I don’t cover Nectar much on Head for Points because it offers little in the way of travel rewards. I have written about the ability to use your points to book easyJet flights and how the Nectar estore is the only way of getting cashback on an easyJet booking.
I also reviewed the American Express Nectar credit card last year. This is currently a pretty good deal – no fee for the first year and £100 of Nectar points for signing up. Amex has tightened up on who can apply, though, and you only get the £100 if you have NO American Express-issued Amex cards at all.
I have also written about how I use Nectar to (indirectly) convert my Amex Membership Rewards points into John Lewis / Waitrose vouchers. I also covered whether it is better to take Nectar points or Flying Club miles when booking on Virgin Trains.
That is about it. Here is the new news.
Sainsbury announced yesterday that it is halving its Nectar earning rate from April 2015. You will earn only 1 point per £1 spent rather than 2 points. Details can be found on the Sainsbury website here.
This halves your cashback from 1% to 0.5%. This page on our sister site Shopper Points shows the best value Nectar redemptions – ie everything which gets you more than the standard 0.5%.
Sainsbury is clearly doing this to cut costs, confident that Nectar is not a sufficient enough attraction to shoppers to cause them to defect in droves. It is also ending the practice of giving you an extra Nectar point if you use your own bags – it is bringing in a charge for carrier bags instead.
The announcement implies that change is also coming to the Nectar credit card issued by Sainsbury’s Bank:
“Nectar is changing for all Sainsbury’s customers, which means that the way our Bank customers collect points when they use their Nectar card in store will change in the future too.”
Note that the American Express-issued Nectar card is not impacted.
This is unlikely to signify the end of Nectar in the UK (which, few people know, is owned by the Canadian company which runs Air Canada’s Aeroplan loyalty scheme) but it will be a serious blow.
The problem with Nectar, as I see it, is that it isn’t fun. It isn’t interesting. You can’t ‘game’ it. To all intents and purposes your points are worth 0.5p each and it is hard to improve on that.
Tesco Clubcard, on the other hand, is fun. You can ‘game’ it and you have sites like this one which spend lots of time explaining how and showing you ways to run up points at minimal cost. It has a level of customer interaction and involvement that Nectar could never dream of getting.
This is, of course, the same appeal of airline schemes. Every time I write about a new way of earning or spending Avios points, I am effectively writing a big free advertisement for British Airways / IAG. Poor old Nectar gets left behind.