Members of Waitrose's loyalty cards programme will no longer be able to get a totally free tea or coffee – from next month, anyone wanting a 'free' hot drink will first need to make a purchase. But if you're annoyed by the change, you can still get a cuppa for just a few pennies.

Introduced in 2014, Waitrose's free tea or coffee offer is a hugely popular part of its 'myWaitrose' loyalty scheme, allowing members to simply swipe their card at the till and help themselves to a drink at the self-service machine on a daily basis – with no need to buy anything or return to the checkout.

But last October MoneySavingExpert.com reported that as part of a trial shoppers in some stores had to purchase something to qualify for the promotion – and today it emerged that from Monday 3 April all Waitrose customers will have to buy something to bag the 'freebie'.

Some purchases WON'T qualify you for a hot drink, including single-use carrier bags, tobacco, stamps, mobile top-ups, e-top up vouchers, lottery tickets, gift vouchers and infant milk formula. Car park charges and fuel and delivery charges also won't make you eligible.

In an email to customers, the supermarket said: "Our myWaitrose free tea and coffee offer is one of the ways we thank our customers for shopping with us – and we want all our customers to be able to enjoy a free hot drink when they shop with us in our branches.

"From 3 April, we'll simply be asking myWaitrose members to make a purchase before collecting their cup at the checkout.

"We would like to thank you in advance for your understanding."

Martin Lewis
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To qualify for Waitrose's free hot drinks promotion, you need to first be a Waitrose member – if you're not already, register for a free myWaitrose loyalty card.

Once the new rules come into effect, you'll need to buy something in store before getting your hot drink – but there's no minimum spend and you only need to buy one item. So you could buy something small to qualify, such as loose fruit and veg – a sprout for example is just 3p – though some could argue this is morally dubious.

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