THE best things in life really are free – according to 59 per cent of Brits who get a kick out of buying beauty products, clothes and groceries without splashing the cash.
A study of 2,000 adults revealed 82% used loyalty points to make future purchases cheaper, with two-thirds using them to reduce cost of their food shops.
For almost three-quarters 74%, they’re using points to supplement their income and save money.
In fact, nine in 10 Brits 92% are a member of at least one loyalty programme – up by 17% from last year.
This comes as Virgin Red launches its second report, The Points Index, ‘Making Points Go Further’ which takes stock of the nation’s mood, looking at how public spending and behaviour has changed in the last year.
The report reveals that more than a third 35% collected more loyalty points in the past 12 months than ever before, as people got more savvy in order to cope with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
Internal data from Virgin Red saw a rise in redemptions across November and December, with members cashing in their loyalty points for rewards such as flights, train tickets, wine and gift cards.
The spike indicates a possible drive of last-minute travel and gift buying ahead of the festive period – highlighting how people are making their money work harder by using points for gifts or reducing the cost of their train travel home.
With travel firmly back on the radar, more than half (55%) plan to use their hard-earned points to reward themselves with things they usually wouldn’t be able to afford, such as holidays or flights.
Andrea Burchett, chief loyalty officer and managing director at Virgin Red said: “For some, reward points offer a way to supplement increasing day-to-day costs, such as grocery bills.
“But for others, it’s a positive way to treat themselves, be those day-to-day small wins or holding out for a big-ticket item such as international travel.
“Experiences, and in particular travel, are a clear focus for 2024, so it’s great to see people are turning to loyalty points to prioritise this, whilst being mindful of the existing economic pressures.”
The thought of high-end rewards being genuinely attainable however has shrunk, according to the research, as 27% think you can use them for big-ticket items such as flights or theatre tickets – a 15% drop from 2022.
When it comes to dream getaways, the Maldives and Tokyo topped the list.
But, more than half (52%) admitted to feeling guilt when spending money on something indulgent, knowing others are struggling financially, and only 10% of adults feeling more confident in the state of the economy compared to this time, last year.
This goes some way to explaining why 36% cent intend to be kinder to themselves in 2024 with small but frequent self-gifts.
This includes coffee, meals out and wine, as well as trips to the cinema – with the release of Oppenheimer and Barbie last July seeing Virgin Red members increase cinema ticket redemptions by two and a half times more than any other month during 2023.
Andrea Burchett from Virgin Red added: “While we do not offer a crystal ball to see what’s in store for 2024, we hope the report helps people understand more about the loyalty programmes they’re a member of and importantly, how they can make their money go further – all that’s left to do, is decide which reward you want to go for.”
Why are Brits reducing their spending?
In other news, a savvy shopper has revealed how you can get a FREE coffee every week if you are signed up with a certain energy supplier.
We’ve put together a handy list of the exact time to bag yellow sticker bargains in major supermarkets and it could save you hundreds.
Check out our list of lesser-known loyalty schemes that can get you free food, coffee and petrol.
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