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What you need to know about the 2020 Sainsbury’s Nectar Double Up.

Unlike Tesco’s Clubcard Boost offers, I think Nectar is a loyalty deal which is more marketing than reward, even with its recent overhaul

The only real opportunity to get more for your points is the Double Up event. I used to really hate this promotion. It was a nightmare to redeem and had very little worth buying. It’s still both of those things, but it has improved a little, so now I guess I should say I actively dislike it.

Even so if you have Nectar points to spend it’s worth a look. And it is possible for some to get some decent deals if you use it right.

Here’s what you need to know about it, along with some other gripes I have with Nectar.

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When is the 2020 Nectar Double Up?

Once more the loyalty card and supermarket partnership are holding a Double Up deal on points in November. This year it will run in Sainsbury’s stores from Wednesday 11th November until Tuesday 17th November 2020.

You will be able to exchange your points for vouchers from Wednesday 28th October until Tuesday 3rd November (online only) and then from the 11th until Tuesday 17th November on the app. 

What is Nectar Double Up?

Once a year (Sainsbury’s cut the spring Double Up event in 2017) you can swap your Nectar points for vouchers worth double to spend in Sainsbury’s stores.

There are very few chances to increase the value of your Nectar points. So when events like the Double Up week happen, it’s worth checking out the offer.

Sounds good yeah? Well keep on reading…

How the Nectar Double Up works

Getting a Double Up Nectar voucher is more complicated than it needs to be. And there are also restrictions on where you can spend them. I’ve found it can often be more trouble than it’s worth.

Here’s what you need to know:

Getting the Double Up vouchers

It’s generally got a lot easier in the last couple of years to get the vouchers, but there are still things to watch out for.

One big change last year was that you can’t swap points for vouchers in-store – which is bad news for people who aren’t great with computers or don’t have a smartphone.

Here’s how you get the vouchers:

  • This year you can only exchange vouchers via the app or online.
    • Online it’s between Wednesday 28th October and Tuesday 3rd November. Vouchers are posted to your home address. The risk here is you get the voucher but the stores don’t have what you need in stock – so you end up wasting your voucher.
    • However via the Nectar app you can swap between the 11th and 17th November 2020, meaning you can find what you want to buy in the supermarket before converting your points. You’ll scan the vouchers from your phone.
  • You can only double up £5, £10 or £25 worth of points into a voucher worth £10, £10 or £50 respectively.
  • You can only use vouchers in superstores. That’s no good if you shop at a Local or Central.
  • There’s a cap of £100 in vouchers per Nectar account (down from £200 in previous years).

In the past you’ve only been to swap for vouchers at a Sainsbury’s you’ve shopped at in the last 12 months and earned Nectar points at. I don’t know if this is still the case, but it’s worth popping into your local big shop now and buying something before it’s time to use the vouchers.

If you can, don’t get the vouchers before you shop

Please try to avoid getting your vouchers before you know what you want to buy, and that it’s in stock. If you order your vouchers online in the first week of the promotion you are stuck with them, whether you spend them or not.

Now you can’t get the vouchers in-store, you’ll have to get the vouchers on the Nectar app. But don’t do this straight away. Before you swap those vouchers over, check the shelves for what you want to buy and put it in your trolley. Then you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need to buy the items.

I can imagine this is also going to be a pain with the mobile signal in some supermarkets. If the service is bad at your Sainsbury’s then you might need to bring someone with you to watch your trolley while you pop out to get some bars on your phone! 

Using Double Up vouchers

Again it’s hardly simple. However there were a few changes in 2018 that made it a little easier. The main one was that you no longer had to choose which department you want the voucher for, so any voucher can be used on products from any of the included categories.

But there are still issues. I’ve gone through the Ts&Cs for you and here are the main things to know:

  • You can’t spend the vouchers on everything in the shop as they’re only valid in certain departments, and this excludes food and most drink. I generally find these are either niche, or products you’ll probably get cheaper elsewhere.
  • You can’t use them in Sainsbury’s Local or petrol stations.
  • You have to buy items totalling at least 5p less than the value of the voucher to use it (e.g. £9.95 for a £10 voucher).  If the items cost less you must buy more items to use it.
  • There’s no change given unless it’s less than 5p.
  • The voucher only lasts until the end of the promotion period. If you don’t spend it before the last day and you lose it all.
  • If the store doesn’t have what you want, you can’t get a refund. So you’ll need to check they have in stock what you want before exchanging for the voucher.

