Exact amount you need to spend at every major chain to get free drinks – best and worst loyalty schemes revealed | The Sun

MAJOR coffee shops like Starbucks and Costa are known for their loyalty schemes offering free drinks, as well as chains like Greggs.

But exactly how much will it cost you before you get the freebie, and which ones are really worth it?

Fresh analysis by The Sun since big changes to several schemes reveal you could be spending nearly £180 to get a brew on the house.

But with others you'll be sipping pretty after forking out as little as £15.75.

Costa, the UK’s biggest chain, has made their scheme slightly worse since a change in August.

McDonald’s no longer has their dedicated coffee loyalty program, which was the best value.

Read more on freebies


Starbucks is giving away free drinks to millions of workers TODAY – how to get it


Little-known way to get free drinks from pub chain using Tesco Clubcard

Instead they have a wider scheme for all food and drinks.

Posh bakery chain Gail’s recently revamped app-only scheme is incredibly poor value.

You might need to buy 50 coffees, or spend close to £180, for a free one.

When comparing the loyalty programs, we based our research on buying the smallest latte on offer at each chain. 

Most read in Money


Major department store to close all 34 locations for two days over Christmas


Supermarket slashes price of Roses tubs to just £2 – & it’s the cheapest around


We’re homeless after spending £500k to get our neighbour to move his BINS


I tried flavoured panettones- the winner is the ‘perfect pick-me-up’

Here's what we found…

Starbucks – after spending £50.15

The worst value scheme for a big chain is Starbucks Rewards. 

It used to be among the best, but plummeted down the table after a revamp during the pandemic.

Customers get three stars for each partial £1 spent, then a free drink when they get 150 stars. It means spending around £50.  

For a £2.95 small latte, it means buying 17 small lattes to get a free one. 

Taking a leaf out of airline loyalty programs, Starbucks has a “gold level”.

This is reached once you have collected 450 stars – after spending £84. 

It lets you claim perks like extra shots, dairy-free milks and whipped cream for free.

There is also a drink on the house for your birthday. 

  • How it works: £1 spent = 3 stars (includes partial pounds spent), 150 stars = free drink
  • Small latte cost: £2.95
  • Number of drinks to hit target: 17
  • Cost for a 'free' coffee: £50.15
  • Reusable cup bonus: 25p off

Caffe Nero – after spending £31.50

The best if you get your coffee in a reusable cup – you’ll get a free one after buying five.

Every drink gets you a reward stamp in your Caffe Nero app.

You get an extra one if you bring your own cup.

Every nine stamps is a free drink.

So, take your reusable cup and you get a free latte, cappuccino, flat white or whatever your chosen caffeine is after paying for just four and a half. 

With a small latte costing £3.50, that is a free one after spending £31.50.

Go green with a reusable cup and it is half that, so just £15.75.

  • How it works: 1 drink purchased = 1 stamp, 9 stamps = free drink
  • Small latte cost: £3.50
  • Number of drinks to hit target: 9
  • Cost for a 'free' coffee: £31.50
  • Reusable cup bonus: Yes, one extra stamp

Costa – after spending £35

Customers must now buy an extra two coffees to get a free one at Costa – after a change in August.

They get a freebie after buying ten now, rather than eight.

Until the change, Costa was among the best schemes out there.

But like Nero you get an extra stamp for a reusable cup.

Stamps can be collected in any of the chain’s 2,800 coffee shops, as well as around 12,000 machines in petrol stations and convenience stores. 

For a small latte, at £3.50, it’s £35 to get a free coffee.

Those going to a Costa store can earn an additional ban with a reusable cup, so that cuts the outlay down to £17.50 or buying five coffees.

  • How it works: 1 drink purchased = 1 bean, 10 beans = free drink
  • Small latte cost: £3.50
  • Number of drinks to hit target: 10
  • Cost for a 'free' coffee: £35
  • Reusable cup bonus: Yes, one extra bean

Krispy Kreme – after spending £23.60

Krispy Kreme rewards members earn smiles which can be redeemed for rewards ranging from free drinks to boxes of doughnuts. 

