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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.)

Comments (52)

  • Hugh says:

    Thanks for this.

    All though still 1 voucher at a time, it appears you can order a voucher via the iPhone nectar app
    Voucher number is displayed immediately and is also email to you

  • oyster says:

    Yet again shows what a poor scheme Nectar is for those of us who look for arbitrage.

    Maybe East Coast train users like Nero coffee.

    • The_Real_A says:

      I have collected Nectar for the best part of 10 years on incidental spend at Debenhams, EON, Sainsbury, Homebase, and i have amassed £17…

      The scheme does not make me seek out a retailer. it is a total waste of time!

      • Fenny says:

        I’ve been collecting Nectar since it started and even with a friend crediting his British Gas points to me every quarter, I think my total points value over all that time has been about £100. In the days when you could redeem points for a £20 Amazon voucher, it was worth it. Now, I hardly ever bother to check my balance unless I’ve just bought petrol at Sainsburys.

      • Stuart says:

        Sure you are doing it right …

  • Frenske says:

    Caffe Nero or Starbucks … both magically don’t pay corporation taxes in the UK. At least Nero does make a half decent coffee.

  • James67 says:

    Going slightly off topic here but folks might want to consider the nectar credit card right now in the hope Virgin East Coast rewards scheme might have some launchearn/burn promotions thatmight boost the value of the £100 signup bonus

  • Danksy says:

    Just worthy of note … I’ve found that Amex tend to round up to the nearest thousand when redeeming points and closing your account!

  • Jonathan says:

    Going still further off topic, if you were looking for a non-emex card for spend with those retailers that don’t let you contribute to your MR spend target, then the Barclays Premier card has a good coffee perk. You get one free coffee / tea / hot chocolate a day from Patisserie Valerie with the card.

    • Chris H says:

      And then go to Thornton’s afterwards for whatever daily chocolate freebie there is. Good value now the account is free. Not to mention the free English heritage membership etc

  • David says:

    But this sounds a fantastic way of affording to buy a coffee at an airport that has a Café Nero branch given the prices charged at airport coffee shops!

    • Waribai says:

      Unfortunately airports are often excluded…The Cafe Nero one isn’t that cumbersome actually. It’s only a nine digit code they have to punch in.

    • Rob says:

      Check that airport shops are not excluded (no idea if they are, but check)

  • Stuart says:

    I seem to remember someone warning about upcoming reviewers promoting Nectar…..

    • Rob says:

      I promise you, Nectar did not pay me to promote their Nero tie-up! I just thought it was an interesting hook to teach / remind people about: Amex to Nectar, Amex to Starbucks, Tesco for Starbucks cards and using the Starbucks app for free coffee!