A loyalty scheme for earning rewards with Mastercard has been closed, leaving customers with no way to redeem their points.
The Ice scheme ceased trading last week, around 18 months after it first partnered with Mastercard to offer an ‘ethical’ loyalty program to cardholders.
So, if you’ve built up a balance of points, what will happen to your account?
Which? looks at what’s happening to the bonus scheme and what steps customers can take to redeem their balance.
What is the Ice loyalty scheme?
Under the Ice scheme, you could earn points for spending cash in more than 300 shops, pubs and restaurants. Only businesses that met a criteria for being ‘environmentally conscious’ were able to sign up.
Retailers participating in the program included M&S, John Lewis, Harvester, Toby Carvery, travel agents First Choice and All Bar One.
Anyone with a Mastercard could sign up to the scheme, and it could be used alongside other discounts and loyalty schemes.
While the rewards varied between retailers, typically you could earn one point per £1 spent. Each point was worth 1p, though some were worth 2p when redeemed at selected shops.
- Find out more: Mastercard joins ‘ethical’ loyalty scheme
Can I redeem my Mastercard Ice points?
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to redeem the points you’ve accumulated through Ice. The terms and conditions of the scheme, which Mastercard customers would have agreed to when signing up, allow it to ‘automatically void’ accounts if the business goes into administration.
Indeed, you won’t even be able to log on to the Ice website to check your points balance.
The site has been replaced by a statement from the company, reading: ‘It is with the greatest regret to inform you that Ice has now ceased trading.
‘The directors will be seeking shareholder approval to put the company into voluntary liquidation.
‘In accordance with Ice’s published terms and conditions, any Ice points in circulation cannot now be redeemed and the company has no liability for unredeemed points.’
Can Ice loyalty customers still claim?
If you believe Ice owes you money, you could try registering as a creditor. To do this, you’ll need to contact the person handling the company’s administration, which you can find through the Companies House website.
You should provide your contact details, and tell them how much you’re owed.
However, there’s no guarantee this would succeed, especially if you haven’t redeemed the points for cash.
What are the alternative loyalty card schemes?
If you’re looking for a new way to earn points, there are still a number of major retailers offering loyalty cards.
The Sainsbury’s Nectar card includes a range of retail businesses, including eBay and BP. You can collect points by making purchases online and instore.
Generally, members get 0.5% back in points after every shop. However, Nectar also occasionally runs promotions offering more points for every pound spent.
One of the UK’s longest standing loyalty schemes, you’ll earn points with the Clubcard when you shop at Tesco or its partner retailers.
Each point is worth 1% of your total shop. You will need to amass 150 points before you can redeem them.
Marks and Spencer
This scheme allows you to collect points each time you shop at the department store – however, you can’t redeem them in-store.
Instead, you can trade points in exchange for exclusive instore events, and be alerted about sales and promotions before other shoppers.
Rewards credit cards
Another option for earning while you spend is a rewards credit card.
Some will offer you perks, such as air miles or hotel stays, while others offer a percentage cashback on your spending.
Keep in mind that these cards often have high fees, so you make sure you’ll earn more in rewards than it costs you. The credit card interest also tends to be high, meaning you should aim to pay off your balance in full each month.
You can find out more in our guide to the best cash back credit cards.