Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Iceland and Co-op all offer Christmas schemes, and there’s a trick to get the bonus without risking your cash.
The idea behind these supermarket savings schemes is to help people gradually save up some money that can be used at Christmas when food bills are usually higher.
As an incentive, some supermarkets offer a small bonus, normally between 2% and 6%. It seems like a decent way to get a little extra right?
Well, I’ve a few issues with these schemes which mean I don’t think they’re wise ways to save on a regular basis (more on this in a second).
However, you can take advantage of a loophole where you can get the full bonus paid out and you’d only need to “save” your cash for a day or two.
Here’s how they work, and how to get the best return possible.
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Why I’m not a fan of Christmas saving stamps
First, these are marketed as alternatives to saving at a bank. Well, any money held in a bank is protected if the bank goes bust. If these supermarkets were to go under or you lost the gift card or voucher once it’s been paid out, you’d lose all your money.
You’ve also got less flexibility of how, when and where you spend your savings via these schemes. They tend to require you to spend your stamps in December, and obviously you can only spend them at one retailer.
Not only does that restrict the supermarket you use, but if you have an emergency you can’t use the money you put into stamps for any other reason. You might also not get change from your vouchers, pushing you to buy things you don’t need to hit the voucher value.
In previous years there were also better savings options for people who want help to save regularly in the build-up to Christmas. These plummeted, but rates have begun to improve, and it’s possible to get up to 3.5%.
So generally I’d say stay clear. But there is a trick where you can avoid most of the pitfalls but gain the free bonus.
How the loophole works
Here’s the cash hack. The bonus on these cards isn’t paid until a set bonus day. So it’s only the amount saved on that date that counts. Plus there’s no requirement to save each week or month to use these schemes.
This means you can instead pay in as much as you can (up to the set limits) just before the scheme closes. Literally on the final day if you want.
Say you put in £120. You’ll then be entitled to the same bonus as someone who’s saved £10 a month since last Christmas.
Until you do this, you should be paying your money into a high-paying current account. So you’ll have earnt money in those accounts too. Double win!
But just make sure you’re aware of the risks and limitations with each card, such as deadlines to spend the money on your supermarket Christmas card.
The Christmas saver schemes
I’ve explained each of the main schemes and their deadlines below. But before you try this trick out yourself, do make sure you can spend the amount you save at that supermarket in the time given.
We are talking about small amounts of money unless you buy multiple cards. So it’s only worth the effort if you are shopping at those retailers anyway.
Asda Christmas Savings Card 2023
You can collect your card in-store, and then register it online.
The deadline to add funds onto an Asda Christmas Savings Card is 5pm Sunday 12 November 2023. The bonus will be applied by 9am on Monday 13 November.
The bonus increases the more you save
- £1 bonus when you save between £30 and £79
- £3 bonus when you save between £80 and £129
- £6 bonus when you save between £130 and £179
- £9 bonus when you save between £180 and £229
- £12 bonus when you save between £230 and £279
- £15 bonus when you save £280 or more (max amount per card)
With this and all the other schemes, those savings are not cumulative. So put £80 on the card and you’ll only get £3, not £1 for the first £70 and another £3 for getting over the £80 threshold.
However, you don’t need to put the money down gradually – you can do it in lump sums. We’ve found that you can put up to £140 in at a time, so you can make two payments to get the full amount available.
The most effective way to do this is to keep your cash in a savings account, and then pay whatever you can afford by 12 November to earn the bonus.
With the highest level (£280) it’s the equivalent of 5.3% extra free. If you only save £79 it’s 1.25% extra.
There’s no limit to how many cards you can have. This could be useful if you’re short of hitting the bottom of a new level. For example, it’s better to have two £30 cards than one with £60.
Also you can use them all year round, not just in December.
There’s also a school uniform scheme that works in the same way but pays out in August.
BEST VALUE: £280 earns £15 = 5.3% bonus
Asda Rewards Cashpot 2023
The scheme works by allowing you to transfer money earned from your regular Asda Cashpot to the Christmas Saver Cashpot. The maximum amount you can transfer is £300 in total.
You can pay into your Cashpot until 19 November to get the bonus, which will be added to your Cashpot balance between Monday 20 November and Friday 24 November 2023.
The bonus you earn depends on how much you transfer:
- £1 bonus when you save between £10 and £19
- £2 bonus when you save between £20 and £24
- £3 bonus when you save between £25 and £39
- £5 bonus when you save £40 or more
You can then choose to convert your Christmas Saver Cashpot into vouchers to spend at Asda in-store or online from Friday 24 November 2023 until Sunday 31 December 2023, after which they will expire. Vouchers range from £1 up to £100.
Co-op Saving Stamp 2023
You buy actual physical stamps with the Co-op scheme. Each stamp costs £1 and you put them in a booklet which you can use at the till whenever you want.
