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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)

  • C says:

    Nero vouchers are great value. The coffee is generally ok (not as good as a local specialist, but acceptable quality if paying in points). I often purchase a £3.45 coffee with a voucher, which is excellent value for points. One can also sometimes get stamps in the Nero app, further increasing the return. The question is how much Nero coffee one wants, and it’s not really an aspirational earnings target.

    • Max says:

      The Nero app stamp loyalty scheme is fantastic, they often have offers, especially at the moment.

      • Andrew says:

        And if you’re on O2 – a free coffee every Tuesday or Wednesday which also earns a loyalty stamp

    • the_real_a says:

      They dont actually put more coffee into a large drink. Its just more water/milk. So whilst a small is palatable, the large taste like cats bath water.

    • Scallder says:

      Nero vouchers also get a free flavour shot as well so can actually be an ever bigger saving/value per Avios!

  • Jo says:

    @Andrew, no they wouldnt refund into nectar points either. They wouldnt budge and I had the item replaced, despite wanting a refund as the faulty item wasn’t good quality even if perfect. It wasn’t worth my time arguing with them for a small amount.

  • Rick MacLeod says:

    I have bought from Argos using Nectar Points recently, but when the unused item was returned they refused to refund in Nectar Points … refunds will only be made onto an Argos Gift Card. It has a 2-year validity, which means I am sure we will be able to use it, but not nearly as useful getting the Nectar Points refunded (which is how the Ts & Cs suggested any refund would be processed for a returned item).
    Caveat emptor …

    • Andrew says:

      I suppose at least that could be a way of using your points for say a new iPhone as doing the “proper route” you can only redeem £200 off an item.

      • Bobri says:

        You can buy Argos gift cards at Sainsbury’s using Nectar, even less hassle

    • Rob says:

      However, this is good if you want to use 100,000 Avios for an £800 item. Buy 4 x £200 items, return them, get gift cards, combine for the £800 item …..

      • Andrew says:

        Great minds Rob!

        • Freddy says:

          Why not just buy off eBay using multiple vouchers?

          • Dr C says:

            Ebay isn’t always an option

          • Andrew says:

            And not sure I’d trust buying a new iPhone for £1000 off eBay.

          • Dean says:

            Yeah. I was planning to buy a new iPhone from argos with avios until Rob pointed out the max £200 nectar limit. My new plan will be to buy it from the currys ebay storefront, which should be legit and allow me to pay the full price in avios.

          • Thomas says:

            When did Argos redemption become a 200£ maximum redemption ?
            A year ago, I bought a 900£ phone at Argos using purely nectar points.
            Quite annoying if this maximum is now in place..

          • Rob says:

            You could get around it by buying £200 items, returning them for a gift card and then using that gift card.

  • Andrew says:

    Be interested to know how often we can expect (based on previous practice) the eBay double up?

  • Kim says:

    I returned a clothing item to Sainsbury’s after the last double up promotion. The only option was a refund on a gift card but it was for the full double up amount which I then used on my groceries 😁

  • Joe Green says:

    Lots of talk about the extra coupons offers to earn more nectar on Sainsburys shopping.
    Can you earn nectar points if paying for shopping with nectar points. I assume you cant earn the 1 point per £1 spent but how about the bonus points?

    • Chris says:

      you can buy a Sainsburys gift card with nectar points and use that to collect on purchase

      • Catherine says:

        Can you buy a Sainsbury’s gift card from Nectar points online? I can’t see how ?

  • Craig says:

    Do we know if the 2 points per £ will be for everyone or just for those that make a transfer to earn the bonus?

    • Andrew says:

      Just for those who make the transfer of at least 1600 nectar points and only after the transfer is complete. Of course if you have a zero nectar balance you can transfer in 1000 Avios then out 1600 nectar, net the 500 Avios bonus and activate the double points – so should be no reason why anyone wouldn’t be able to get the double points and 500 Avios useless they have fewer than 1000 Avios in their BA account.

      • Craig says:

        Thanks, hopefully do a transfer first thing before my delivery order gets picked.

      • Alison says:

        My reading of the Ts and Cs is that you can’t transfer Avios to Nectar and then transfer back to trigger the bonus…..scenario 2 in the list?

        • Participants will not be eligible for the 500 Bonus Avios in the following scenarios: the BAEC account has previously received a bonus in the Bonus Avios Qualifying Period; the Nectar account has previously received a transfer from any BAEC account in the Bonus Avios Qualifying Period; the Nectar account has previously transferred an amount that was eligible for a bonus to any BAEC account; or the Nectar account has been merged with another Nectar account that had previously received a transfer.

        • Alison says:

          As has been pointed out elsewhere, if you are short of Nectar points , there looks to be the option to transfer Avios to Nectar today (outside the Bonus Qualifying Period) so you can then transfer them the other way tomorrow to get the bonus (inside the Qualifying Period)

  • Dr C says:

    Argos staff have some issues, I once tried to buy multiple items and they got really offended as if I was doing something bad saying I must have a business account etc etc.

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