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The Best Coffee Shop Loyalty Cards And Apps

Do you feel like it’s time that you’re rewarded for your repeat custom? Or are you just looking for better value for money? Then take a look at the best coffee shop loyalty cards and apps available. Plus, I’ll share how you could possibly save even more money.

best coffee shop loyalty cards and apps

The 4 most popular loyalty schemes available from coffee shops:

  • Costa Coffee
  • Starbucks
  • Caffè Nero
  • Greggs

Quick glance

Below shows how much you need to spend before you qualify for a free drink. This is based on a drink being valued at £3, although prices vary between stores and locations.

Average cost before free drinkDo points expire?
Costa Coffee £6012 months
Starbucks £5024 months
Caffè Nero £27No
Greggs £27No

The Best Coffee Shop Loyalty Cards And Apps

Now, I’m going to shock around 90% of you here by admitting that I don’t drink tea or coffee. Yes, I’m one of those. However, I do like to partake in a hot chocolate, soft drink or a muffin. More importantly, I like to get something back for my money and what better way than a loyalty card. Below, is a list of the 4 most popular schemes you can join.

Costa Coffee Club

Let’s start with Costa as they are by far the most popular in the UK with over 2000 outlets as well as countless machines dotted all over the country.

costa club rewards homescreen

How does Costa Coffee Club work?

You can either opt for a physical card or download the Costa app to your phone. When paying for your items, just present your card or phone at the till and the barista will add 5 points for every £1 you spend. 1 point is worth 1 pence – so 100 points for £1.

You can also collect points from Costa Express machines that you see in service stations and supermarkets.

How many Costa points for a free coffee?

This really depends on your location and the size of the drink you want. However, if your drink was to cost £3, you would need 300 points.

How to claim Costa points from a receipt

Of course, you might pop out in a rush and forget your phone or loyalty card so won’t be able to use it if you when you buy something. If that’s the case, just return to Costa with your receipt and a barista will add your points.

Other Costa Coffee Club benefits

  • You can order ahead using the app if you’re pushed for time.
  • You have a chance of earning bonus points when you make a transaction.
  • Friend referral – earn extra by friends using your link.

Important to know

If inactive for 12 months, the points on your card will expire and cannot be used.

Costa referral code

Use my link below and you’ll earn 100 points just for joining. And when you make a purchase you’ll earn an extra 200 points. That’s a total of £3!

Starbucks Card

This is the 2nd most common coffee shop in the UK, but has fewer than half the number of outlets compared to Costa. Rather than points, Starbucks rewards you with stars instead. Wooooh.

starbucks rewards homescreen

How does the Starbucks card work?

Simply create a Starbucks account after downloading the app and present it when you make a purchase. You’ll then be rewarded with 3 stars for every £1 you spend.

How many Starbucks stars for a free coffee?

For a free drink, you will need to reach 150 stars. That means you will need to spend at least £50, so it’s not the most generous of loyalty schemes. But as a little bonus, if you reach 450 stars you become a ‘gold level’ member. That means extra shots of espresso, dairy alternatives, selected syrups and whipped cream – all for free.

Other Starbucks Card benefits

  • Gold members will receive a free drink on their birthday.
  • You can add money to your Starbucks app. That means you can order and pay all from the app.
  • Selected members will receive bonus stars from time-to-time.

Important to know

You stars will expire if you do not use your loyalty card in 2 years.

Caffè Nero loyalty card or app

3rd on the list comes Caffè Nero, which has around 200 fewer stores compared to Starbucks.

caffe nero app homescreen

How does the Caffè Nero loyalty scheme work?

Caffè Nero provides both a physical card and an app. You can transfer the stamps from the card to the app just by asking one of the baristas in store. And, you can have more than one physical loyalty card.

Collection of stamps is pretty simple, you’ll earn one every time you order a barista made drink.

How many stamps do I need for a free drink?

Once you reach 9 stamps you qualify for your freebie.

Can I add stamps if I forget to scan my loyalty card?

Unlike Costa, you can’t add stamps retrospectively. However, if you turn up at Caffè Nero and you have forgotten your phone or your card, just pick up another card from the desk. You can then transfer the stamp from this card over to the app.

