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Working Lunch Tuesday, 15 April, 2003, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
What's your loyalty worth?
As many Working Lunch viewers are discovering to their cost, Goldfish, the credit card provider, is "upgrading" its loyalty scheme.

But these changes actually mean cardholders will have to spend more to get the value from their points.

From 1 May, Goldfish cardholders will still earn one Goldfish point for every pound spent, but the redemption values of their points will be changing.

Angry customers

One Working Lunch viewer, Linda Neale, used to be able to get £10 worth of Asda vouchers with 1,000 points. From May, she'll need 1,500 points to give her the same amount in vouchers. She's now considering switching cards.

Duncan Woolard, a pensioner from Lincolnshire, will be £60 to £70 a year worse off because of the changes.

He uses his points to pay off his British Gas bill.

From May the points can be redeemed at the rate of 0.66 of a penny against British Gas trading bills.

This compares with a previous redemption value of 1p. So for every 1,000 points accumulated, Duncan would get £10 off his gas bill.

Now he will have to save more than half as many points again and thus spend more in the process!

The loss is quite considerable for a pensioner. And when Goldfish and British Gas are both owned by the same company, Centrica, Duncan wonders why they needed to change the scheme for customers who have been so loyal over the years.

To add insult to injury the points will now expire after three years instead of the previous six. Is this an improvement?

Goldfish think so because they are now promising more discounts and special offers.

Not alone

In fact, according to Moneyfacts, even with this change, Goldfish still appears to be one of the best cards on offer in terms of loyalty points.

And they're certainly not alone in changing their schemes.

Jonathan Thetford, Moneyfacts
"Keep checking the small print for changes," says Jonathan

Jonathan Thetford from Moneyfacts says you have to keep checking on the small print in your statement because more and more companies are changing the goalposts when they "review procedures".

Nice deals

Here are some of the best deals available according to Moneyfacts.

Blue Amex from American Express:

  • 1% Cashback on all items
  • on request: 5% for the first month or
  • 2% for the first 3 months (AMEX deal is only available on request - call 0800 700 111)

    Abbey National Cashback Credit Card

  • 0.5% Cashback on the first £500
  • 1% Cashback over £500 monthly up to £20,000 spend

    Alliance & Leicester MoneyBack Card

  • 1% on all spending up to £20,000 a year
  • Premier Account 0.5% on first £4,000 and then 1% up to£20,000

    Warning

    For Goldfish cardholders though, you've got until the end of April to spend your points before they lose their value. And be warned - it might be worth holding on before you switch cards.

    Working Lunch has learned that another major card is about to slash its loyalty points scheme in the near future.

    Watch this space.

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