Tesco has launched a loyalty subscription scheme called Clubcard Plus that costs £7.99 a month – or just under £100 a year. But is it worth paying a fee to get discounts?
Clubcard Plus is available to Tesco Clubcard members who use the app. Those who choose to upgrade to the paid-for scheme will get access to four benefits including:
- 10% off two in-store ‘big shops’ of up to £200 every month
- 10% off selected Tesco brands in store, all the time
- double data for Tesco Mobile pay-monthly customers
- access to an exclusive Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card (from 2020).
We take a closer look at each benefit, and whether the new fee-charging loyalty scheme can save you money.
How much could you save on groceries with Clubcard Plus?
The most enticing offer for Tesco shoppers is likely to be the 10% off two ‘big shops’.
There’s no lower limit on what counts as a ‘big shop’, but a maximum of £200 does apply. Alcohol is included, but not products that are part of other offers such as 25% off six bottles of wine.
In our analysis, we found that those who spend around £40 twice a month would just about break even. If you spend less, you stand to lose out unless you’re able to take advantage of the other perks.
|Value of your ‘big shop’||10% saving on two ‘big shops’ each month||Gross savings over a year||Net savings over a year after subscription cost|
Are there any exclusions?
Fuel, lottery tickets, gift cards, savings stamps, postage stamps, tobacco products, prescription medicines, newspapers, magazines and carrier bags are excluded from the promotion – so if these make up a large part of your shopping, you might not feel the full benefit of the discount.
It’s also worth noting that if you don’t use both ‘big shop’ discounts in a month, you can’t roll them over into another month. So you’ll need to plan your supermarket trips carefully and remember to show your voucher code on the app at the till.
How much could you save on Tesco brands?
You could save much more if you regularly buy Tesco brands.
Under the scheme, you will always get a 10% discount on F&F clothing, Fred & Flo baby products, Go Cook kitchenware, Tesco Pet, the Carousel toy range, as well as Fox & Ivy homeware. You’re not limited to just twice a month on these ranges.
Meanwhile, a family of four with two school-aged children spends on average £200 a year on school uniform, so they could potentially save £20 a year with 10% off F&F clothing.
And pet owners spend on average £250 a year on food and treats, so they could save £25 a year with the 10% discount on the Tesco Pet range.
Just remember to double-check the saving against going for a cheaper product from Tesco or another source.
- Find out more: discover which supermarket is the best value for your food shop in the cheapest supermarkets compared
Is the Tesco Clubcard credit card a good deal?
Tesco says the Tesco Bank Clubcard Plus Credit Card will be an exclusive product available to members from 2020.
It will offer 0% on purchases for 12 months, no fees on spending abroad, and Clubcard points on purchases.
Overall the card will have a representative 37.7% APR, because it factors in the £7.99 monthly subscription – but for purchases the APR is 19.9%.
Tesco says that someone who uses a card charging a typical 2.75% foreign exchange fee could save £17 if they were to spend £633 while on holiday (the average holiday spend, according to the Office for National Statistics’ travel trends report).
However, while the card does offer some decent features, it’s always worth comparing to see whether you could get a better deal elsewhere.
There are plenty of providers that offer longer 0% periods or fee-free spending abroad, and don’t require a £7.99 monthly fee.
- Find out more: you can compare 0% purchase, travel and rewards credit cards on Which? Money Compare.
Is Tesco Mobile worth switching to?
New and existing Tesco Mobile pay-monthly customers can double their data using the Clubcard Plus scheme.
Tesco Mobile got a Customer Score of 79% in our latest survey, and is also a Which? Recommended Provider.
So someone on a 2GB plan paying £7.50 a month could double up to 4GB, which would usually cost £10 a month, meaning a saving of £30 over a year.
Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, says that average data use was up 25% year on year in 2018. But if you don’t use a lot of data or don’t want to switch to Tesco Mobile, this offer won’t benefit you.
- Find out more: we review Tesco Mobile in our analysis of the best and worst UK mobile networks
What to watch out for
If you want to try Clubcard Plus but don’t have the Tesco Clubcard app, you’ll need to download it from the Google Play or Apple app store.
Tesco says about one million of its 19 million Clubcard customers have the app and, for now, this is the only way you can sign up to the scheme.
The two main discounts that save you money on groceries are only available in store, so if you do your grocery shopping online you won’t benefit at all.
Tesco claims that around 92% of sales happen in its stores, compared with 8% online – so the scheme will be serving a large base of its loyal customers.
Should you sign up to Tesco Clubcard Plus?
Tesco claims the scheme could save its 19 million Clubcard customers more than £400 a year – but the savings will vary depending on how you use the scheme.
The savings could exceed £400 if you max out the 10% discount on two ‘big shops’ each month and make use of the other three perks.
But then again, you may struggle to make any savings at all if you can only use one or two benefits and don’t spend that much in Tesco.
In any case, Tesco says you can cancel the subscription whenever you want, so it may be worth signing up to see if it suits your spending habits. It may be especially helpful with the added cost of Christmas. If not, you can stick to the fee-free Tesco Clubcard scheme, which will still be available.
- Find out more: discover how the Tesco Clubcard scheme compares with Boots Advantage, Nectar and more in our guide best and worst supermarket loyalty schemes
Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Money Compare is a trading name of Which? Financial Services Limited.
Please note that the information in this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice. Please refer to the particular terms and conditions of a provider before committing to any financial products.