If you’ve got a Nectar card, are you making the most of your points?
One of my most popular articles is Why I hate Nectar points. It’s mainly about my frustration with the Double Up scheme, which I think is a bit of a joke. So why am I writing another post about Nectar if I’m not a fan?
Well, because if you shop at Sainsbury’s you may as well collect the points. Plus, unlike Clubcard and other loyalty schemes, you can rack up points at lots of other retailers including eBay and Expedia.
And if you’ve got points, you’ll need to spend them. The options aren’t great, especially since this summer Nectar dropped one of the few decent deals which gave two cinema tickets for 500 points, and last year reduced the Double Up weekend to just once (normally late November).
Of course this could all change soon. Nectar is currently trialing a different format on the Isle of Wight. If it goes well the changes could be rolled out Nationwide.
However for the moment these are my tips for both collecting and spending Nectar.
Best places to collect Nectar points
OK, this is the basic starting point. You get one point for every £1 spent at Sainsbury’s. 500 points are worth £2.50, so this which works out at 0.5% (more on the value of loyalty card points in my How much are loyalty points worth article).
Swipe at the till to get your points, and keep an eye on the app or digital account for special offers which boost the number of points you’ll get. I recently added an offer to give me double points for my next six shops. Annoyingly you have to activate these in your account.
Don’t forget to check if there are any discounted Sainsburys gift cards at Zeek to give you some extra savings while you earn your Nectar points. The code CLEVERCASH will give you an extra £5 off your first purchase (Min spend £45).
If you link your account to eBay you’ll get 1 point per £1 spent (so the same as Sainbury’s). There are also bonus offers throughout the year.
You can earn 200 points (£1) on hotel, flight or car bookings, or £1,000 (£5) on package bookings. You can add the card number when you book, or save it to your account so you don’t have to do it every time.
You can swipe in store to get two points per £1 spent, so roughly 1% back in points.
A handful of train companies will give you two Nectar points per £1 spent, which works out as 1% back. You just put your Nectar card details in when you pay.
- Virgin Trains West Coast – 2 Nectar points per £1 spent
- Hull Trains – 2 Nectar points per £1 spent
- Great Western Railway – 2 Nectar points per £1 spent
- TransPennine Express – 2 Nectar points per £1 spent
Get a Nectar credit card
If you shop at a Nectar store a lot, it might be worth getting a Nectar American Express credit card as you’ll get up to four points for every £1 spent. Otherwise, it’s still a decent two points per £1, which works out at 1%.
>> I’ve written about the different Amex cashback credit cards – and how you might be able to get a bonus for signing up
Unlike the retailers already mentioned, to get the points for the following shops you have to click through from the Nectar website. However, I’d personally use TopCashback or Quidco instead as you’ll get much better rates.
A good example is BT or Sky. You get 5,000 odd points for switching via Nectar. Sounds a lot. It’s actually only £25. You can easy get well over £100 from the cashback sites.
But if you’d rather collect Nectar, here are some of the shops included:
- Argos – 1 Nectar point per £1 spent
- Apple – 1 Nectar point per £1 spent
- Game – 1 Nectar point per £1 spent
- Habitat – 1 Nectar point per £1 spent
- Disney Store – 6 Nectar points per £1 spent
- Boden – 2 Nectar points per £1 spent
Best ways to spend Nectar points
I wish I had more to say here but sadly, it’s rare to get many boosts to the value of your Nectar points, though from time to time there are special offers.
Double up weekend
The Nectar/Sainsbury’s Double Up Weekend used to run twice a year, but in 2017 it only ran at Christmas. There’s no guarantee but hopefully it will be back in winter 2018z
I say hopefully even though I’m not a fan AT ALL as it really is the only way to increase the value of your points. Essentially you swap your points for a voucher to spend in Sainsbury’s that is worth twice their value. So 500 points will get you a £5 voucher.
However you’re severely limited where in store you can spend the voucher, and as I shared in that article, there are other annoying restrictions.
Still, I did pick up some nice Taste the Difference wine last year, and I’m planning on doing the same this year and stocking up. I also used a voucher against a NOW TV box with Entertainment Passes, which was a decent deal.
Ongoing Nectar points offers at Sainsbury’s, Argos, Vue, eBay, Expedia and more
There are a fraction of the partners you get with Tesco Clubcard, and few opportunities to boost the value.
Usually 500 points are worth £2.50. You also have to spend them in chunks (usually 500 points or 1,000 points) rather than choose how many you’d like to use.
The obvious place is Sainsbury’s, though you can exchange them for the same value at the following retailers.
- Sainsbury’s – 500 points for £2.50
- Vue – 500 points for £2.50
- Argos – 500 points for £2.50
- eBay – 500 points for £2.50
- Expedia – 2,000 points are worth £10
Slightly better value options include
- Pizza Express – 500 points are worth £3.75
- Caffe Nero – 350 points (£1.75) gets you any drink in any size
Some of these retailers let you swipe your card or link your card to use points. Others require you to exchange the points for a voucher or code via the Nectar website.
Occasional Nectar points special offers
Occasionally there are increased points offers. For example, over the 2018 May bank holiday weekend you could earn 10 times the number of points when shopping at Sainsbury’s or buying petrol, which was good, but it’s not happened since.
Sadly one of the best in recent years appears to have been axed. In the summers of 2015, 2016 and 2017 you could swap 500 points for two Vue tickets or two Pizza Express mains. Thats £2.50! But it looks like it won’t be happening in 2018, and there hasn’t been anything decent to replace the promotion.
Still, it’s worth keeping an eye out for anything like these, though they are quite rare. If I spot any really good offers I’ll share them here in this article, so book mark and check back, or subscribe to my newsletter for updates.