You earn 10 smiles for every whole £1 spent on doughnuts, drinks or ice cream at Krispy Kreme shops, online and in supermarkets. 

This means a £2.95 latte will get you 20 smiles.

Once you earn enough smiles, you can convert them into rewards. 

You need 150 for a free coffee, which would mean buying eight or spending £23.60.

O|r you might want to use smiles for a treat. For example, 100 smiles will get you an original glazed doughnut while 800 smiles can be converted into an original glazed dozen.

You can earn smiles in supermarkets but you can’t redeem there – only in Krispy Kreme stores or online.

  • How it works: Whole £1 spent = 10 smiles (does not include partial pounds spent), 150 smiles = free drink
  • Small latte cost: £2.95
  • Number of drinks to hit target: 8
  • Cost for a 'free' coffee: £23.60
  • Reusable cup bonus: No

Pret – after spending £33

Pret Perks used to only be available to those with its coffee subscription but now anyone can sign up for rewards.

In fact, the scheme is a bit more straightforward if you’re not a subscriber. 

You will earn one star each time you make a purchase in a Pret store. Ten stars will get you a surprise reward that you can redeem in store.

This will be a choice from a selection of menu items and Pret promises to make sure all dietary restrictions are met amongst the choices.

Club Pret – the £30 monthly subscription that gets you up to five barista-made drinks per day and 20% off of the entire menu – can also help you earn Pret Perks. 

You get a star each month your £30 subscription renews but you don’t earn stars on your free coffees.

You’ll need to make a purchase outside the subscription to earn a star. 

Since Club Pret members already get free hot drinks, the reward selections for them will usually be pastries or snacks. 

Member or not, the rewards expire after 30 days so make sure you redeem them quickly.

  • How it works: Any purchase = 1 star, 10 stars = free "suprise"
  • Small latte cost: £3.30
  • Number of drinks to hit target: 10
  • Cost for a 'free' coffee: £33
  • Reusable cup bonus: No

Gail's – after spending £28.80

Customers at Gail’s Bakery can end up buying upwards of 50 lattes just to get a free one.

Most loyalty schemes give a stamp per hot drink bought, and then a free coffee after collecting a set number, typically between six and ten.

It means those who regularly buy coffees for work colleagues or friends soon rack up enough for a free one.

But Gail’s, with around 100 outlets, offers a stamp for each visit, rather per drink, under the recently relaunched digital version of its loyalty programme.

Customers do get an extra stamp if they spend more than £20 each time, but it still means someone buying a round of six small lattes – based on the Gail's typical £3.20 for each one – would get just one stamp despite spending £19.20. 

That could mean spending more than £172.

  • How it works: Each visit = 1 stamp (extra stamp if spending more than £20), 10 stamps = free coffee
  • Small latte cost: £3.20
  • Number of drinks to hit target: 9
  • Cost for a 'free' coffee: £28.80
  • Reusable cup bonus: No

Greggs – after spending £14.85

You get a free coffee, or hot drink of your choice, just for downloading the Greggs rewards app

After that, you’ll collect stamps for each purchase made at a Greggs branch. 

Greggs has divided its items into six categories: breakfast, savouries and bakes, drinks, sandwiches and salads, sweet treats and hot food.

Each time you buy an item in any category you earn one stamp. 

Once you collect nine stamps in any category, you get a free item from that same category. 

So for a small latte, costing £2.35, you get a free one after spending £21.15 on nine. 

You can collect stamps for multiple categories at once and you’ll also get a free sweet treat on your birthday. 

Read more on The Sun


Sceptical Strictly fans accuse show of fix in favour of ‘BBC favourite’


Sue Radford's daughter Tillie shows off cooking skills as she makes dessert

If you’re a creature of habit and always get a latte and a sausage roll then your tenth latte and sausage roll will be free.

  • How it works: 1 hot drink purchased = 1 stamp, 9 stamps = free drink
  • Small latte cost: £2.35
  • Number of drinks to hit target: 9
  • Cost for a 'free' coffee: £14.85
  • Reusable cup bonus: No

Source: Read Full Article