Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How can you earn Nectar points? (Part 1 – non-financial)

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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.

Nectar Avios light

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

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:

• Spirits
• Liqueur
• 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.

Argos

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.

eBay

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.

Esso

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 logo

Sainsbury’s Energy

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.

Viking

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 Hotels

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.

Brakes

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.

DFDS

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

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.

This HfP articles looks at alternative Europcar airline and hotel partners which also offer points.

The Europcar / Nectar booking site is here.

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 credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

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

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

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

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(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.)

Comments (92)

  • gareth says:

    What’s not cool?

  • Martin says:

    You can each have your own nectar card number and own app so can get multiple offers via apps so you can get the bonus points more than once as you generally both get the sane offers..
    Also on double up you can double up once for each card number from the same pooled nectar points.
    In other words link multiple nectar numbers to one account to maximise bonus points and double up times, whilst each having your own number.
    You can switch in your online shopping account as well between your nectar numbers for the one with the best bonus points..
    Also ideally shop on a Friday when new offers come in as you can sometimes get 2 of the same bonus points..
    Order yourselves a key fob for the other account number so can always access the 2 accounts.

    • Tracey says:

      Or everyone gets their offers on a Friday, mine hit on a Wednesday.

      • ankomonkey says:

        Mine are also Wednesday and are the same 4 items every week – milk, broccoli, bananas and spring onions (which I hate) – often at 10 points per purchase. Add to that my loathing of Argos, and the new partnership doesn’t look too promising to me…

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      How do we link multiple nectar cards to same account?

      • Alex D says:

        Via web chat online – I did this yesterday and took less than 5 mins. It’s also very good because you can link up to 99 accounts but can set who can spend. So for example I added my partner, who can spend points. Added my parents who can earn but not burn as they mainly shop in Lidl now but occasional Sainsbury’s so don’t earn much on their own.

    • Froggitt says:

      Mine hit on a Monday

  • Dance-Ace-Base says:

    Used yours. Here’s mine 74t9hu – sign up in the app and click on claim welcome gift

    PS thanks for suggesting this – looks like some good offers and freebies

  • Froggitt says:

    Been collecting Nectar points from JS for fifteen years with no redemptions other than the double up offers. Was waiting for a nice cruise holiday offer…..I guess a pair of nice Avios seats will be just as good.

    • Andrew says:

      Don’t forget the huge taxes and charges for the Avios seats.

      • Alex D says:

        I agree the taxes suck, but for many it’s not about that! Especially if you’d never pay for a cash ticket. I know my parents never pay for cash tickets but for out redemptions they see it as a bargain when I take them away.

      • meta says:

        Redeem on partners. I paid 185k Avios and about £200 in taxes for return to Tokyo with JAL in J compared to 180k peak on BA and £580 in fake taxes. I also booked couple of Qatar redemptions. Unless using 241 it makes more sense. Even with 241 flights, you can use Avios to nest flights and reduce the costs.

        • Alex D says:

          How do you nest flights? Never knew you could do that – I’ve got 2 x 241’s to use up coming year/18months

          • Rob says:

            Fly London to X on 1st February
            Return flight from X to London is 1st September

            Book another flight from X to London (return) on 10th February, returning from London to X on 20th August

            Hence 2 holidays using nested flights to save money, assuming you are in a country where flying TO the UK is often cheaper than flying FROM it.

          • meta says:

            It’s a bit complicated, but for me it’s worth the faff for savings. You can book open jaw 241 (mind the rules for open jaw tickets!). For example, book London – Tokyo for November online using 241 then call too add return from Hong Kong for April. Then using another 241 book London-Hong Kong and return from X destination. Repeat like that forever or rarely if I have too many 241 vouchers I forgo one segment. You then book returns to London on partner or other airlines (I did Etihad/Emirates before).

            So with 2×241 vouchers and partner redemptions you can get 3 trips and save on surcharges. The important thing is that these are mostly the same or slightly higher on BA when starting in London because of APD whereas return segments are cheaper. You can save about £400-600 per trip in that way.

  • dezbez says:

    Over 800 NP earned in two small shops these last couple of days, without even trying (£16 spent in total).
    It’s so much harder to earn Tesco points in comparison (I can’t remember the last time I received a coupon from Tesco, it was well over a year ago).
    It’s still early days for me with NP but even with a less favourable ‘exchange rate’ for Avios it seems like there’s considerably more benefit there (by a multiple).

    • JRC says:

      Hmmmm the offers on my nectar app add up to a princely 60 NP. Waitrose is our local cornershop so maybe that is why…

      • Alex D says:

        Sainsbury’s give you more the more you spend. I currently have 12 offers adding up to 760 points. Also good they are all on things I already buy. Use your card more and it’ll get better

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Get them while it lasts!

    • PJJ says:

      Tesco had bonus points in November and December, I wonder if they will start doing more to combat Sainsbury’s
      That will start a points war !

    • Mikeact says:

      @Rob. I used to do this a lot in the US , got around Saturday night stay, or useful for a one day meeting…and could save a ton of money. But, the airlines don’t like it and I got hauled up once by Republic, before Northwest acquired them. I pleaded ignorance with a big chunk of apologies and got away with it. I then had to rethink my strategy., and kicked it off with two separate FFP accounts…

  • Lumma says:

    Sainsbury’s Energy don’t even let you switch to them if you’re currently supplied by an E-on group company. Doesn’t even let me get a quote.

  • Martyn Ford says:

    Novice Nectar question. Do base points and bonus points from offers in the app hit the account at different times? Thanks.

    • Alison says:

      IME base points post overnight, bonus points for grocery shopping offers in the app post straight away

      • Martyn Ford says:

        Thank you Alison, that is extremely helpful.

      • AJA says:

        +1 Usually get a notification that the bonus points have posted by the time I get in the car in the carpark.

        • James says:

          Also, for info, bonus points for things like having Sainsbury’s energy (the double base points etc), post monthly in arrears in one go… so don’t panic when you don’t see the extra points per shop (can imagine many here fretting that their points don’t show, “shall I contact Nectar, I want compo” etc)

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    Beware, small print on energy has a cap of 3,500 bonus points a year on the double/treble points on shopping.

    • Littlefish says:

      Thanks. Noted, Lol! About £100 base spend per month limit then? Wish me luck with that!

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Looks like energy is the outlier. So max 3,500 in a year – but could be done in a month and then add another product.

        The others: Home, Car, Pet and Holiday Insurance all seem to have various sign-up bonuses and then double points on shopping up to 20,000 per month.

        Don’t think they’ll stack. But I think it sounds like you’ll get the Credit Card 3 points per £1 on top of the base points (and then still get the extra base point from pets etc) So that would be a basic 5 Nectar points per £1.

        I suppose I could get Energy for a year (its a fixed contract) and after earning the 3,500 limit swap to pets. But I think I would be better continuing to swap power contracts for [email protected] [email protected]

        Travel seems to be not bad either. Life Ins is structured that you’ll not get the payments back in terms of Nectar earned before you can cancel.

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