Is the new credit card loyalty scheme from Marks & Spencer Bank any good?
For a monthly fee you can earn extra points and freebies each time you use an M& Bank credit card. I’ve taken a look at how it works and how it compares to other reward and cashback credit cards.
What are M&S Club Rewards?
M&S Bank Club Rewards is a scheme that launched in summer 2021 for new and existing M&S credit card customers. You don’t need a special card as it’s available on all existing and new cards from the bank.
In return for a £10 monthly fee you’ll earn extra points on spending and get discounts and freebies at M&S, such as free hot drinks throughout the year.
There’s no fixed term membership, so you can cancel at any time, and sign back up later if you wish.
What you get from M&S Club Rewards
Vouchers are issued every quarter. Here are the headline offers:
- 2 extra points per £1 spent in M&S with an M&S credit card
- 3 extra points per £1 spent abroad
- 32 hot drink vouchers to use in M&S Cafes (8 vouchers per quarter)
- Free next day delivery at Marksandspencer.com
- £12 M&S voucher to spend at M&S Foodhalls on your birthday
- £20 voucher to spend on clothes or home at Christmas
- Three £15 vouchers to spend on clothing or home (sent spring, summer and autumn)
Andy’s Analysis: Can you pay less for the same rewards?
Since you don’t need to pay for a full year, my instinct is to treat these Club Rewards like a monthly subscription that you only use when you have something to buy at M&S. So you sign up, make your purchase and then cancel. And repeat as necessary. It could save you a tenner here or there.
But, I wonder if this approach could also get you all the vouchers? If you could time this so you make your purchase when the big money vouchers are sent out you’ll be quids in. So you’d pay £10 and get either a £15 or £20 voucher to spend, along with eight coffee vouchers.
You’d obviously need to know the dates the vouchers are sent out, but it could net you £77 of vouchers for £40, with the free coffees on top. Nice.
Sadly that might be too good to be true. Reading the terms and conditions, it says vouchers of at least £5 will be sent out each quarter. This makes me think you’ll get one £5 for each month you’ve been signed up for previously rather than all the vouchers in advance.
If any of you try this, do let me know how it goes and whether this approach could be a way to save some money.
How much are the M&S Club Rewards worth?
Let’s assume you’re paying for membership for a full 12 months, costing £120. Can you get enough from the freebies to justify this? Let’s take a look at the real value of each reward.
The money off vouchers
These clothing and home money off vouchers are worth a combined £65, and the food voucher £12. As long as you would shop at M&S for food, clothes or home throughout the year anyway this is effectively money you’d already spend.
The coffee vouchers
The big saving will be for coffee drinkers who are going to pick up a free coffee roughly three times a month. Each coffee in M&S Cafe ranges in price from £1.75 to £3, to in total this would be worth £56 to £96.
The free delivery
Delivery from the M&S website is £3.50 on orders under £50, so if you are regularly doing this, you’ll be quickly saving that money with the M&S Club Rewards benefit.
But if you’re able to collect orders under £50 to a local store you’re already not paying for delivery, which I think most people would manage for lower orders.
The extra points at M&S
Depending on which M&S Bank credit card you have, you will probably earn:
- 1 point per £1 spend in M&S (the equivalent of 1%) or
- 2 points per £1 spent (often for the first year and the equivalent of 2%)
For spending outside of M&S you’ll earn:
- 1 point per £5 spent (the equivalent of 0.2%)
This means that I think M&S credit cards are only worth it for these rewards if you regularly spend a decent amount at M&S – though you can match this ongoing 1% with the Amex Nectar card.
When you factor in the extra points for spending in M&S, you’ll now get the equivalent of 3% or 4% back in M&S vouchers. That’s a big jump.
But you still have to spend large amounts for it to make a difference on that fee. Here are some example returns:
|Annual Spent||Additional value in points|
Points on overseas spending
As for the points on overseas spending, this is worth the equivalent of 3% back on these purchases. But you need to factor in the fee you’ll be charged by M&S Bank for using your card abroad. This is currently 2.99%. So you’re effectively getting fee-free overseas transactions as an M&S Club Rewards member – something available for free elsewhere.
Are M&S Club Rewards worth it?
When you look at the rewards above, only the £77 worth of food, home and clothing vouchers are dead cert spends for most M&S customers. If we deduct this from the £120 annual charge it means the real cost of the further benefits is £43.
This is the key figure to deciding if you’re getting value. If we remove the free delivery and overseas spending points from the calculations, reaching this total depends on how much you spend at M&S or if you’re a coffee drinker.
Coffee first. If you use 14 vouchers for the top price drink, you’re just £1 away from all the extra benefits not costing you anything. Great. But if you’re not a coffee drinker, or don’t have an M&S Cafe you can get to, then these are essentially worthless.
Alternatively, you need to spend £2,600 there in a year to reach £43 in points. But you have to be going to M&S frequently, and spending an average of £216.67 a month (on top of those vouchers) to reach this.
Of course, you could combine these extras, which might make reaching the £120 total more achievable. But even then I’d think most people will be getting very little extra back from the £120, if anything at all.