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How to get your morning coffee for free with points

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I know this is a slightly off-beat article but it is Saturday after all.

If you have a Nectar card, you may be interested to know that they have launched a new partnership with Caffe Nero.

For 350 Nectar points, you can now get a free large coffee at a Caffe Nero in the UK.

This is actually a pretty good deal for a Nectar redemption.  Your points are normally worth a flat 0.5p.  With large drinks costing up to £2.75, give or take, you could be getting 0.78p.  The smaller the coffee you normally buy, the poorer the deal.

Cafe Nero and Nectar

Unfortunately the implementation of the deal is flawed.  You can’t swipe your Nectar card or scan a Passbook app on your phone.  You need to go to the Nectar website and manually order electronic codes.  You can only order 1 code per transaction.  You need to take a print out or screen shot of the code along to Caffe Nero – I don’t want to imagine how long it will take for the cashier to process each one.

The reason I mention this deal on HFP is that Nectar is a little-known American Express Membership Rewards partner.  You can convert your points to Nectar at a 1:1 ratio.  0.78p is not bad value for a Membership Rewards point if you are a heavy drinker of large coffees.

There is NO minimum Amex transfer to Nectar.   This is a handy tip if you are closing an Amex charge card and have transferred almost all your points to Avios in chunks of 1,000 but have a few hundred left over.

What about Starbucks?

You can also use Membership Rewards points for Starbucks gift cards.  You only receive 0.5p per point this way so the headline value is lower.

On the other hand, you can add the gift cards to the Starbucks app on your phone.  This makes your in-store experience easier than using cash, unlike using a Nectar e-code at Caffe Nero.  Starbucks also give you a free drink for every 15 you buy via the app or a registered gift card.

If you really want to get one over on Starbucks, remember that the free drink you get for buying 15 drinks can be anything – the biggest, gloopiest, fattiest thing on the menu if you so desire.  Not that I would recommend that.

Redeeming Amex points for Starbucks gift cards would mark you out as a Head for Points beginner, though.  The experienced reader would be heading to Tesco, buying £50-worth of Starbucks gift cards in order to receive 150 bonus Clubcard points (360 Avios) and using the Amex points for a deal which gets far better value than 0.5p per point!

PS.  If you want 57 free large coffees from Café Nero, the American Express Nectar credit card comes with 20,000 Nectar points and is now free for the first year.  My review is here.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our September 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

The following offers will end soon:

  • 2,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 30,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
  • 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 9th November)

Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers.

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (52)

  • andy stock says:

    Will this still be valid at the cafe Nero at LCY?

  • Tim says:

    The O2 Priority app has been offering a free Cafe Nero coffee each Tuesday for the past month or so. Although this weekend it was replaced with an offer to buy Cafe Nero gift cards at 25% off. Might be worth a look if you’re a regular and on O2.

  • David Butcher says:

    For me, Nectar has been one of the biggest disappointments of the past ten years or so. It should have been such a good scheme – one card and loads of top class retailers, but what a let down it has become. Abandoned by Debenhams, abandoned by Barclaycard, downvalued by Sainsbury’s, overpriced petrol at BP – maybe Nectar was only introduced to make us realise just how good Tesco Clubcard is!

  • Don says:

    Nectar. Total cr*p. It certainly affirms what a dominant position Clubcard is. Whenever I see a Nectar credit card I have to hide my sniggers.

    For Virgin Trains to use this is an insult to our intelligence. Traveller is rubbish too.

    But breakfast is a lot better on VT than EC!

  • Matt says:

    We’ve mentioned airports but would service stations accept these vouchers I wonder? Or rail stations?

  • signol says:

    Even though you need 15 Starbucks transactions for a free drink, some staff have offered to put through my large order separately.

    • Andy says:

      Standard form, if ordering 2 coffees put each one separately

      • signol says:

        This was me buying drinks, sandwiches and cakes for 2 being put through as 6 transactions 😉

    • Fenny says:

      Since they changed it from a per drink to a per transaction basis, that’s how to do it. I will happily treat my friends to coffee, but put each one through separately.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    This promotion came at the right time for me!

    As this is one of the ‘better’ redemption options for Nectar it showed just how poor the scheme really is.

    For £175 spend you earn enough Nectar points for a ‘free’ coffee. £175 of East Coast first class spend earns 262 points, enough for a standard single ticket (certainly worth more than a coffee), £175 of standard class spend would earn 175 points , that’s 3 first class lounge passes where you can drink as much coffee, tea and soft drinks as you like.

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