But to get a bonus (£2) you need to have filled a full book, which is 48 stamps. Hand this over at the till and you’ll get £50 knocked off your bill. That’s the equivalent of 4% extra. This bonus is only available in December, though you can use and buy the stamps every month of the year.
There’s no limit to the number of cards you can have, so you can have multiple cards to add stamps to. But make sure you don’t lose your cards as there’s no protection.
So the best option here is to buy 48 stamps just before you want to shop. Stick them all in, then hand it over. As with Morrisons, you will need to spend the full amount. So that’s a shop of £50 or more.
BEST VALUE: £48 earns £2 = 4% bonus
Iceland Bonus Card Christmas boost 2023
This scheme from Iceland runs all year so isn’t technically a Christmas scheme, but the loophole works the same. You get £1 for every £20 you add to your account, worth 5%. The bonus should be added within 48 hours.
At various points in the year, often in November, Iceland gives a boost. In 2023 you’ve got until 3 November to top up by £100 to get an extra £15 added on top of the standard bonus. That makes it a £20 Christmas bonus. This cash will be added to your card by 24 November.
You can use the app or pick up a temporary card in Iceland stores, and will be posted a full card once you register online.
There’s a limit of £1,000 that can be added to your card and cards expire 24 months after you last use them.
BEST VALUE: £100 earns £20 = 20% bonus
Morrisons Christmas Savers 2023
The cut-off point to buy stamps is 30 October 2023. The total saved and bonus added will be converted into a voucher to use in-store or online. You have to select on your My Morrisons account which you want. If it’s in-store you have to collect them yourself.
You also can’t get change from a voucher. So if you have a £100 voucher you need to spend £100 or more in a single transaction at the till.
The maximum bonus you can get is £6. It’s calculated as follows
- £1 bonus when you save between £49 and £96
- £3 bonus when you save between £97 and £145
- £4 bonus when you save between £146 and £193
- £6 bonus when you save £194
The biggest return is £3 when you spend £97 or £6 when you add £194, gaining you 3%. I’d be wary of adding too much to this card as you need to spend your voucher in a single transaction, and there’s the end of the year deadline to spend it.
BEST VALUE: £97 earns £3 = 3% bonus
Sainsbury’s Christmas Club 2023 (including Argos)
The money you save on the Sainsbury’s Christmas Club card can be used online and in-store at Sainsbury’s and Argos. The bonus is worth 5% on every £50 you save.
The deadline for this one is 1 November 2023. Whatever you have on the card by 11:59 pm that evening will be used to calculate the bonus. There’s a minimum of £50 and a maximum of £500. Here’s how much you’ll get:
|Card balance||Bonus Value|
|£0.00 – £49.99||£0.00|
|£50 – £99.99||£2.50|
|£100 – £149.99||£5.00|
|£150 – £199.99||£7.50|
|£200 – £249.99||£10.00|
|£250 – £299.99||£12.50|
|£300 – £349.99||£15.00|
|£350 – £399.99||£17.50|
|£400 – £449.99||£20.00|
|£500 and over||£25.00|
You can only add money to the card in a Sainsbury’s store, both at a normal and self-service checkout.
The bonus will be added to your card by the end of November and you’ll have until the date printed on the card to use it.
BEST VALUE: every £50 earns £2.50 = 5% bonus
Tesco Christmas Saver 2023
There isn’t long left to pay into Tesco’s 2023 Christmas Saver, as the deadline is 18 October 2023. If you’re thinking of saving into it, here’s how it works.
You can top-up your Clubcard points throughout the year at the checkout or customer services till, from 50p to £360. Bonuses are up to 6% and are calculated as follows:
- £1.50 bonus when you save between £25 and £49.50
- £3 bonus when you save between £50 and £99.50
- £6 bonus when you save between £100 and £199.50
- £12 bonus when you save £200 to £360
You get the top-ups and any bonuses sent as vouchers in your November Clubcard statement, alongside any Clubcard vouchers you’ve earned. You can then spend them in Tesco online, in-store or on petrol. You can’t boost them with Clubcard partners.
The bonus vouchers are only valid for two months and expire if not used. And they won’t be replaced if lost.
The larger top-up vouchers (i.e. the money you add to your account) are valid for two years, so there’s no rush to spend them at Christmas.
BEST VALUE: £100 earns £6 or £200 earns £12 = 6% bonus
Saver scheme deadlines
To make sure you don’t miss out, here are the last dates to add money to the schemes for 2023:
|Supermarket||Last date to add money||Maximum bonus|
|Tesco||18 October 2023||6%|
|Morrisons||30 October 2023||3%|
|Sainsbury’s||1 November 2023||5%|
|Iceland||3 November 2023||£20 with £100|
|Asda||12 November 2023||5.3%|
|Co-op||TBC (Likely 31 December 2023)||4%|