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How can you spend Nectar points?

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What is the best way to spend Nectar points?

With the announcement of the new Avios and Nectar points transfer partnership, which operates via this page of ba.com, 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.

Yesterday we looked at how to earn Nectar points from shopping and how to earn Nectar points from credit cards and insurance.

This article looks at the best ways to spend Nectar points. It will be a lot shorter than the other articles because of the way Nectar is structured.

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 – with very few exceptions – 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.

Where can I spend Nectar points?

There is a dedicated page for each of these offers at nectar.com where you can find out more.

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 spend rate in Sainsbury’s is £2.50 per 500 Nectar points.

You can only spend your points in a Sainsbury’s store if you have made a purchase in that store in the previous 12 months. This is to add a small level of extra security.

Points can be spent online or in-store.

What is Sainsbury’s ‘Double Up’?

Sainsbury’s run regular promotions called ‘Double Up’. During these periods, you can redeem Nectar points for 1p each in-store. This would be the equivalent of 1.6p per Avios point.

Unfortunately, Sainsbury’s has been chipping away at ‘Double Up’ in recent years:

  • it has gone from twice per year to once per year
  • the categories where you can use points have been reduced
  • a cap of 10,000 Nectar points (£100) per account has been introduced, and
  • anecdotally, there are reports that Sainsbury’s removes all other special offers whilst ‘Double Up’ is running

In 2020, ‘Double Up’ ran from 11th to 17th November. Only products in the following categories were included:

  • Electricals
  • Entertainment
  • Tu clothing
  • Homeware
  • Taste the Difference wine, sparkling, champagne, sherry and port
  • Toys
  • Seasonal
  • Cosmetics
  • Fragrance
  • Skincare

‘Double Up’ vouchers have to be ordered in advance (you cannot get them in-store) and, importantly, they expire if not used during ‘Double Up’. You cannot get change from a ‘Double Up’ voucher. Sainsbury’s Local stores are excluded.

Due to these restrictions and the removal of standard special offers during ‘Double Up’ week, you may struggle to get a ‘true’ 1p per point from your ‘Double Up’ vouchers.

Argos

The spend rate in Argos is £2.50 per 500 Nectar points.

There is a limit of 40,000 Nectar points (£200) per transaction.

Feedback from readers is that if articles are refunded, you receive the full refund in cash.

You can learn more on the Argos website.

Vue Cinemas

The spend rate in Vue Cinemas is £2.50 per 500 Nectar points.

You need to take your Nectar card with you to the cinema where it will be scanned. You can spend points on either tickets or refreshments, in chunks of 500 points.

eBay

You turn your Nectar points into eBay vouchers at the rate of £2.50 per 500 Nectar points. Details are here.

Credit can be added to your eBay account and does not need to be spent immediately. Vouchers are valid for 12 months once issued.

The largest voucher you can order is £200 (40,000 Nectar points) although you can use multiple vouchers on the same purchase.

The minimum purchase for using a voucher is £10.

Vouchers CANNOT be used to make purchases from the following categories:

  1. Cars, Motorcycles and Vehicles (Parts and accessories are not excluded)
  2. Holidays & Travel
  3. Property
  4. Gift Vouchers & Coupons
  5. Baby Feeding: Formula

The vouchers cannot be used to purchase items from the following sellers:

  1. Tesco outlet
  2. Co-operative Electrical
  3. Telephony providers offering Pay As You Go phones

You can find out more on the eBay / Nectar page here.

Caffe Nero

Caffe Nero is a redemption partner which is NOT an earn partner.

It is also the best value redemption partner in many cases.

350 Nectar points will get you a voucher (in the form of a QR code, saved in the Nectar app, to be scanned in-store) for ANY hot or iced drink, of any size.

If you look at the price list on this website, you will see that it virtually impossible to pay less than £1.75 for a drink, and qualifying drinks can cost as much as £3.65.

This means that you are virtually certain to get more than 0.5p per Nectar point and will get over 1p if you are a fan of Frappe Creme.

Caffe Nero is the best way of maximising the value of your Nectar points, unless you wait for the annual Sainsbury’s ‘Double Up’ promotion.

Eurostar

Eurostar is another ‘redeem only’ partner.

The spend rate at Eurostar is £2.50 per 500 Nectar points.

There is a 2,000 point minimum, with vouchers only available for £10, £25, £50 and £100.

Multiple vouchers can be used in one transaction if booking a train-only ticket on the Eurostar website, but only one voucher per transaction can be used if booking a ‘train and hotel’ package.

Marks & Spencer

You can redeem 1,000 Nectar points for a £5 Marks & Spencer gift voucher. Intriguingly, this offer is exclusively available via the MyMail website for Daily Mail readers and is not on the official Nectar website.

This Head for Points article explains how to redeem Nectar points for Marks & Spencer gift vouchers. Vouchers cannot be used for food purchases.

Dulux Decorator Centre

You can redeem points for Dulux Decorator Centre vouchers at the rate of 4,000 Nectar points for a £20 voucher.

Vouchers must be ordered by telephone from Nectar and will be posted to you, for use in-store. They are not valid online.

