Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

I just emptied out my East Coast Rewards account

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Well, that is another one I can delete from my Award Wallet home page.  Yesterday I managed to empty out my East Coast Rewards account.

I had 956 points remaining, with a big chunk due to expire in June.  I booked a return First Class ticket up to Yorkshire to see family for 920 points.

That leaves me with 36 points which I will convert to (36×6=) 216 Nectar points – or, at least, I will when the East Coast website gets fixed and it starts allowing transfers again.

One piece of news came out of this.  When I redeemed my free ticket voucher, I was told I had until November to use it.

This confirmed something that a reader told me a few weeks ago.  September 30th is NOT the last day to travel on East Coast Rewards points.  It is simply the last day to redeem for a voucher.  You have six months to use the voucher and, of course, you can book tickets 12 weeks ahead.  You can keep travelling on East Coast Rewards points until June 2016!

One thing I will miss about East Coast Rewards is the great deal they have for children.  I will be travelling with my two kids.  Instead of requiring another 920 points to get a First Class ticket for them, I can pay a flat fee of £20 return.

I therefore paid just 920 points and £40 for THREE First Class return tickets from London to York.  Remember that I only needed to spend £600 on first class travel via the East Coast website (not necessarily for travel on East Coast) to earn that many points.

East Coast Rewards now joins bmi Diamond Club and others in the great (arguably ‘over-generous’) loyalty scheme hall of remembrance.

Comments (11)

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

  • Wyvern says:

    RIP East Coast Rewards!

    For a non-Virgin Atlantic miles collector, do you recommend collecting Nectar Points or Virgin Atlantic miles from future East Coast travel? 2 miles per £ is looks pretty good value, but I think I would need to take out a Virgin credit card and earn some points on this to be able to maximise the benefits.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      I use Virgin Atlantic miles as my option. But I’m only booking through their site until I’ve used up all the e-vouchers I purchased prior to March to top up my balance.

      After that I’m ditching their site entirely for bookings. The online discount is now only 2% (on their advance tickets only) and you now get no incentive to book other operators tickets through their site.

      If you want Nectar just book everything through a FirstGroup site as unlike Virgin they give points on all tickets.

      Although petitions never seem popular on here we have over 1000 signed the petition – so it shows there is some demand to get Rewards back. If Virgin want to claim to listen to their customers we can point them to it:

      • callum says:

        Perhaps when you reach 1,000,000 signatures Virgin might be remotely interested!

  • Nathan says:

    I never used it but heard great things. I am however very fortunate in that I get free Arafat and London Midlands travel due to my occupation but i buy a tone of train tickets in the year for family and friends and have never used any of the locality schemes! Any schemes still worth joining?

    • Matt says:

      Does Arafat allow you to redeem points for visits to the West Bank? 😉

  • Neil says:

    Yep I mourn the loss of EC Rewards. It joins Biggie and 2Pac in the sky and rests in peace.

    Gone, but not forgotten.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      Like diamond club it’s not dead yet, even if we fail it looks like it’ll still exist in some form until June 2016 when all the free tickets are used up.

      I hope at the very least everyone here has sent an email to VTEC with feedback and preferably done some of the other things here

      I do think we will end up with something better than Nectar eventually but we need to show that this is important to us.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    I now have some evidence as I had heard that the tickets would be valid for 6 months when redeemed but no one had yet confirmed it. This means if you’re in no hurry to spend your points or if you topped up like crazy before March you can convert the points over in September to rewards vouchers and still have another 6 months to book!

    BTW hold off converting to Nectar. I’ve asked about converting points to VS miles and they said it was something they were looking into. As you have until September to use the points up why convert now and then find out an option to convert to VS comes along in future.

    I’m not sure why some here want us to give up our campaign – it was a generous scheme but East Coast made more from it than they cost to run. Now if you want Nectar points you’re better off booking with a FirstGroup site as they give points on ALL railtravel not just East Coast (yes when booking through Virgin you need to book west coast tickets on Virgin Trains and east coast tickets on the Virgin Trains East Coast site). There’s now NO incentive whatsoever to book tickets for other operators on this site.

    I do think eventually they’ll realise that it’s a mistake to go with Nectar and will want out at the first opportunity. So I do think there’s a good chance in the future we will end up with something better than we have now. It may not be as good as the previous East Coast Rewards but I’m sure it’ll be a whole lot more attractive than Nectar.

    East Coast will join Debenhams and Barclaycard who realised that Nectar was a mistake. Even Sainsbury’s has very little mention of Nectar in store now compared to how heavily it was promoted even a few years ago.

    • Danksy says:

      They don’t really seemed to have capitalised on the retail benefits of building a comprehensive picture of shopping habits (across multiple retailers) in the way that dunhumby and tesco clubcard did…. their business valued now at a staggering c. £2bn!

      Tesco were quoted by saying that their clubcard cost £1bn but was worth every penny!

  • Worzel says:

    I wonder how valuable(to the likes of Tesco etc) these consumer spending databases are nowadays? Dunn and Humby started 20+ years ago, and perhaps loosened ties with Tesco at the right time.

    As for Nectar, (the “UK’s largest loyalty programme”)………….!

  • Alex says:

    On one of your quieter days (should that happen!) I’d be interested in a post about expired reward schemes – it would be interesting to see which ones you’d like to see back!!

    Certainly the best one never repeated was Total petrol stations reward voucher about 4 years ago. It was something like spend £20 get bogof at holiday inn. I used loads of them.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.