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.)

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  1. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:


    I only just realised it has two Fs!

  2. As long as Nero keep their stamp-based loyalty scheme this isn’t really interesting to me. As it stands that has to be the best coffee loyalty scheme, as it is about 3 times more rewarding than the Costa scheme.

  3. The experienced HFP reader would buy 2 3v cards in Tesco (if you can find it!!) and buy Starbucks gift cards through TGC for an additional 5% cash back. (worth £2.50!!)

    • Touche!

    • For those who are taking their coffee drinking that seriously this can be beat too simply by diverting appropriate amex card member offers to their caffeine habit via giftcards. Frankly, I would rather just skip the queues, bank the £700+ a year many people seem to spend and use it to finance one of my redemption taxes etc. Am I alone these days in preferring a decent cup or two of home brewed Colombian in the quiet comfort of my own kitchen at 6am whilst catching up with the latest on HfP?

      • Yes – I prefer my morning walk to Waitrose for my free coffee over breakfast; reducing my spend on coffee to about £3 a year for the rare bank holidays when Waitrose is closed!

      • Lady London says:

        Yaaay! Glad to hear there’s another one of us. Erm…. not the 6am timing 🙂

      • What is this 6am of which you speak? I brew my own latte in the morning and stick it in my (one of many) Costa travel mugs to drink on the way to work. As this means I don’t go via McDeadthings, I’m not tempted by bacon sandwiches or sausage mcmuffins and save enough to fund my osteopath habit!

        • Isn’t that a bit like wearing SIA pyjamas on a Ryanair flight to the Canaries? You are not alone though, I used to use a Harrods carrier bag in Tesco.

          • I only use a Costa mug because they are a) extremely good at not leaking, due to the decent closure system b) large and c) £3 each, which is cheaper than most crappy travel mugs. I may baulk at something of the same quality and price that said SUFC on it, but if there was an option of sticking something over the logo and painting it blue, I’d go with that!

  4. Jon Nowicki says:

    Certainly off topic I built up £20 + on my Costa card. Speaking to the manager of one of their stores I asked what was the most anybody had built up on a Costa card. Quick as a flash he said a young office worker in London had more than £400. It appears she was sent out to collect the office coffees 4 or 5 times a day.

  5. Tom euflyer says:

    Not sure how many are with me on this, but I’ve got my Nectar points sat in the Hive earning 10% interest.

    Plan is to keep them there for 30 years or so and enjoy a retirement paid for entirely with points-funded shopping at Sainsburys. Foolproof.

    • I hope that you are declaring this interest on your tax return or you might be accused of tax evasion!

  6. andy stock says:

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

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

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

    • Standard form, if ordering 2 coffees put each one separately

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

    • 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.

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