Tesco has announced that its next Clubcard Boost - which swaps points collected within its reward scheme for vouchers worth double the value to spend in specific departments - will be its last. After the deal (which runs from 16 May to 26 June), Tesco will axe the promotion.
It has been informing Clubcard customers by post, and is trying to position the move as a revamping of the scheme, which will offer better value. The letter says it is responding to calls from customers who wanted the system to be 'simpler to understand and easier to use'.
It adds: "We want to make your Tesco Clubcard even better for you, and doing this means we'll be able to bring you great value from your vouchers the whole year round."
It only hints as to how it might be doing this, saying: "We're working on some more ways to help your points balance grow faster so you get more value back from Tesco Clubcard on your everyday shop."
The experts highlight that the Boost promotions are expensive for the store. When people spend their vouchers in store, they are crystallising the cost of running a reward scheme: when they offer double the value, they are doubling the cost. In an environment where supermarkets are battling on slim margins, this is a cost they feel they can no longer justify.
The 'refocusing' it refers to is in essence an emphasis on one of the key functions of any reward scheme - encouraging you to change your shopping habits. By running promotions for extra points on specific items or in particular departments, it can encourage you to select items that generate more profit, and tempt you into spending more.
Tesco is also likely to encourage people to spend their points with 'partners' instead - where they can be spent on anything from days out to restaurant meals and hotel stays, and can often get several times the value of the points.
This approach works well for Tesco. Although it has a financial arrangement with the partners, it takes less of a hit when more people use the points elsewhere.
Shoppers have taken to social media to express their disappointment. A number said that for the past few years they had been saving their points to spend on Christmas presents, and that having no Boost at Christmas would make a severe dent in their Christmas budget. One wrote on the Tesco Facebook page: "Why you couldn't have stopped last November, before people started saving for the following Christmas I don't know."
Many had chosen Tesco specifically for the points - including one woman who was saving so she could buy a PS4 at Christmas with her double points, and had been driving past other supermarkets in order to get to Tesco for her shopping. She added that she would shop closer to home from now on.
Another Facebook user commented: "We are absolutely disgusted to be informed that Tesco is to scrap the double up scheme and would like to say that we will never shop with you again."
But what do you think? Did you use Boost, and are you surprised it is being axed? Let us know in the comments.