Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world, with more than 400 billion cups consumed each year .
We now drink approximately 98 million cups of coffee in the UK daily. On the high street, café culture has also continued to boom, 80% of people who visit coffee shops do so at least once a week, whilst 16% of us visit daily. [britishcoffeeassociation.org]
But prices are rising. A flat white can cost between £3.5 and £4, with additional cost for alternative milk or decaffeinated coffee.
This is how you can get a few coffees for free.
Greggs, the high street chain from Newcastle, famous for its sausage rolls and low prices, offers the easiest way to a free coffee (or any hot drink) in the country.
Simply download the app and create an account and that’s it! You will find it in the Wallet.
With its 2,400 stores nationwide, topping Subway’s count of 2,300, finding one branch is a very easy task.
Gails is a popular bakery that started in Hampstead High Street (London) and is now available in other cities as well. They serve delicious handmade bread, pastries and cakes every day. Their cinnamon buns are amazing.
And getting a free coffee is as easy as in Greggs’s. Just download the app and create a loyalty account. And as in most loyalty programs, you can get another free drink once you collect 9 stamps (the 10th free!).
Spend £20 or more in-store and get bonus stamps. And last but not least: get a free pastry for your birthday!
Benugo is a relatively small chain that offers very good sandwiches and salads, besides coffee.
They don’t have an app or loyalty scheme yet, but you can subscribe to their newsletter and get a free coffee. Take advantage while it lasts.
Note: as expected with this kind of “informal” system, it’s been reported that some shops are not very willing to accept them.
Caffe Nero also offers the 10th coffee for free via their loyalty schema. They don’t give you a free one just by installing/registering; however, if you download the app using this referral link and make your first purchase, you’ll get a voucher for a free hot drink.
Bonus stamp for reusable cups!
Costa Coffee, the biggest coffee chain in the UK with more than 2500 shops, also offers a loyalty programme. However; you are also required to get 9 stamps for a free drink.
There are two things you can do to reach the 10th stamp faster: get 5 beans (stamps) by this referral link, or use a reusable cup.
They also give you a free cake for your birthday!
Waitrose, the “high-end” supermarket offers one free coffee or tea per day as long as you buy something in the store, except 5p bag, tobacco, stamps, mobile or e-top-up vouchers, lottery tickets and gift vouchers.
All you need to do is create an account and then sign up to My Waitrose, for which you get a digital card.
McDonald’s, the American chain “we all love”, offers a loyalty app with which you can get a free coffee or hot drink once you collect the necessary number of points.
The first time you install the app you get 1000 points for free, and you will be only 500 points away from a Regular McCafe.
Starbucks, the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, offers a Starbucks Rewards scheme where members can get a free drink after collecting 150 stars (you get three points for every £1).
A Gold Level membership (+450 points) entitles you to special treats such as extra espresso shots, selected syrups, whipped cream and a free drink of choice on your birthday (Note: you must join the programme at least seven days before your birthday and make at least one star-earning transaction each year).
Pret A Manger
Pret, the British “healthy” sandwich shop franchise chain, has finally launched (in 2021) its much-expected rewards programme called Pret Perks. You get 1 star for every shop and you get a reward on your 10th. Rewards come from a “selection of tasty treats”.
Besides that, Pret has an initiative known as ‘random acts of kindness’ in which baristas are allowed to give out something on the house to whomever they like.
Last but not least, Pret offers Club Pret. You can subscribe for £30 a month (first month half price) and get 5 barista-made drinks a day (hot or iced) with 30 mins between redemptions plus 20% off our entire menu (every day!).
Since the first month is half-price (£15), you can simply register and spend that amount in a month (it’s enough to buy 4.22 flat whites) so the rest of the coffees that month will effectively be free.
Paul, the French-style bakery, also offers the classic stamp-based loyalty system: for every nine hot drinks you buy, you will get the 10th free.
Install the app, create an account and start collecting stamps.
They also send surprise gifts and treats along the way.
IKEA, the popular Swedish furniture store, offers a free hot drink every time you visit a store on a weekday, as long as you are subscribed to their IKEA Family card.
You will also get monthly offers and exclusive discounts.