Loyalty has a premium – is the new M&S card for you?May 14th, 2009 • 20 Comments
Loyalty schemes – they’re bloomin’ great if you don’t mind committing every last penny you earn to a specific business; less so if you’re fickle in your spending habits. Not all of us are willing to sink several grand into one particular supermarket for a new toaster, or flights to an unpronounceable former Soviet republic.
So what to make of the new Premium Club from Marks & Spencer? Well, you’ll need a M&S credit card before you get started. You’ll then receive:
- three points per pound spent on the credit card, for on all M&S purchases in-store and online
- double points on all other spending on the credit card
- worldwide multi-trip family travel insurance, including cover for cancellation and winter sports
- £120 worth of vouchers for coffee in M&S cafes
- “M&S Premium Club vouchers for a whole range of other exclusive gifts, treats and delights throughout the year”
The snag is that membership of the Premium Club comes at a price – specifically, £120 a year. If you really, really like their coffee, then perhaps you’re already keen to sign up, but how much extra value does the Premium Club offer? If you’re not already spending a decent chunk of money at M&S, not a great deal.
First, you need the credit card, which carries the obvious risk of acquiring more debt. Then there’s the actual value of earning points on your credit card purchases. Each point is worth a penny, so triple points mean you’d need to spend £4,000 on M&S purchases alone before you claw back the £120 fee. However M&S already offers a credit card without a fee that pays one point per pound, so in fact you need to spend £6,000 at M&S in a year to make the Premium Club membership worthwhile.
But what about the family travel insurance? That could be of some value to you, especially if you’re keen on skiing holidays. However the insurance is through AXA, who would normally charge around £221 for annual multi-trip family insurance that includes the US and Canada – four times more expensive than the likes of Flexicover, who’ll charge £56.50. That said, Axa offer more cover, up to 45 days’ worth.
And of course there’s the delicious coffee, but M&S figure you won’t buy the coffee without plumping for a slice of cake or some other extraneous item that swells their coffers.
This is a loyalty scheme in every sense of the word; if you’re a dedicated fan of Marks & Spencer with the means to shop there, and have a family to feed, then spending £100+ on the weekly shop isn’t difficult. If that’s the case, and you’re in the market for premium travel insurance and like treating gran to coffee and cake on a Saturday afternoon, then buying into the Premium Club makes sense. If you spend £6,000 a year at M&S and £6,000 elsewhere, then the card pays for itself, plus you’ll earn £120 cashback, and enjoy the insurance, the coffee and assorted gifts for free.
However, if your weekly shop is £60 a week at Tesco, you’re strict about your fortnight away on the Costa Brava and both grans went up in smoke some time ago, it’s definitely not worth changing your life for.
Simply not a product that is not going to fly in the current economic climate
As I buy coffee there virtually every week then membership pays for itself with £120 of coffees for …..£120, plus free insurance and additonal points makes it a no brainer for me. Sadly my grans both went up in smoke some time ago but this might also be a good deal for other grans and grandads as the insurance provides cover for those up to 80 years old – ordinary policies generally only provide cover for those up to 70 years old.
I work at M&S cafe and I can assure you our coffee is fab! 3rd highest selling coffee shop in the UK dontcha know.
3rd highest selling coffee shop my Back side…
M&S is good, infact awesome, i think its good value for money on weekly shops etc… but as far as the coffee goes.. Minging…
But I dont think I’ll be going for this, I’ll stick to my Cafe Nero Loyalty card!
@Darren W “Minging”? M&S Coffee is quite possibly the best coffee available on the high street.
I realise that is an opinion, but having tasted pretty much every other coffee available the blend used by M&S has deapth, and flavour that no other “chain” can even come close to…Not surprising considering the roaster who supplies the coffee supplies all the major London hotels!
M&S cafe FTW!
I signed up for the premium club then Mark and ~Spencer stopped selling coffe/hot drinks at my nearest branch in ~Brent Cross London – without any warning. Now they have written to say they are putting the price up to £15 per month. I am cancelling asap!
I cannot drive in the dark so in order to get to the designated store to use my vouchers 1pm- 7pm it would involve a different means of transport. Not a good idea and I’m not happy!
thanks for all this just been asked if I want one thanks for pointing this all out. Thank goodness for the P.C .
Looking at this month’s statement from M&S I noticed that the monthly premium club fee has gone from £10 to£15. I had not had any notification of this. I do not think it is good value now and will write to terminate my contract. I wonder if they will refund the extra £5 they charged last month.
the hot drink vouchers should be updated to include hot or cold drinks
that will make a difference to people who dont always want a hot drink
I went into M&S today to have my birthday treat of tea for two, free from M&S, to be told I was entitled to ONE sandwich, not any choise, but two scones, jam & cream plus two pots of tea, so unless one buys the person one has invited along with them to join in their birthday treat of tea for two, they would have to sit there while you ate your sandwich and then eat your scones together. Joking apart I found it very embarrassing, so I walked out. Presumably the tea for two means exactly that, two pots of tea, also could somebody from M&S please explain the reasoning behind the hot drinks vouchers, why are you not allowed to have a cold drink in preference to a hot one if you want. I have only been a member of the Premium Club a few weeks but I think I will be canceling it very soon.
Definitely not worth the money. The travel insurance is a fixed product which you can’t add to in any way. My wife and I have booked a scandinavian holiday which includes one morning of snowmobiling. This isn’t on the list of activities (albeit a pretty long list) covered by the policy and when I asked to add it and offered to pay to do so I was told ‘computer says no!’. This seems absolutely crazy when I would be covered for jetskiing, powerboating, climbing and quad biking!
The very nice lady connected me to M&S insurance who offered me a single trip policy which would cover snowmobiling for £75!!! Just got a quote for annual insurance from Virgin – same level of cover for £85 and they would cover the snowmobiling for £3 extra. I’m cancelling the Premium club today. Wish I’d never taken it out in the first place.
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Forget the coffee I’m in my mid 70′s and would like to know where I could get worldwide multi trip holiday insurance for my wife and myself for less than £180 a year.
I’ve just been told that M & S premium club travel insurance won’t cover me because I am on continuing medication even though it is preventative. All heart by-pass sufferers are therefore, ruled out.
I’ve been a member for 18 months now and whilst I found the coffee vouchers good, I do agree with previous comments about them not allowing customers to have a cold drink. Who wants hot drinks in summer all the time? As for Birthday treats, I never even got any .. I do think it a take on as I’ve free travel insurance both with work and my bank, so it’s useless to me.
I have sent several e-mails via ”reply” to mail from M&S but obviously they have never been forwarded!
My query is: I normally have my Free Drinks vouchers sent early December or mid November but this time I haven’t received them. Is there a reason for this delay or perhaps there has been a postal problem?
I look forward to hearing from you in due course.
I would also lie to than you for the £15 gift you sent for Christmas….greatly appreciated.
Oops…..the last sentence should read ” I would liKe to thanK you for the £15 etc
That will teach me to proof read before clicking the ”submit” ! ! !
When joined the M & S Premium Club I think the travel insurance cover stopped at 80 years.
BE WARNED – Having just checked the M & S website the travel insurance now stops at 70 years.
We have also found ordering on line clothing during ‘offer’ periods frustrating. On two occasions we have ordered, the order has been accepted and a day later we receive an Email telling us that the item is out of stock.
For me the M & S Premium Club is not worth the cost, stopping it will save me the fuel for regular visits for lunch and purchasing from the food hall.
We checked and if you joined when the age limit was 80 they say that still stands. If you join now then the lower age limit applies