With major coffee chains now investing in loyalty apps to replace traditional cards and stamps, TV's SuperShoppers, Anna Richardson and Andi Osho, went on a mission to uncover the best-valued loyalty card deal. And the results were surprising.
In this week's episode of the Channel 4 programme, Costa's loyalty scheme was criticised for being the worst way to bag a free coffee.
Costa Coffee award 5 points for every pound spent and for every point scanned you get a penny. Build your points and then you can redeem a free drink or snack. However, you only get points on every full pound spent, which means on a latte costing £2.65 you only earn on the full £2.
Ultimately, this means that you would have to spend a whopping £71.55 for one free 16oz latte! Yes really, you are paying over £70 to get one free coffee.
Costa was the worst offender, but the other two major chains were not far behind. To get a free coffee from Starbucks you need to get 15 stamps. This can be on a traditional stamp card or a virtual star via their loyalty app. Therefore, a free coffee from Starbucks will set you back £40.50.
The SuperShoppers found Cafe Nero to be the best-valued loyalty scheme of the three chains.For every coffee you buy you get a stamp and after nine stamps you get a free coffee.
This means you have to spend £25.20 to get your free coffee. So if you're equally happy with the coffee from all of these chains, and have access to them all, then Nero has the best loyalty scheme.
Alternatively, McDonalds are increasingly trying to get in on the action. Anna and Andi revealed that McDonalds have a simple deal that is also great in value. Buy six coffees and get your seventh free. This will only cost you £11.34, but the coffees are smaller than the big coffee chains at 14oz compared to 16oz.
Finally, it would be silly not to mention one of the most well-known, and best value, free coffee schemes around: MyWaitrose.
You have to sign yourself up to get a MyWaitrose card but once it arrives in the post you can head into store to enjoy a free coffee everyday! Scan your card at the checkout or Customer Service desk to get your cup and you are away.
If you visit one of the cafes, bakeries or deli counters for your free coffee you will have to make a purchase but there is currently NO minimum spend.
In conclusion, it seems it's important to keep your wits about you when it comes to coffee loyalty schemes. Make sure you are not spending more than you want just for the promise of a freebie later down the line...
SuperShoppers in on at 8.30pm every Tuesday on Channel 4
Jessica is a Senior Food Writer at Future and is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines and spirits.
Jessica writes food and drink related news stories and features, curates product pages, tests and reviews equipment and also develops recipes which she styles on food shoots. Some career highlights for Jessica include chatting to one of her favourite food writers and chefs Sabrina Ghayour for an interview in Country Homes and Interiors and having the opportunity to meet the legendary Michel Roux Jr. and Raymond Blanc.
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