M&S launches the ‘Sparks’ loyalty scheme

Tom Wilson
15 October 2015
Marks & Spencer has finally stepped into the reward scheme arena by announcing ‘Sparks’ – its new members club.Unlike the more established Clubcard and Nectar schemes from Tesco and Sainsbury’s respectively, Sparks members can’t spend the points they earn, but instead will ‘unlock’ special offers and discounts when they reach milestones.Here’s our quick Q&A on how it works: How can I earn points?Sparks members will earn 10 points for every £1 they spend. They’ll also receive an extra 10 points for every transaction. They can also earn 25 points for each product review they complete on M&S’s website.Sparks members will get 50 points every time they donate old or unwanted clothing via M&S’s ‘shwop’ scheme, a recycling partnership with Oxfam. M&S will also donate 1p to a charity of the member’s choice each time they use their card. What can I do with points?Sparks members will get tailored offers, based on their shopping patterns and the items they say they are interested in when signing up to the scheme.Offers are sent fortnightly, and members can earn extra offers by accumulating points. The offers could be anything from a 10% department discount, to free products with particular purchases.Earning 3,000 points will let members preview new reason ranges, and 7,000 points allows them to access online sales 24 hours early. Reaching 14,000 points unlocks access to special events and masterclasses, from food tasting to fashion previews. Finally, shoppers who reach 17,000 points will be entered into regular prize draws to win holidays or other gifts. Is it good value?As Sparks is quite different to other reward schemes and details of the rewards haven’t been announced, it’s hard to compare the value yet.Someone spending £50 once a month in M&S would earn 6,000 points a year, giving them access to the fortnightly offers. £100 a month would earn 12,000 points, allowing early access to sales.The scheme looks as though it’s stacked in favour of smaller regular transactions, thanks to the per-shop bonus. Spending £3 on lunch 200 days a year would earn 8,000 points over a year, unlocking the regular offers and early sales access. Can I lose my points?Sparks points reset once a year, on the anniversary of joining. When your points reset, you won’t lose any money as they don’t have a cash value. Crucially, you’ll carry over the reward level you’ve reached for another year, while your reward points accumulate again. How can I sign up?The scheme launches nationwide on 22 October, though some M&S customers and shareholders have already been invited to join. Interested customers can also sign up early by collecting a SPARKS card from their local M&S store.As an introductory offer, M&S is running daily prize draws between 22 October and 4 November where all registered members could win special rewards. Full details haven’t been revealed yet, but these include M&S paying for Christmas day.

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