How do Nectar points work?
With the announcement of the new Avios and Nectar points transfer partnership, which goes live on Monday, I thought it was worth doing introductory pieces on the Nectar loyalty scheme for those who are not familiar with it.
Even if you do have a Nectar card, it is worth reading these articles as there may be a few quirks you did not know about.
I have kept this as factual as I can, so there is little discussion of whether a particular option is good or bad. At the end of the day, if you are shopping in Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay or with other Nectar partners then you will be collecting the points regardless.
The new Avios transfer option into Nectar also offers an exit route for people who have collected a very small number of Avios from a flight and have no other easy way to use them.
There are two articles on how to earn Nectar points. This one looks at non-financial routes whilst Part 2 looks at earning Nectar points from credit cards, insurance and loans.
What is a Nectar point worth?
Let’s start with valuation, because you need to know this to put the ‘earn and burn’ sections in context.
A Nectar point is worth 0.5p, in virtually all cases.
Since Avios transfer to Nectar at a rate of 1 to 1.6, Avios points now have a floor value of (0.5p x 1.6) 0.8p.
What the fixed 0.5p rate means is that no Nectar redemption is ‘better’ than any other. Whilst it is true that you can turn 1,000 Nectar points into a £5 Eurostar voucher, there is no particular benefit to doing that if you could get an identical £5 discount in Sainsbury’s simply by scanning your card at the till.
In many ways, the Sainsbury’s redemption route is also easier than faffing around ordering vouchers from other partners. You may (or may not, I am not sure) also miss out on – say – Club Eurostar points on Eurostar tickets if your trip is paid with vouchers.
How do you join Nectar?
There are a variety of routes. You can pick up a temporary paper card in Sainsbury’s, which you can later register online.
Alternatively you can register via the website and then download the Nectar app. You can also register via the app directly.
You can either save a digital membership card to your eWallet or open the Nectar app instore. Either route lets you scan a digital card.
I am not sure if Nectar still posts plastic cards to people who join online.
Nectar does not have household accounts although I assume the same account can be accessed from multiple smartphones.
Where can I earn Nectar points?
Sainsbury’s, if you are not aware, now owns the Nectar scheme. It took full control three years ago as we covered here. This made sense as Sainsbury’s (which also owns Argos and Habitat) had become by far the biggest partner.
The earning rate in Sainsbury’s is 1 point (0.5p) per £1 spent.
There are some exceptions, mainly driven by legislation:
• Wine when on any buy 6 save 25% promotion
• Infant formula baby milk products
• Tobacco and related products
• Gift vouchers
• Savings or postage stamps
• Mobile phone vouchers, phone cards or charity products
• Travel money
You can substantially boost your points by the using the weekly bonus coupons which appear in the app or online. These are designed to fit around what you already buy so most should trigger if you are doing a big shop.
You need to opt-in to these offers. If you don’t want to waste too much time, simply open the app, go to the Sainsbury’s offers page, scroll to the bottom and click ‘Save all offers’. If you buy the right things, you’ll get the points.
You earn 1 point per £1 spent in Argos.
If you visit a store, you can scan your card when you pay. If you are ordering online for home delivery or ‘click and collect’, you need to link your accounts via your Argos profile.
You can find out more on the Argos website here.
You earn 1 point per £1 spent on eBay.
There is a maximum of 300 points per transaction.
Full details are on this page of the eBay website.
First Group train franchises
The number of rail partners has been dropping, most recently with LNER leaving the scheme.
You can still collect via selected First Group-managed franchises:
- Avanti West Coast
- Great Western Railway
- South Western Railway
- TransPennine Express
The rate is 2 Nectar points per £1 spent. You can add your card number during the payment process.
You can usually earn points if you buy tickets for other train operators on a First Group website.
Confusingly, Esso is now part of both Nectar and Tesco Clubcard.
If you visit an Esso garage which has a Tesco Express store, you collect Clubcard points on your fuel and store spending.
For all other Esso garages, you collect 1 Nectar point per £1 spent on fuel and 2 points per £1 spent on other items, including in the store.
Esso has regular bonus point offers via both the Nectar app and its own app.
Sainsbury’s Energy, which is actually run by Npower, offers two routes for collecting Nectar points.
You receive a sign-up bonus when you join, which is currently 8,000 Nectar points for a dual fuel switch.
You will also receive triple Nectar base points on every Sainsbury’s shop going forward (double points if you only switch one fuel) for as long as you remain a Sainsbury’s Energy dual fuel customer.
You earn 2 points for every £1 ex-VAT you spend at office supplies group Viking. You need to link you Viking and Nectar accounts to earn.
Own-label purchases earn double, so you receive 4 points per £1 spent.
Viking has regular offers for bonus Nectar points on particular products. You can see the current deals here.
You can learn more about the Nectar partnership on this page of the Viking website.
Nectar has a hotel portal powered by Rocketmiles – see our article here – which earns up to 2,000 points per night.
Note that bookings made via this portal will not quality for elite status benefits or hotel loyalty points as they will be treated as third party bookings.
I strongly recommend comparing the Nectar offer to this Rocketmiles offer before making any booking.
Dulux Decorator Centre
This is a hangover from the (now closed) Nectar Business scheme. You earn 2 points for every £1 you spend.
This is also a Nectar Business remnant. You earn 1 point for every £1 you spend on foodservice purchases at Brakes. You need to link your Brakes and Nectar accounts to participate.
You earn 2 points for every £1 you spend with ferry bookings with DFDS.
Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday
You collect 5 Nectar points if you buy the Daily Mail from Monday to Friday, 10 Nectar points on Saturday and 15 Nectar points for The Mail on Sunday.
You need to link your mymail account to your Nectar account and enter the unique code number printed in each issue of the newspaper.
Subscribers receive up to 250 Nectar points per month with The Ultimate Pack and 50 Nectar points per month with The Digital Edition.
Europcar has replaced Hertz as the official Nectar car hire partner.
You will receive 1 point for every £1 you spend in the UK and a flat 200 points for rentals outside the UK. Europcar sites in the USA, Canada, China and Japan do not participate.
And ….. the Nectar shopping portal
Nectar makes some big claims about the number of retailers with whom you can collect points.
In truth, 98% of them are only partners because they are in the Nectar shopping portal. This lets you earn a variable amount of points by clicking through from the Nectar app or website to a particular online store.
Any partner in the Nectar online store is also likely to be on TopCashback, Quidco, Virgin Shops Away or the British Airways shopping portal. You should compare rates before making any transaction.
In Part 2 …..
In Part 2 of this article – click here – we look at Nectar financial partners. Earning points from a credit card is easier and quicker than many of the partners listed above.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
Until 9th April 2021, American Express is running the biggest sign-up bonuses ever seen on a UK payment card.
You will earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Platinum (apply here) and 50,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Gold (apply here) which is FREE for your first year. Points transfer 1:1 into Avios. Here are links to our reviews:
Here are your other options. There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)