If you’ve got a Nectar card, are you making the most of your points?
If you shop at Sainsbury’s you may as well collect the points. Unlike Clubcard and other loyalty schemes, you can rack up points at lots of other retailers including Argos and eBay.
And if you’ve got points, you’ll need to spend them. Most of the time it’s going to be exchanged at face value, though you can now swap them for Avios points.
Options to boost the value aren’t great, especially since Nectar dropped the Double Up promotion.
In this article I’ve explained how Nectar works and how you can sign up, plus I’ve shared more tips for both collecting and spending Nectar.
How Nectar points work
One Nectar point is worth 0.5p, meaning if you earn 1 point from a purchase it’s the equivalent of 0.5% cashback. 100 points are therefore 50p, 200 points £1 and so on.
This is half the value of a Tesco Clubcard points. I’ve written more extensively about the value of different points in this loyalty cards article.
Value of Nectar points
- 1 Nectar point = 0.5p
- 2 Nectar points = 1p
- 100 Nectar points = 50p
- 200 Nectar points = £1
- 500 Nectar points = £2.50
- 1,000 Nectar points = £5
- 2,500 Nectar points = £12.50
- 5,000 Nectar points = £25
Points can usually be doubled once a year in Sainsbury’s stores, though it’s a limited choice of what these boosted points can be used on – and there’s no guarantee the offer will take place each year.
How Nectar works
Nectar is the loyalty scheme for Sainsbury’s, Argos and a handful of other retailers. It’s actually owned by Sainsbury’s, though it can be collected and redeemed with other brands.
How to collect Nectar points
You earn points when you shop at participating shops retailers. I’ve a long list of the best places to earn Nectar points below.
When shopping in stores you’ll need a Nectar card, which can be a physical plastic one or a digital one stored on the Nectar app. Online you’ll need to either connect your Nectar card to the relevant account, or shop via the Nectar website.
You can also earn them on all spending via a couple of Nectar credit cards, or by converting Avios points.
How to spend Nectar points
Your options for using Nectar points are quite limited. It’s most likely you’ll use them in-store at Sainsbury’s and at a handful of partners.
Most of the time you’ll swipe your card to redeem your points in-store, or select to use them online. With some partners you need to convert your points into vouchers. You can also swap them to Avios points.
I’ve got more information on all of these options below, along with my picks of the best ones.
How to sign up to Nectar
You can get a Nectar card online, via the app or by picking up a form in a Sainsbury’s store.
Once you’ve done this a physical card will be posted out, though you’ll have a digital card via the app straight away.
How to check your Nectar points balance
Not sure how many Nectar points you have? The Nectar app and website both contain your current points total, as well as a record of where and when you earned your points.
Watch my video sharing the top tips to spend and earn Nectar points
The best places to collect Nectar points
Earn points as you spend
You’ll get one point for every £1 spent at Sainsbury’s. 500 points are worth £2.50, so this 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.
You might also get vouchers for extra points at the till, sometimes double or triple points on your next transaction. If you can be bothered to buy a single, cheap item at the start of your shop, you should then get any vouchers printed out ready for you to use on the rest of your shopping.
Get bonus points via weekly offers
Nectar was relaunched in 2019. The big idea with “new” Nectar is as well get generic point offers, you’ll get ones tailored to your shopping habits. These change every Friday.
When I logged in I was given six different offers on Sainsbury’s produce. Five were product-specific, such as an extra 20 points if I buy some organic red peppers, or 10 points for any fresh salad. There was also a bonus 200 points if I spend £40 in store. A few days later I got another six offers which this time covered milk, soup and bread.
You have to save the offers to your account, though there’s a handy “save all offers” button. And of course you still have to scan your card at the till.
Based on the offers I’ve seen, it’s pretty average. 10p back on some organic peppers isn’t going to make me buy them.
But if it was something I wanted to buy, those 20 points would be more than the two I’d get normally.
The deals are meant to be based on your shopping habits and seeing as I very rarely shop at Sainsbury’s nowadays, it’s possible regular shoppers will get better options.
But something is better than nothing so it’s a welcome addition if you regularly shop at Sainsbury’s.
And remember, these loyalty schemes are never a reason to choose a supermarket. It’s better instead to go on price and factors such as how easy it is for you to get there.
Sainsbury’s has introduced new discounts for Nectar holders, similar to Tesco Clubcard prices. To get these, you just shop as normal, looking out for the Nectar price on the shelves. At checkout, you need to make sure you remember to scan your Nectar card and the discount will be applied. You can read more about this here.
Your Nectar Prices
This seems like it’s the same as above, but Your Nectar Prices is specific to you. These come through weekly and will be based on your shopping history, potentially saving you money on things you’ll actually buy. There are only a few offers each week, but it’s worth having a peek when you get the notification.
You can now earn points at Argos. It’s one point per £1 spent, though it’s occasionally doubled. You’ll need to link your accounts.
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 that can be found in the Nectar app. Register your Nectar card on eBay
Esso replaced BP on Nectar in the summer of 2019. You can earn 1 point per litre of fuel, or swipe in-store to get two points per £1 spent on other things, so roughly 1% back in points.
You can convert 300 Avios points to 400 Nectar points – handy if you’ve got a surplus of Avios points that you won’t use. You can also swap them back the other way (you’ll only get 250 points though). This is also a way to boost the value of Amex Reward points.
Via Nectar credit cards
If you shop at a Nectar store a lot, it might be worth getting a Nectar credit card. There are two main options.
