Tesco's Summer Clubcard exchange is becoming something of a fixture in the deal-hunter's calendar. From Monday you will be able to exchange your vouchers online or in store for double the value in tokens. These can be spent on eight different departments - effectively giving you 50% off.
So should you join the rush for tokens?
The dealThe tokens are available between Monday 13 May and 2 July. They then have to be spent by 11 July. You can spend them in eight different departments: Garden, Garden Furniture and BBQs, Bikes, Camping and Outdoor Sports, Toys, Clothing, Cameras, Sat Nav and Audio, Baby and Toddler, Cook and Dine and Opticians.
Katie McQuaid, Clubcard Director said: "We know our customers love the Clubcard Exchange and after a long, cold winter we want to help families really make the most of the summer this year, without breaking the bank. Whether that's getting the garden ready for entertaining, planning a holiday in the great outdoors, or investing in a new camera to capture those special moments, we've chosen categories this year that will l help to make a memorable summer whatever the weather."
So should you join the rush?It really depends.
This is not a good enough reason to buy something that you weren't planning on getting. There are a host of ways to spend Clubcard points, so resist the temptation to start devising reasons why you need a new BBQ or camera. If you end up spending the points on something you don't really need, then it's a waste of money even if you double the value.
If you were planning to buy something from these eight departments anyway, you can get 50% off the Tesco price. This doesn't necessarily make it the cheapest offer around, so you'll need to compare the price against deals available elsewhere, and weigh up whether the Tesco price is cheaper.
Even then, it's worth checking the other Clubcard rewards to see whether another offer constitutes better value for you. There are a huge number of things offering better than double the value, including English Heritage which offers three times, LA Fitness which offers four times, and a huge number of popular restaurant chains offering four times the value in food.
If you were after £20 of summer fashions and £40 of pizza, for example, spending the vouchers on the pizza and cash on the clothes would sent you back £30. The other way around it would cost you £50.
Not money for nothingEven if the voucher exchange is your best bet, there's one major proviso that comes with using any of these vouchers: you need to be aware that this isn't something for nothing. You have already paid out far more for these vouchers than you will ever get back.
Rewards schemes are paid for out of the company's profits. In order to cover the cost of the rewards, and running and marketing the scheme, you will be charged slightly more on all of your shopping. You would pay less if there was no reward scheme at all - which is why the discount retailers don't offer them.
This isn't something for nothing: this is collecting together the extra cash you have spent in the store and giving some of it back to you in the form of vouchers.
It means that if you were going to shop at a particular supermarket anyway - for convenience - then it makes sense to make the most of the scheme - whether that means exchanging your vouchers for the summer tokens or for another reward entirely.
However, it's never a good enough reason for selecting a particular supermarket, or spending more than you otherwise would. Otherwise it doesn't matter how good the rewards are: you'll still be worse off.
But what do you think? Will you join the rush to exchange your vouchers? Let us know in the comments.
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