High street coffee shop loyalty schemes are 10 a penny, and you may find that you end up with an abundance of loyalty cards weighing down your purse.
Each scheme offers you points every time you buy a coffee, with the reward of a free coffee when you fill up the card.
Different coffee shops require you to buy a different amount of coffees before bagging a free coffee, and some offer points for other things as well.
With the ongoing cost of living crisis meaning that many of us will be choosing which café chain to visit based on which one sells the cheapest coffee, let’s take a look at which loyalty card scheme is the best value for money.
Which coffee shop has the best value loyalty card?
We looked at loyalty schemes from Costa, Starbucks, Caffe Nero, McDonalds, Greggs, Grind and Pret A Manger and have ranked them here in order of best to worst value.
We found that out of these seven popular chains, McDonald’s was the best value.
Their McCafe loyalty scheme gives you a free coffee after you buy just five hot drinks.
The cheapest coffee at McDonald’s is a regular black coffee at £1.49, meaning you would have to spend just £7.45 to get a free coffee.
2. Pret A Manger
Pret A Manger’s loyalty scheme gives you a star every time you buy something in store and scan the code in your Pret app.
If you get 10 stars, you get a perk (which could be anything from a free croissant to a coffee ).
The cheapest coffee at Pret is a filter coffee at £1.70, meaning you would have to spend £17 in store to get a freebie.
Pret does offer a 50p discount to those who use a reusable cup in store though, so if you used one every time you bought a filter coffee this would cut the price of a free treat down to just £12.
Costa Coffee has the next best value for money loyalty scheme.
At Costa, you have to get eight ‘beans’ to get a free coffee (each coffee purchased = 1bean).
However, if you bring your own reusable cup you get an extra bean so you could get a free drink by just buying four coffees.
The cheapest coffee at Costa is a flat back, at £3.20, meaning that if you brought in a reusable cup every time you would have to spend £12.80 to get a free coffee.
Greggs offers loyalty scheme customers freebies on coffees, pastries and more.
You just have to buy nine items in the same category (for example nine coffees) and you get the 10th free.
The cheapest coffee at Greggs is an Americano, which costs £1.60, so you would have to spend £14.40 to get a free coffee.
5. Caffe Nero
The next best scheme comes from Caffe Nero.
Caffe Nero’s loyalty scheme requires you to get nine stamps (one coffee = one stamp) before getting a coffee free.
However, like Costa, it also gives you an extra point for using a reusable cup, meaning you only actually have to buy five coffees to get one free.
The cheapest coffee at Caffe Nero is a regular Americano at £3.20 meaning that, if you used a reusable cup every time you bought a drink you would have to spend £16 to be entitled to a free coffee.
Additionally, you can also get a free coffee just for downloading the Caffe Nero loyalty scheme app using a referral link, and two free coffees for every person that signs up through a referral link you send them, meaning you can technically get multiple free coffees from Caffe Nero without spending a penny.
London based coffee chain Grind gives loyalty scheme customers one point for every £1 spent in store.
You have to get 35 points to get a free coffee, meaning you have to spend £35 to bag a freebie.
The cheapest coffee on the menu at Grind is an espresso at £2.90, meaning you would have to buy 12 of these before being entitled to a free coffee.
Starbucks has by far the most expensive loyalty scheme.
Loyalty customers get three points for every £1 spent and need 150 points to get a free coffee, meaning you would have to spenda whopping £50 on coffee to be able to bag yourself a freebie.
An Americano costs £3.80 at Starbucks, so you would have to buy 13 of these before getting a freebie.
Starbucks also charges 5p extra for customers that use a takeaway cup.
It is important to note that loyalty card points may expire after a certain amount of time.
You can check whether your points will expire on each individual coffee shop’s website.
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