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