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We compare grocery retail rewards programmes

20 January 2021
4 minute read

Women at supermarket shopping

72% of South African consumers belonged to a loyalty or rewards programme in 2019, and on average, South Africans belong to over five rewards programmes. Grocery rewards are the rewards programmes South Africans use the most, and they can help you save on everyday shopping. We investigated SA’s top grocery retailers’ rewards programmes to find out what they offer and how you can get the most out of them.

How do retailer rewards programmes work?

You sign up for a loyalty/rewards programme, receive your membership card and/or download an app and start earning rewards! Membership is free for the grocery retailer rewards programmes.

Rewards can include:

  • Discounts
  • Cash backs 
  • Points that convert into cash backs
  • Exclusive giveaways
  • Vouchers

As a further incentive, some loyalty programmes will either let you donate your rewards to a charity or donate to a  charity on your behalf based on your spend.

SA’s retailer reward programmes and what they offer

Programme and retailers where it is available Rewards you can earn Donate
Pick n Pay Smart Shopper

Points that convert into cash backs: Every R2 spent earns 1 point and 100 points convert into R1 that you can spend at Pick n Pay or a partner.

Personal discounts: Every two weeks you get personal discounts on items you often buy.

Partners: BP (earn and use points), Europcar and Planet Fitness (earn points), Intercape, Steers, Spur, Ster Kinekor and Netflorist (use points).

Smart Shopper members can also join Pick n Pay clubs (Wine Club, Coffee Club, Pet Club and Baby Club) to earn more points and qualify for discounts on select items.

You can donate your points to a pre-approved charity.
(Woolworths,Engen Woolworths stores, Country Road, Trenery, Witchery)

Discounts: You qualify for savings on select items.

Personal vouchers: Members may also qualify for vouchers from time to time, including a birthday voucher.

You can link your card to programmes like MySchool, MyVillage or MyPlanet, and Woolworths will donate funds on your behalf to an approved charity or organisation linked to these programmes.
Spar Rewards
(Participating Spar stores)

Discounts: You are notified on your cell phone of current discounts and vouchers.

Free shopping: 1 000 shoppers win their shopping free every month.

Xtra Savings
(Checkers and Shoprite)

Discounts: You qualify for discounts on selected items when you shop.

Free shopping: Over 200 shoppers win their shopping free, up to the value of R1 000, each week.

You can link your card to a charity such as the Lunchbox Fund and Checkers will donate to the charity on your behalf.
OK count on!
(Participating OK stores)
Cash backs: You earn cash backs on shopping that you can use to pay for items at participating OK stores.  
Cash backs: You earn cash backs on selected deals. Use at Makro or send to a loved one for them to use at Makro. You can donate cash backs to a Makro approved charity.

Two things to note

  • We didn’t include the Food Lovers Market rewards programme as this is only currently available in four stores in the Western Cape.
  • Spar and OK stores are independently run franchises, so you need to check if your local store is part of the group’s rewards programme.

How do you know which rewards programme is best for you?

Look at what rewards you can earn, how you earn them and whether or not you will use them. In many cases this will depend on where you shop and what you buy. Luck also plays a role – such as when you win your shopping free!

Smart Shopper is consistently ranked as South Africans’ favourite grocery rewards programme in annual surveys by Truth and BrandMapp, and it is the one most South Africans use. Of the 1Life policyholders we surveyed earlier this year, 73% have a Smart Shopper card and 61% used it in the last 12 months. Although it works on a points system and the points do expire, you earn points on most things you buy at Pick n Pay and partner stores.

Five ways to get the most out of your rewards programme

  1. Link your card to your contact details so you are notified of special deals and personal discounts.
  2. Link your card to online shopping profiles so that you get discounts for in-store and online shopping.
  3. Check expiry dates and use points or discounts before they expire. Smart Shopper points expire 12 months after you have earned them. Discounts on selected items are only valid for a certain time, such as two weeks.
  4. Always use your rewards card when you shop to make sure you never miss out on points or special offers.
  5. Check with your medical aid and bank to see if you can link retail reward programmes to their reward programmes. For example, when you link Pick n Pay Smart Shopper and Discovery Vitality, you can earn cash back on healthy food purchases.

Happy shopping

The programmes we looked at are free, so it makes sense to join up for the programmes offered by the stores you shop at. You will get a few SMSs, app notifications and emails, but you will also be able to save money on basic necessities and a few luxury items.

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