Why it pays to sign up to a retailer's loyalty scheme or newsletter to unlock 'hidden' extras

We all want to make our money go further, and signing up for retailers’ loyalty schemes or newsletters can be a great way to do this and even earn yourself ‘free’ money. However, did you know there’s often more to these schemes than earning points?

Many stores and retailers will offer a loyalty scheme where the more you shop, the more points and coupons etc. you can earn. If you’re savvy with these, you can really maximise loyalty points and, in essence, earn yourself ‘free money’. See our Loyalty Points Boosting guide to see how you can get the most out of these.

However being part of a loyalty scheme isn’t limited to just swiping a loyalty card and earning points. You can sign up to a retailer’s loyalty scheme or ‘club’ on its website or via an app, and there’s often ‘hidden’ perks with doing this.

Here’s our round-up of quick tips and tricks for getting the most out of loyalty programmes:

1. Create a dedicated email address

If you’re signing up to lots of sites, it can be useful to create a dedicated email address that you receive deals and offers to. It means your usual email account won’t become clogged up and you can keep everything all in one place.

2. Get freebies or special discounts on your birthday

If you sign up to loyalty schemes or newsletters, you often receive exclusive discounts or freebies for your birthday such as a free Krispy Kreme doughnut and a free £5 to spend at Ikea. These will usually be emailed to you and could be a voucher or an exclusive discount code. We’ve spotted over 50 offers - head to our Birthday Freebies page for a full list of what you can get. 

3. Be the first to know about sales

Being signed up to a retailer often means that you get a heads up or even early access to sales and other promotional events. M&S, for example, gives certain members of its ‘Sparks’ loyalty scheme exclusive early access to sales. 

4. Receive flash codes and offers

This is something we saw quite a lot of during the 2018 World Cup, with flash codes and sales being sent through to people who are signed up to sites. If you’re registered to receive email alerts and push notifications, you could be sent through limited time offers and promotions that may only last a few hours.

If there’s a big event coming up, it’s worth turning your notifications on in case anything pops up. During one of the England matches in the World Cup, MSE Laura received a push notification to her phone from Treatwell with a 20% off everything code. Check out our ‘Secret’ flash codes blog to see what else we spotted.

5. Get free delivery

We’ve spotted a few sites that will offer you free delivery if you’re a member. For example, if you’re signed up to Nike’s loyalty scheme, NikePlus (which is free to join), you can get unlimited free delivery which usually costs £4.50.

6. Receive exclusive member pricing and discounts

If you’re a member of sites such as Groupon, Expedia and Treatwell, you can get exclusive discounts and pricing if you buy a product through them (rather than going straight to the retailer). Although always do your own price comparison before buying anything.

Treatwell offers last-minute beauty treatments which are often reduced in price and also runs special promotional discounts. If you were to book directly with the salon, you’d usually pay more. See MSE Katie’s Treatwell Hack blog to see how you can get £5 off each time you have an appointment. 

7. Get a discount for 'abandoning' your online shopping

If you’re signed into your account, add items to your basket and then don’t continue with the purchase, you’ll often get sent reminder emails from the company to encourage you to make your purchase. In some cases, you could even be sent a discount code or receive a voucher. Take a look at our Shopping Secrets guide for more details on this and to see what our users have received.

Do I have to pay for these ‘hidden’ rewards?

No. All of the points above are based on loyalty schemes which are totally free to join, however there are some schemes which offer you more for a paid membership, such as Asos Premier where you can pay to receive unlimited free next day delivery etc.

If you shop somewhere regularly, or if there’s a brand which you particularly like, it’s definitely worth signing up to its free loyalty scheme. You are of course giving the companies your data and permission to email you or send through push notifications, but it’s usually fairly easy to turn off notifications and alerts, or unsubscribe, if you change your mind.