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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? – June 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 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. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 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.

Amex American Express Business Gold card

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

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending 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

Comments (52)

  • Jason says:

    If you have insurance with Aviva, download the myaviva app and get a free cafe Nero coffee every Monday until dec 31st.
    The other 6 days I use Costa gift cards bought from tesco 🙂

    • Fenny says:

      This might be a useful tip if there was a Cafe Nero closer than 12 miles away! The chances of me remembering when I am actually in the centre of Rugby/Leamington are non existent and I’m never in town on a Monday.

    • Mummy55 says:

      This sounds very interesting! I use Cafe Nero every day, and have Aviva insurance !
      Off to check my policy number…..
      Thanks Jason.

    • Rob says:

      Wonder if pension counts?!

      • Henry C says:

        I also have an aviva pension – would be nice if it counted but somehow I doubt it!

      • Jason says:

        I think as long as you have a policy, you can set up an account with user name and password. I would have thought a pension would come under that description.

        • Rob says:

          It works with pensions, just installed the app. Result! Thank you. Consider your HFP annual subscription paid 🙂

    • James67 says:

      Thanks, will have to change my habits Monday mornings and have a coffee there on aviva to wipe out the cost of my £2.02/month policy I have been paying them loyally for years.

  • Thomas says:

    Anyone still using the Nectar Hive promotion they started back in November ?
    It still does not get a mention on their website but the points post every Friday with no problem at all.
    Strange it gets no mention or publicity.

    • Fenny says:

      I banged 3000 points in there when it was first mentioned. I currently have 77 points in interest, which is probably about as many as I collected on BP petrol when the Amex deal was on.

  • Angela says:

    I usually use my nectar points on eBay they had a good promotion before Xmas where they gave you 50% of your points back.
    For some free points I do a thing called nectar savvy its a bit like avios suitcase where you complete ‘missions’
    Think I got an email inviting Mr to join up

  • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:


    I only just realised it has two Fs!

  • Leo says:

    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.

  • JT says:

    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!!)

    • Rob says:


    • James67 says:

      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?

      • David says:

        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 🙂

      • Fenny says:

        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!

        • James67 says:

          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.

          • Fenny says:

            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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • mark2 says:

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

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