Brakes

You can redeem points for a Brakes credit voucher, to be applied against your next Brakes invoice, at the rate of 1,000 Nectar points for a £5 voucher.

Vouchers must be ordered by telephone from Nectar and will be posted to you.

Viking

You can redeem points for a Viking gift voucher, to be applied against your next purchase from the Viking website here, at the rate of 2,000 Nectar points for a £10 voucher.

Voucher codes can be used on the website for your next online order.

Conclusion

It isn’t tricky to get your head around the options for spending Nectar points.

Everything gets you 0.5p per point (so 0.8p if you convert your Avios points) with the exception of:

  • Caffe Nero drink vouchers, which can be worth up to 1p, and
  • the annual Sainsbury’s ‘Double Up’ promotion, although this offer has gradually got more restrictive in recent years

That said, 0.8p in pseudo-cash by redeeming Avios for one of the options above is not a bad deal if you feel your travelling options are restricted at the moment.

It is substantially better than redeeming for any of the non-flying options on the British Airways website (car hire, hotels, wine) where you only receive around 0.5p per Avios.

It is also more generous than using your Avios to part-pay for BA cash tickets, unless you are only redeeming 2,000 Avios or fewer.

The ba.com page to transfer your Avios points to Nectar is here.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 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 (88)

  • Lumma says:

    For the double up promotion, you can request the vouchers on the app and they’re available to use immediately.

    In my experience you have to get a member of staff to manually add them at the self service tills.

  • Will says:

    The best value redemptions are the seasonal promos such as Nectar Summer Rewards with 2 Vue cinema tickets for 1000 NP which cover 2 seats that can retail at up to £16 each in e.g. Westfield. (Or 2 Pizza express mains). Not sure how often these happen but worth building some balance up for these

  • Adam says:

    Tempted by the Argos sound and refund to cash.

    Looking at business class flights for 3 to Singapore (at some point) in peak times. Even using my companion voucher this will cost 420,000 for the 3 of us plus around £1900 in TFC.

    If I cash out via Argos I can get £3360 back in cash – if they do refund in cash.

    My final destination is Bali so would still need another flight from SIN whereas I can buy tickets ex eu on Turkish or Qatar for under £1200pp in a sale.

    Certainly something to think about

    • Red Flyer says:

      Cash refund up to £100 with anything above given as a gift card to same value.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      That is a lot of backwards and forwards to Argos.

      You could simply stick with Sainsbury’s food and use the cash you would be spending on the weekly shop towards the flight. This is much easier if you can afford to spend on the flight now and claw that back over time.

      Alternatively if you need to raise the cash in advance you could buy from eBay and then relist although there may be some fees involved.

      Or, have an associate list something which you then buy at an agreed price on eBay to control the variables. For example, I might have my wife sell me my watch.

      • Andrew says:

        I might give the Argos return route a try – sounds an easy way to raise the money, easier than buying and selling on eBay – remembering that if it’s perceived to be a buying and selling business you can only do £1000 of trade (not profit) a year without needing to declare it.

      • The real John says:

        Spending points at Sainsburys doesn’t earn them back, while spending at ebay does – e.g. 5000 points for a £25 shop at sainsburys earns 0 points but 5000 points for £25 on ebay will earn 25 points.

        If you can get refunded from argos to a debit card (or actual cash if they are doing that), then spend the cash on the nectar amex, you are roughly 2% up versus spending the points in sainsbury’s.

        Some of the comments I have read indicate that people spend much more time and effort than returning 18 items to argos for a lower return.

    • Peter K says:

      Apart from anything else, that’s a lot of £200 refunds to go through!

  • Wally1976 says:

    In the past there have been double value offers on eBay but I guess we’ve probably seen the end of those

  • Richard M says:

    Not sure if it’s still the case but there was an ‘admin fee’ to book Eurostar which kinda made Nectar redemptions more expensive than buying a cash ticket.

  • Lottie says:

    You can also collect doing nectar surveys 25 or 40 points per survey. I used to do some on the train to the office, but I’ve not been in the office for a long time..

    • Crafty says:

      What do you value your time at? 20 pence equivalent for a 5-10 minute survey, no thanks!

      • Dan says:

        Can fill the odd 10 minutes where you’d otherwise be doing something less productive – good to have the option.

  • Chris says:

    I know it says you can use multiple vouchers on eBay but is there a limit ? Thinking of changing a chunk of Avios and buying a watch

  • Jo says:

    Argos wouldn’t refund me in cash for the (faulty) item I bought at Argos, this was in an Argos inside a large Sainsburys in south West London. So I’d test on something you’d be happy to keep.

    • Andrew says:

      Would they not even refund to nectar Argos voucher again? So items bought with a nectar voucher are non-returnable?

    • C says:

      I once had to argue for a refund on an item that was subject to a manufacturers’ recall a year after purchasing. They tried to argue it had been used, and was non-returnable (ordinarily correct, but not if Argos themselves emailed me to ask me to return it fir a refund because the manufacturer had determined it was defective!). They eventually agreed to accept and refund. Since then I try to avoid Argos – there are enough other similarly priced options.

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