Money for nothing as £4.25 billion goes begging

83% of people are sitting on unredeemed vouchers, points or air miles.

The credit crunch might be squeezing people’s finances but some 83 per cent of customers have still failed to cash in on some £4.25 billion worth of gift vouchers, credit notes, loyalty points and air miles, according to new research from

The independent financial comparison website says customers are frequently drawn to products and services because of the incentives offered through loyalty schemes but then often fail to cash in on the benefits.

The research shows that more than half of British adults (57%) have amassed points on reward credit cards worth an average of £42, while one in five people has yet to redeem air miles typically worth £162.

And even gift vouchers have proved difficult to spend. The poll showed that over half the adult population is sitting on an unredeemed gift voucher worth on average £51.

Sean Gardner of said: "It’s fairly typical for a company to offer customers an incentive to join their club. Whether it’s reward points in a supermarket or air miles for choosing a specific airline, loyalty is meant to pay."

"However our research shows that while these schemes are a clear incentive to buyers, we as customers do not fulfil our end of the bargain and spend our hard earned rewards. Which means providers have won twice by getting your business and then not having to reward your loyalty as agreed."

"If this shows anything it’s that there are very few reward schemes that genuinely work. Perhaps the best bet is to stick to a cashback credit card, where at least you are automatically rewarded in pounds and pence."

According to those living in London and the South East are most likely to be sitting on unredeemed credit card points (63%) worth an average of £50. The over 55s are also most likely to be hoarding credit card points (64%) with an average value of £39.

Product % of adult population with unredeemed points Average Value
Credit card points 57% £41.51
Gift vouchers 51% £42.46
Credit notes 6% £32.43
Other loyalty schemes 34% £35.06
Airmiles 20% £162.88

Providers that offer competitive cashback credit cards include Abbey, which offers up to £50 cashback off your supermarket shopping; American Express, which pays back 5% of all purchases in the first three months; and Citibank’s Shell Mastercard, which offers a 3% rebate on Shell fuel purchases and a 1% return on all other purchases.

* ICM questioned 1000+ people aged 18 and above between 28th Feb – 2nd March
Figures grossed up by Citigate Dewe Rogerson using GB adult population figure of 46,300,400 (Office of National Statistics)

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