The American Express Nectar credit card is the best bet and will earn you up to two points for every £1 spent, worth 1%. You’ll also still earn a point per £1 spent at Sainsbury’s, Argos and eBay. There’s also a bonus worth £100 pounds when you first sign up and spend £2,000.
Sainsbury’s own credit cards will also earn you points when you spend. It’s 3 Nectar points per £2 spent in Sainsbury’s, Argos, Habitat and Tu (the equivalent of 0.75%), but only 1 point for every £5 elsewhere (0.10%)
Due to the difference in rates I think you’re often better off with a standard cashback Amex as you can use the money you earn anywhere, not just places like Sainsbury’s.
Via Amex membership rewards
You can convert American Express Rewards points to Nectar points at a value of one to one, meaning one Amex point would be worth 0.5p. However, you can boost this if you first convert your Amex points to Avois points and then onto Nectar points. It increases the value to 0.67p per Amex point.
This is a great use for large Amex welcome bonuses, which can be worth between £100 and £500, depending on the card.
Via utilities & insurance
You can earn bonus points for signing up to other Sainsbury’s Bank products such as home insurance and also Sainsbury’s Energy. Though they could be worth it, these offers shouldn’t be a reason to choose Sainsbury’s over other providers as they could work out more expensive than options you find via a full comparison.
Via Nectar Connect
** Nectar Connect will close on 27 October 2023. It’s no longer appearing on my Nectar app, but I am able to see offers on my desktop. **
This was added to Nectar in 2021. You connect your bank or credit card account to your Nectar account and if you then spend at partner retailers you’ll earn bonus points.
You need to activate the offers for it to work, and though they were decent they were also quite limited. Expect 10 to 20 retailers, but it’s unlikely many will be ones you regularly use. Here are a few examples as of 14 August 2023:
- 20 points per £1 at LNER
- 20 points per £1 at Just Eat
- 20 points per £1 at Card Factory
- 20 points per £1 at Costa
- 10 points per £1 at Harvey Nichols
- 40 points per £1 at Laithwaites
The 20 point offers are the equivalent of 10% back, which is really good. And you should be able to combine this with cashback offers, and maybe even offers running from the card you’re using.
You’ll see many other brands listed on the Nectar website, such as Expedia and Groupon. To earn points via these retailers you have to click through via the Nectar portal. Most of the time you’ll get two points per £1 spend, so the equivalent of 1% back, but they can be more or less.
- Just Eat
These extra places to earn might sound appealing but I would avoid using them. You can usually beat these rates by clicking from a cashback site instead. Here’s my guide to the best cashback sites and welcome bonuses.
Andy’s Analysis – earning points
So what’s the best place to earn Nectar points? Very simply it’s any retailer you are spending money at that offers them. But don’t go out of your way – it’s better to shop where you get the best price.
Be careful too of earning points via credit cards or other promotions if you’re not a regular Sainsbury’s, Argos or eBay shopper. You might be better off getting cold hard cash you can spend anywhere.
Where 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. Here are the best places to spend your points.
The Caffe Nero offer is pretty decent compared to other Nectar partners. Currently, 400 points can be exchanged for a free hot drink (which costs around £3 or more).
That works out to about 0.81p per Nectar point for a regular Americano priced at £3.25 (price taken from Uber Eats.) Which is much higher than the standard 0.5p per point offered at other retailers.
At the current redemption rate, as long as the drink you buy is priced at more than £2 you’re getting better value than using points at other partners.
To use your points in Sainsbury’s stores you must have used your Nectar card in that specific store in the last year. You can also use them online on the Sainsbury’s website.
They can also be used on petrol but you have to pay in the kiosk, not at the pump.
You can use multiples of 500 points at Argos, each worth £2.50. To spend them in an Argos store you swipe your card; online you must have connected your card.
To spend Nectar points at eBay you must convert them to a voucher. 500 points are once again worth £2.50, but there’s a minimum spend at eBay of £10 to use the vouchers.
Converting to Avios points
I think that most people are better off using cashback credit cards and air mile reward credit cards. You’ve got the flexibility to use your earnings how you want, and not be restricted to certain flights.
However, if you are an Avios fan, then you can boost your points by converting 400 Nectar points to 250 Avios.
Donate to charity
Nectar Donate allows you to give your points to charities using Crowdfunder. The points are worth the same as usual, so 1000 points will be a £5 donation. There’s a minimum of 200 points, and it must be in multiples of 200.
Other Nectar points redemptions
There are a fraction of the partners you get with Tesco Clubcard, and few opportunities to boost the value.
Once more 500 points are usually 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.
You can exchange them for the same value at the following retailers:
- Vue – 500 points for £2.50
- Eurostar – 500 points for £2.50 (minimum 2,000 points)
Bad options include swapping for movie rentals at Sky Store, but you can get far cheaper rentals elsewhere.
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.
Sainsbury’s Double up weekend
The Nectar/Sainsbury’s Double Up Weekend used to run twice a year, and reduced to just once a year between 2017 and 2020. However it was scrapped in 2021.
Andy’s Analysis – Spending points
My big frustration with Nectar is the limitation on where to redeem the points. That and the disappearance of offers to boost their value.
The truth is you are most likely to spend them at Sainsbury’s, Argos or eBay. And that’s probably the best place too – as long as there’s something you need to buy from those retailers.
Nectar points special offers
Occasionally there are increased points offers at Sainsbury’s and other partners., both to earn extra points and sometimes (though more rarely) to use them.
You can usually find these in the Nectar app and website so it pays to check every now and again. I also get emails about bonus Nectar offers on eBay, so keep an eye on your inbox.
When I spot any really good ones I’ll share them here.