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M&S trials Sparks loyalty subscription costing £120 a year

Sparks Plus includes unlimited free next-day delivery and invites to store events
M&S food trolley

M&S is piloting a premium version of its Sparks customer loyalty scheme with selected current members.

Sparks Plus costs £120 a year, which you must pay upfront, and offers benefits such as unlimited next-day delivery and a free hot drink each month.

Here, Which? takes a closer look at how Sparks Plus compares, the future of the free version of Sparks and whether it's worth paying for the loyalty subscription scheme to save.

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What does Sparks Plus offer?

M&S told Which? that Sparks Plus is being rolled out on a trial basis to a ‘very small number’ of customers who are current Sparks loyalty cardholders.

The perks you’ll get if you’re eligible to sign up for what M&S called its 'subscription service' include:

  • Monthly £10 M&S voucher
  • Unlimited free next-day delivery
  • Free hot drink each month from M&S cafés
  • Double charity donations (compared with the free version of Sparks)
  • Invites to store events

There are more ‘exclusive benefits’ available as part of the scheme, too, such as special gifts, but M&S hasn’t yet shared details on those. 

You’ll get these perks alongside what you get through the free version of Sparks.

How does Sparks Plus compare with the free version of Sparks?

The free version of the M&S Sparks loyalty scheme gives members: 

  • Personalised offers
  • The chance to get your shopping for free
  • Money donated to one of more than 25 charities of your choosing each time you shop. 
  • Your seventh hot drink free when you buy six at M&S cafés.

You can’t earn points with Sparks or Sparks Plus as you can with many other supermarket loyalty cards.

Sparks was overhauled in July 2020 to become digital-first, so you can’t get a physical Sparks card and must manage your account through the app. M&S made the change after gathering feedback from 250,000 of its seven million loyalty scheme members. 

You can join Sparks at Marksandspencer.com and download the M&S app. The ‘small number’ of customers who have been invited by the retailer to take part in the trial of Sparks Plus can do so now, but M&S didn’t share when it will be available to all customers.

What will happen to the free Sparks scheme?

M&S told Which? that the Sparks Plus loyalty programme isn't designed to replace the free version of the scheme.

Sparks Plus is not the only addition to the Sparks scheme M&S has unveiled in recent months. 

It introduced Sparks Pay exclusively for its Sparks members through M&S Bank in October 2022. This allows you to borrow up to £500 to spend on your shopping with M&S, where interest may be charged at a representative annual rate of 23.9%. 

Which other loyalty schemes charge a fee?

M&S is also not the only supermarket to create a premium version of its customer loyalty scheme.

Tesco introduced Clubcard Plus in November 2019, which costs £7.99 a month. It offers 10% off two 'big shops' each month (in-store only), 10% off selected Tesco brands in-store including F&F and Tesco Pet, double data on Tesco Mobile and the opportunity to apply for a Clubcard Plus credit card.

When it launched, Tesco told us that the scheme could save its 19 million Clubcard customers more than £400 a year.

How much could you save with Sparks Plus?

M&S said the benefits of Sparks Plus are worth more than £200 on top of the existing Sparks benefits. 

The £10 M&S voucher you get each month will mean you will eventually recoup the £120 fee after a year.

And you could easily save money if you enjoy grabbing a hot drink in a M&S café – going for a mocha each month will save you around £34 with the scheme.

Unlimited free next-day delivery could make investing in the scheme worthwhile, as it normally costs £4.99. If you used the perk each month you could save nearly £60.

You'll just need to weigh up whether the other premium perks such as invites to store events and double charity donations are worth paying for.