I’ve £3 in the bank but £1k on my loyalty cards – my easy secret hacks on how to make the most of your shop points | The Sun

I’ve £3 in the bank but £1k on my loyalty cards – my easy secret hacks on how to make the most of your shop points | The Sun

June 2, 2023

LOGGING onto her banking app Nicola Frapwell sees she’s got just £3 in her current account. 

Her heart ought to sink – she’s got a best friend’s birthday party to go to – but instead she doesn’t care. 

“Not having any money in my bank account doesn’t cause me any concern,” she said. “I plan on buying her something massive – I can afford to.”

You might wonder how? But it’s easy. Data manager Nicola, 32, is one of a growing number of Brits who while cash poor are loyalty card loaded.

She spoke as John Lewis and Waitrose prepared to launch a new loyalty scheme in a bid to turn around the business. 

The John Lewis Partnership has recruited Dunnhumby, the company which helped establish the Tesco clubcard in the 1990s and, also, promotions business Eagle Eye Solutions Group. 


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To date Nicola has £562 on her Sainsbury’s Nectar card, £157 on her Superdrug card and £251 on her Boots card. 

It means – should she find herself with barely anything in her bank account – she doesn’t panic. 

And she’s even used previous Sainsbury’s points to buy fancy furniture from Argos, a store they’re affiliated with. 

“I use my points to spoil my friend with clothes and makeup,” she said. “I treat myself when my bank account is bare. It’s awesome.

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Now, Nicola has more money on loyalty cards than in her bankCredit: Nicola Frapwell – Supplied

“My loyalty card points are a secret cash stash that help me buy whatever I want and not spend a penny. 

“I’m loyalty card rich and It’s fantastic. I don't know why more people don't follow my lead. Loyalty card points help you cope with the cost of living crisis.”

Nicola reckons she is one of Britain’s top loyalty card connoisseurs even though some of her friends claim she is ‘driving them crazy’ with her obsessive point collecting.

“I am addicted to loyalty cards and refuse to buy something unless it gets my tally up,” she said. 

“My friends complain when we are out and I hunt high and low for the deals which get me the best points but I don’t care.”

Nicola is so obsessed she treats her loyalty card accounts like bank accounts.

“Money experts tell you to use a savings account with the best interest rate,” she said. “I will only make a purchase if I can double, treble or quadruple my loyalty points and increase their value.”

Nicola has been able to fund her love of expensive perfume and makeup using just her loyalty club card points.

“I love Estee Lauder products and always buy my favourite Estee Lauder foundation from Boots costing £38.50 with my points,” she said. 

She also bought an £81 pound bottle of Chanel Chance last year without spending a penny thanks to her loyalty point stockpile.

“It made me feel amazing and even the staff at Boots were impressed that I paid using only my Boots card points,” she said. 

Her obsession with loyalty cards began when she was a teenager. “My mum was always swiping her loyalty cards,” she said. 

“I used to think she was silly and wasting time. 

“But when she used her loyalty points to buy a set of posh saucepans from Habitat costing £100 when I was 17, I was dumbfounded.”

Nicola has spent the past 15 years researching as much as she can about the different cards on offer and how to maximise her points.

“You need to focus on the cards that work for you, understand how to double or treble the points value and know how to turn those points into either cash or purchases and when to do it.

“Each week I search the website and apps of the cards I use and track what deals they are offering and how I can spend as little as possible and get the most points”

Nicola keeps her research on her phone in note form so she can reference it whenever she needs to.

She said being a loyalty card expert is a bit like playing the stock market.

“You have to know when to buy, when to sell, when to spend and what cards  will give you the best return,” she explained. 

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“I only buy petrol where I can use my nectar card. It’s the same with groceries, snacks, clothes and even chewing gum.

“With the cost-of-living crisis it really helps. I know I’ll never go short – I’ve got the points to help me.”


1)  Maximise the points – check for point increase offers

2) Save up  points for special treats or celebrations

3) Don’t buy unless you can swipe a card

4) Use the card apps – they offer secret points deals

5) If you forget to swipe – keep the receipt  and points can be added on later.

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