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Virgin East Coast is the best Nectar redemption from Sunday, worth 0.75p per point

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It seems that some of the pressure put on Virgin East Coast to save East Coast Rewards has paid off.  Virgin is not keeping East Coast Rewards, of course, but the transition is better than originally expected.

On Sunday 1st March, the East Coast Trains franchise passes to Virgin East Coast.  Despite the name, this is 90% owned by Stagecoach with Virgin receiving 10% for the use of their brand.

East Coast thumbnail

This is the current situation:

You cannot earn East Coast Rewards points after February 28th.  If you need to top up your account, buy some gift cards on the East Coast website before Sunday.

You can continue to redeem your East Coast Rewards points until September 30th

At any point – and in any case on September 30th – any unredeemed points will be transferred to Nectar.  The conversion rate is a decent 1 : 6.

That is all old news.  Here is the new news.

Virgin East Coast has revealed that – from next Sunday until May 31st – you will be able to redeem Nectar points for Virgin East Coast gift vouchers at the rate of 500 points for a £3.75 voucher.

At 0.75p per point, this becomes the best mainstream use of large quantities of Nectar points.  It is even worth transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to Nectar at 1:1 to take advantage of this.

I would wait until Sunday first, however.  The Virgin information I received said that these gift vouchers could only be used for Advance tickets.  I’m not sure if this will be correct in reality.  A Virgin East Coast e-voucher may well be redeemable for any Virgin East Coast ticket or indeed any ticket from any train operator.

Full details should become clear on Sunday.

Comments (20)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Britbronco22 says:

    I thought I read this is an introductory rate only? Still, it’s a good deal while it lasts. I nearly caved in and used for shopping recently, so glad I held on!

    • Britbronco22 says:

      Now I read more closely I see you do me mention this rate is only until the end of May.

  • James67 says:

    Amex nectar card bonus now 50% more rewarding if you perceive it as an east coast card, apply now, hit spend target and receive nectar points before end of May.

  • Felix Flyer says:

    Can you use these e-code gift vouchers on other train operators sites or just East Coast/Virgin? I ask because other operators booking sites (e.g. First TPE) look very similar.

    • Raffles says:

      We won’t know until next week

      • Felix Flyer says:

        Thanks Raffles. Probably worth having a punt to get more points as I have some 3V cards to use and I won’t really lose anything.

  • Olivula says:

    I have pushed all my ticket spend through East Coast for the rewards for 2 years following HFP advice. All my recent ticket purchases on East Coast have not generated points, they have gone into pending points. Several requests to explain this have been ignored by East Coast. As the scheme winds up it appears they really don’t want to honour their T’s & C’s. Much cheaper to drop points in a no accruing bucket and say “sorry they don’t count for rewards”. I hope you are luckier.

    • Chris says:

      Were ALL of your tickets advance ones? Only advance tickets will add points straightaway, If there is even one cheap single to bring the spend over £22 it will put everything into pending until the refund period for the non advance ticket has lapsed, however as Save EC Rewards has said everything is due to be removed from pending in the next week or so once Virgin takeover.

      • Olivula says:

        All my tickets were off peak returns priced at over £30. Up until November they always were accounted correctly. Then it just stopped and everything went into Pending. Could it be because the points total is £5 short of a ticket redemption? What do they care now about resolving issues. Why would you pay staff to manage a defunct promotion? File under F for forget …..and don’t forget to turn out the lights.

        • Richard says:

          Off peak return tickets *should* go into pending for 3 months. That’s because you can cancel them for an admin fee – the points are pending until you can no longer do that, which is usually three months and a day after the outward travel date.

          It’s always been that way, and it’s exactly what the T&C’s say will happen. If you got the points immediately in the past, then that was a mistake. Enjoy your good fortune.

        • Chris says:

          Yeah, as Richard says an off peak would definitely go to pending as it can be refunded regardless of the cost. Come Monday they should all be clear don’t forget to buy a gift voucher though if you are only a few points short.

    • Raffles says:

      All pending points go firm on Sunday,. You may want to buy a few hundred quid of flexible tickets and refund them on Monday!

      • Nick Burch says:

        There’s a £10 admin fee on refunds, so you might want to spend a little more than that to be sure about coming in ahead. A few first open returns from Penzance to somewhere like Inverness should do it, assuming you trust them to honour what they’ve said about pending points…

  • Scott says:

    Going slightly off topic, what’s happening about the First Class lounge at Kings Cross?

    I’ve got a massive 33 points left so will go nuts spending the 198 Nectar points I’ll get from that 😉

    • Olivula says:

      Can you get therapy on nectar points?

    • Oyster says:

      The first class lounge is staying and the staff are staying on. Access rules are not changing.

      If you’d like points buy a gift e-voucher to get you to the level where you can redeem something.

  • john says:

    Hi Raffles,

    I was always wondering why do you think a nectar point is always worth 0.5p…

    In many occasions ebay sends out promo offers that refunds 50% of your nectar points.
    So you can then re-apply in the next promo with these points, get 50% of the 50% back (i.e 25% of the original points) etc. A little math shows us that using this trick you can get 1p per nectar point!

    And if you don’t believe me, here are some posts talking about this deal:

    I have used it 3 times already in the past 5-6 months or so

    • Rob says:

      I agree, you can do better. Very fiddly though for the average person.

      I have never been emailed about the ebay deal either.

  • Edafe Onerhime says:

    Struggling to find availability from Wakefield to either Edinburgh or London today, which is a shame.

  • takke says:

    Has anyone tried out one of these vouchers to see if they work on anything other than Virgin East Coast Advance fares?

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