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M&S launches new rewards scheme for credit card customers - but how does it stack up?

HONG KONG - MAY 2, 2015. M&S store in HK on May 2, 2015. Marks and Spencer specializes in the selling of clothing and luxury food products. 703 stores in UK and 361 stores in more than 40 countries.

M&S Bank has launched a new rewards scheme for its credit card holders called 'Club Rewards'. Once you're a member you can earn extra loyalty points, money-off M&S vouchers, free next day delivery and more. But you have to pay a pricey £10/mth fee, which means it's only worth it if you'll use the shopping vouchers or spend over £2,000/yr at the retailer - plus, you could earn more with other cashback cards. 

We've full analysis below on how the scheme works, who can get it, as well as whether it's really worth it. 

Just remember to make sure you only use reward credit cards for normal spending – don't use any points or introductory bonuses you could earn as an excuse to overspend and ensure you repay the balance IN FULL each month to avoid paying interest, which often cancels out any rewards you get. See our Credit Card Rewards guide for our current best buys. 

You get two extra points per £1 spent at M&S, plus other perks

If you have any sort of M&S credit card, you're eligible to join the new scheme - and this includes both existing and new card users. You can sign up for the loyalty scheme on the M&S Club Rewards website (just make sure you read our analysis below first). Here's what you get with M&S Club Rewards in exchange for a £10 monthly fee:

  • Two extra points per £1 spent at M&S (in store or online). This is on top of any points you already get. One point is worth 1p and points convert into vouchers to spend at M&S every three months. You won't earn extra points on non-M&S spending under the scheme as you can with some of the bank's credit cards.

  • Four vouchers a year totalling £65 to spend at M&S Clothing or Home (in store or online) with no minimum spend required.

  • A £12 voucher to spend at M&S food halls on your birthday, with no minimum spend required.

  • 32 hot drinks vouchers a year, redeemable in M&S cafes with no minimum spend required. M&S puts the value of these 32 vouchers at £88, although hot drinks typically cost between £2 and £3.  

  • Free next-day delivery when shopping on the M&S website, though this excludes food, hampers, wine, flowers, furniture and sale items. Next-day delivery normally costs £4.99.

You can also earn three extra points per £1 spent abroad in the local currency – though do not use your M&S credit card for spending abroad as you'll be charged £2.62/purchase, while plenty of cards offer fee-free spending abroad with near-perfect exchange rates – for more info see our Travel Credit Cards guide.

M&S adds that members may also receive additional offers and discounts they can't get if they're not signed up to Club Rewards, though this isn't guaranteed.

Club Rewards is only worth it if you'll use all the vouchers or spend at least £2,150/yr at M&S

It's hard to calculate exactly whether Club Rewards is worth it as it depends on how often you're likely to use the perks, such as free next-day delivery, and how often you spend at M&S. However, at a basic level, the scheme is worth it if you:

  • Will use ALL of the vouchers. That's because the vouchers alone are worth a combined £165, so if you'll definitely use these you're up £45 after the £120 annual fee. Fail to use the hot drinks vouchers though and the savings from the clothing and food hall vouchers will be wiped out by the monthly fee. 

  • Spend at least £2,150/yr (£180/mth) at M&S. You get two extra points per £1 spent at M&S with Club Rewards, so if you don't use the hot drinks vouchers, you'd need to spend at least £2,150/yr at M&S (or £180/mth) to earn enough in points to cover the remainder of the £120/yr fee after you've accounted for the in-store vouchers.

If you don't fancy forking out a monthly fee, M&S does have a free rewards scheme, which you don't need a credit card to use. M&S' Sparks offers members money off shopping and freebies, along with personalised offers and charitable donations when you shop. However, you can't earn points. See the M&S website for more info on Sparks, or read our Loyalty Points guide for more on earning rewards on your supermarket shopping.

You may be able to earn more with a rewards credit card

If you're after an M&S credit card to join Club Rewards with, the M&S Rewards Credit Card* pays double points on all M&S shopping during the first year (one point per £1 spent after), on top of the extra points you can earn from Club Rewards. It also pays one point per £5 spent outside of M&S. In addition, you get 12 months 0% spending with this card, after which it's 19.9% rep APR (and there's no monthly fee).

BUT you may be able to earn more with a top pick American Express (Amex) card where you can earn cashback on all spending and you're not limited to just the one retailer - though if you've had an Amex in the past two years you won't be eligible for any intro offers, and bear in mind it isn't as widely accepted as Mastercard or Visa. See the table below for how much you'd earn (after any fees) spending £3,000/yr:  

How M&S' Club Rewards compares to other reward credit cards

Card, monthly fee and rep APR Sign-up bonuses and points/ cashback per £1 spent How much you'll earn per year with a £3,000/yr spend after any fees (1)
Amex Nectar
(no fee in year one then £25/yr, 27.3% rep APR incl fee)
- 20,000 Nectar pt bonus on £2k spend in first 2mths
- 2pts per £1 spent
1pt = 0.5p at Nectar partners
Year 1 = £130 in Nectar pts
After = £5 
Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday
(no fee, 22.2% rep APR)
- 5% cashback first 3mths (£100 max)
- 0.5% cashback after on up to £10k spend
- 1% cashback on £10k+ spend
Year 1 = £105
After = £15
Amex Preferred Rewards Gold
(no fee in year 1 then £140/yr, 56.9% rep APR incl fee)

- 20,000pt bonus on £3k spend in first 3mths 
- 1pt per £1 spent

- Two free airport lounge visits/yr

1pt = 0.5p (vouchers), 0.8p (Nectar)

Year 1 = £184 in Nectar pts
After = £116 out of pocket (2)
M&S Rewards Credit Card* + Club Rewards (£10/mth fee for Club Rewards, 19.9% APR for credit card)

- 4pts per £1 spent in year 1 at M&S

- 3pts per £1 spent at M&S after
- 1pt per £5 spent elsewhere

- £77 in vouchers each year 

- Free next day M&S delivery

1pt = 1p at M&S

Year 1 = £77 in M&S pts/vouchers
After = £47 in M&S pts/ vouchers (3)
Sainsbury's Nectar Credit Card
(no fee, 20.9% rep APR)
- 10,000 bonus pts on £400+ spend at Sains/Argos etc.
- 2pts per £1 spent at Sains/Argos etc.
- 1pt per £5 spent elsewhere
1pt = 0.5p at Nectar partners
Year 1 = £80
After = £30 (4)

(1) £3,000 figure used as this is the point at which Amex begins to pay cashback on multiple cards. Assumes any intro bonus requirements are met. (2) Doesn't factor in airport lounge visits. (3) Assumes all spending at M&S. Doesn't factor in hot drinks vouchers or free delivery but does include £77 in clothing/food hall vouchers. (4) Assumes all spending at Sainsbury's.

With all of the cards above, remember to repay the balance IN FULL each month, or the interest you'll pay could entirely negate any of the benefits. For more info on earning while you spend, see our full Credit Card Rewards guide. You can also use our Eligibility Calculator first to check if you're likely to be offered a card before applying, as unlike our tool, any application will show up on your credit file and may dent your score. See our Credit Scores guide for more on how they work. 

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