Other Caffè Nero app benefits

  • Receive an additional stamp if you use a reusable cup.
  • Earn extra stamps from promotional products.
  • You can add money to the app, meaning you don’t need to take cash or a payment card with you.
  • Order your drink from your phone.

Important to know

If you’re redeeming a partner offer (such as free drink from O2), you should still qualify for your stamp. But check with the barista.

Your stamps don’t expire. However, once your loyalty card has 9 stamps on it, you have 18 months in which to claim your free drink.

Greggs Rewards

Not strictly a coffee shop, but a very popular place where people like to pick up their morning coffee. Plus, Greggs also has its own loyalty app.

greggs rewards home page

How does the Greggs app work?

Greggs Rewards is slightly more complicated compared to the other loyalty schemes due to the fact that they tend to focus more on food.

The rewards are split into 6 sections:

  • Breakfast
  • Drinks
  • Savouries and Bakes
  • Sandwiches and Salads
  • Sweet Treats
  • Hot Food

Stamps are added when you make a purchase from each section. For example, if you bought 5 sandwiches across the week, you will have 5 stamps in the sandwich section and nothing else.

How many stamps do I need for a hot drink

You need 9 stamps before you qualify for your free drink. This is the same for any of the sections.

Other Greggs benefits

  • Upload money to the Greggs app and pay straight from there.
  • Full menu available from the app.

Important to know

You are unable to earn stamps from click and collect orders.

Pret a Manger Subscription

This isn’t a loyalty scheme like the ones above, but certainly worth a mention. For a monthly fee of £20, you can enjoy as many drinks as you like from Pret. Well, actually it’s limited to 5, but you would do well to drink more than that anyhow.

Drinks include:

Organic Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate, all Iced Drinks including: Iced Coffee, Cold Brew, Frappes and Smoothies (except Cocoa, Almond Butter & Banana Smoothie, Raspberry, Mango & Ginger Smoothie, and Avocado, Mango and Ginger Smoothie) and including any milk alternatives, syrups and extra coffee shots.  

However, to stop us from buying a round of drinks for all our friends, you can only order one free drink every 30 minutes.

If you’re a regular user of Pret, this could be well worth the money.

Which is the best coffee shop loyalty card or app?

This has to go to Caffè Nero. Although tied with Greggs for value, if you use a reusable cup, you only have to spend half the amount.

Costa does have a generous referral scheme, but there are only so many people you can refer before you run out of friends.

Tips for saving more

Loyalty cards are great, but there are several other ways you can help to cut the cost of your purchases from coffee shops.

Discounted gift cards

Depending on your employment, you may have access to some pretty good discount cards. For example Blue Light Card holders can purchase gift cards or vouchers for Caffè Nero, Greggs and Costa ranging between 6-8% off.

The Civil Service Sports Council also offers similar discounts, but includes Starbucks.

Check to see if your employer is a member of any of these schemes.

Receipt scanning

This is very easy to do. Every time you make a purchase, take a photo of the receipt using your phone and earn rewards. These usually pay out using Amazon vouchers or PayPal. The good thing is, there are lots of apps available, which means you can get paid multiple times for the same receipt.

Take a look at the best receipt scanning apps.

Mobile phone rewards

A lot of mobile phone companies now offer their own rewards apps, including O2 Priority Rewards, Three Rewards and Vodafone VeryMe. You will quite often find free drinks or food in their offers, so they’re well worth downloading.

Bank account offers

Like mobile phone companies, many banks also offer their own reward schemes. These generally involve cashback of between 5 and 15% when you use your debit card to make a purchase. All you need to do is activate the offer before using it. Check your online account or app to see if you qualify.

Cashback credit cards

There are credit cards out there that will earn you cashback every time you spend. Although the amounts are small (usually between 0.25% – 1%), it soon adds up over the year.

It’s just important that you make sure that you clear your balance at the end of each month. Otherwise, the interest you pay will soon outweigh any cashback you make.

Take a look at some of the best cashback credit cards.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links.


Is there a Costa coffee hack?

Recently there was an article with regards to somebody using a hack to earn over £100 worth of points. However, this turned out to be somebody sharing their referral code. There is no known hack doing the rounds at the moment.

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