Are loyalty cards like the SubCard all that rewarding?
Avid Bitterwallet reader Matt found himself dropping into Subway on the way to his weekend match of the season:
I immediately noticed that prices had bumped up a little, but that's the way of the world nowadays, so I sucked it up and bought my usual belly filler.
When paying I noticed there were some SubCards sat on the counter.
I grabbed one gleefully and wondered if they had reprised their old stamp reward service, but in a more technologically advanced form.
The SubCard is also available as an iPhone app - surely that means it's already better than the paper book of vouchers Subway used to do with buy one, get one free offers? Nah. Once home, Matt decided to check up on the value of his newly beloved SubCard - the detail is hidden away amongst the FAQs:
What are SUBCARD® loyalty points and how do I earn them?
Loyalty points are our way of rewarding you for being a loyal SUBWAY® customer. You will automatically earn points every time you make a purchase at participating SUBWAY® stores and have your SUBCARD® scanned. You earn 1 loyalty point for every 10p [UK] or 15c [ROI] you spend.
What can I redeem my SUBCARD® loyalty points for?
500 points can be redeemed for a regular 6" Sub, wrap or salad and with 1000 points you can redeem for a regular 12" Sub.
In other words, you need to hand over £100 to Subway to claim a 12 inch sub. To claim a 6 inch sub (which costs as little as £2.29 through the Sub of the Day deal), you'll need to spend £50 over the counter. You'd have to buy the Sub of the Day 23 times in order to receive another one for free.
Loyalty deals are obviously nothing new, but they seem to have lost their way in recent years; in March, Costa Coffee scrapped their "buy 10 get one free" card and replaced it with a points-based scheme that's the equivalent of ordering 20 coffees worth £2 to get the 21st free.
So what do you do - spend the neck-end of £100 for a free sandwich and coffee? Or follow the bargains, wherever they happen to be? You know the score, frugal citizen.