** UPDATE 10/11/20: Due to the lockdown in England preventing the most vulnerable from going to Sainsbury’s stores to exchange their vouchers, Sainsbury’s has agreed to refund affected people.

This only applies to those who had already switched their points for vouchers but are shielding as a clinically extremely vulnerable person following a letter from their GP.

They need to call 0800 636 262 to get their points refunded. Thanks to campaigning by Martin Lewis they’ll also get the full value of the Double Up voucher added to their account rather than just the initial points total.

What’s included in the 2020 Nectar Double Up?

You can use your vouchers in any of these departments:

  • Tu Clothing
  • Electricals
  • Toys
  • Entertainment
  • Taste the Difference: Wine, Champagne, Sparkling, Sherry & Port (not Scotland or Wales)
  • Homeware
  • Seasonal
  • Fragrance
  • Cosmetics
  • Skincare

The things I use Double Up for

As with the last three years, the main thing on the Nectar Double Up list that gets my interest is Taste The Difference wine. If you saw my video and blog about how to find good value supermarket wine you’ll know there was a pretty tasty New Zealand Pinot Noir which was part of that range.

Electrical items could be decent value too. For the last two years I’ve also picked up a reduced to clear NOW TV box and pass. It worked out at £10 when using the Double Up voucher, a couple of quid less than buying it elsewhere. However, a lot of the other tech was available for less in other shops, even with the double points discount. Even so, it’s worth looking.

And if you’re going to buy toys, homeware or clothes in the next few months then it’s worth looking at how much they are in Sainsbury’s and compare the prices with elsewhere.

My issues with normal Nectar spending

But Double Up isn’t my only issue with Nectar when compared to other loyalty schemes.

You don’t get many points

You earn one point per full pound spent – that’s roughly 0.5% of your shop, half of what you’ll get at Tesco.

> Read my top ways to earn and spend Nectar points

The points system is complicated

Tesco and Boots value one point as 1 penny and you get 1 point for ever pound you spend. It’s pretty easy to work out what you have. Nectar value one point at a less convenient 0.5 pence. You can also read my blogpost about what loyalty points are worth.

It can even be tricky spending points in-store

I’m not sure if this is still the case, but when I first wrote this article in 2014 I’d just stopped off on the way to a friend’s house to buy some odds and ends. Having checked out the double up deal and realised there was nothing for me there, I thought it would be a good idea to use some of the points I’ve earned.

Well, the dreaded “Home store” problem came up. It turned out you could also only spend your points if you’ve swiped your card – and earned points – in that store more than 24 hours earlier and within the last 12 months.

You can also only spend in portions of £2.50 (or 500 points). I’ve no idea why they make it so difficult!

The everyday Nectar deals are rarely any good

Most of the ways to exchange points work out at the same value wherever they are spent. 500 points are worth £2.50. That’s the same if you’re spending in Sainsbury’s or buying cinema tickets.

Sometimes the Nectar website does have a special offer, but I find you can normally beat them through cashback sites or simply comparing prices elsewhere.

Which really just leaves the Double Up event as your only opportunity to get more for your points.

If you shop at Sainsbury’s it’s still worth using Nectar

If you’re a regular shopper in Sainsbury’s or at one of the online partners, then you may as well collect the points. It’s a little bit of money for nothing. But don’t expect to get any standout savings, and certainly don’t go out of your way to shop for Nectar points.

> See what you can buy at Sainsbury’s

**This post was originally written in November 2014 and has been updated for each subsequent Double Up event. My opinions have mellowed a little since then – thanks in part to that half-price wine – but I’m still not a huge fan. However, I know for some people who regularly shop in Sainsbury’s think it’s great. Do check out the comments at the bottom and add your thoughts.**

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