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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 (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:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

100,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and a long list of travel ….. Read our full review

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

50,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and free for a year Read our full review

Here are your other options. 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

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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

(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)

  • Josh says:

    Argos refunds are a nightmare.
    1. Bought a rice cooker which stopped working after just 1 week (!), it had been used twice, we’d stupidly thrown away the box immediately on buying and they initially refused to return or exchange it without the box, even though we’re within our rights under consumer law. Had to call customer services twice to get a “return code”, assured the store would then accept it when quoting the code. Tried 3 different stores and they still refused, even when speaking to the manager. Eventually escalated via a national newspaper and they refunded it, but no compensation for my wasted time or multiple journeys to stores.
    2. Bought a hairdryer that had a continental 2 pin plug when it was opened at home, 6 weeks later (bought early as a birthday gift). Not a big deal as we have so many adaptors, but I thought I’d return it anyway and get a different one with 3 pin plug. Store claimed as more than 30 days had elapsed, they couldn’t do anything. Told them they had a legal right to ensure electrical appliances confirm to British standards and got shrugged at by the young teenager, “I don’t know anything about that” . Manager was away and I could come back in 3 days to see him and try again. Didn’t bother and just used a plug adaptor at home.
    3. Ordered some garden equipment online for collection in local Sainsburys. After 2 weeks waiting (it was supposedly in stock for next day collection), I requested a refund, which took 2 weeks longer to process.

    • Freddy says:

      And they wonder why people flock to Amazon. I haven’t bought anything from Argos for years for this precise reason

    • Jonathan says:

      I think Argos has been going downhill for many years now and they don’t seem to want to change. I originally used to be looking in their catalogue all the time, but I now can’t remember the last I walked into one of their shops. Saying that, they’re now all disappearing and going into a little section of Sainsbury’s stores ! (depending of course how big the Sainsbury’s store is, some are too small to have Argos kiosks in

  • mark2 says:

    Will there be a post tomorrow on how to actually make the transfers? or have I missed somehing?

    • Rob says:

      No-one knows how it will work until tomorrow!

      • Andrew says:

        Just noticed it’s now up on the front page of the nectar app, inviting you to link accounts. Says that points are converted instantly – which is excellent news. There’s a button to link accounts in the app but it’s taking you to order Ben’s cookies – so I guess not quite up and running yet!

    • Hanif says:

      The linking worked for me,, and is allowing me to convert, waiting till tomorrow for the bonus though.

    • Hanif says:

      There are restrictions on number of points converted – 50000 Avios / 80000 nectar each month

      • ChrisA says:

        Yes well spotted though you can also convert another 50% of that via an auto conversion per month.

      • Mr(s) Entitled says:

        This could slow the exit from Avios considerably but I would be happy to play the long game all the same.

    • Andrew says:

      Looks like a long wait for the bonus – 28 days after the end of the promotion period – so end of March as long as the transaction isn’t reversed. Which presumably means any further Avios to nectar transactions cancel it out.

  • Martin says:

    You can buy anything iin sainsburys using your double up voucher. (Allowed category of course)
    Return it for refund which will be given at full value onto a gift card..
    Buy a couple of games and return on next shop saying not working, get your gift card for full value and do your shopping.
    Works as well if say buy game on release day, play it. When it goes down to £20 return it as faulty for refund and buy again at £20.
    Or console within its warranty

  • The Original Nick. says:

    I’m green to all the Nectar points collecting but I do have a 5 figure sum of them. I just went to Sainsburys and bought some milk and a Birthday card. The till spat out 270 worth of extra points on 7 tickets and one ticket with a 3 x points on next shop. If I spend and buy all the items on the tickets for the 270 points will that multiply by 3 to equal 810 points? I also got a 5x points when you spend £30 or more on your next shop. Do these stack?

    • MattB says:

      No the 3x/2x type offers only apply to base points not bonus. I’ve found Sainsbury’s IT to be far stricter than somewhere like M&S where their sparks offers can overlap quite easily. The nectar bonus points for specific items do apply to reduced food, I needed lettuce the other day and the only pack left was dated that day and marked down to 8p and I still got the 60 points.

    • AJA says:

      No. You can only use either the 3x or 5x voucher at one time, you can’t use both at the same time and they don’t stack on top of the bonus points. Also the 3x or 5x points vouchers are only on the base points earned so for example if you use the 5x points when spend £30 or more and spend say £50 you would earn 50 points on the base spend and an extra 200 ie a total of 250. Then add in any bonus nectar points from other items. I hope that makes sense?

  • The Original Nick. says:

    I’ve succesfully linked my BAEC account and Nectar account just now via the Nectar app.

  • The Original Nick. says:

    Opps. *Thanks MattB

  • Andrew says:

    Working a treat – Avios straight over to nectar, eBay voucher requested, order placed.

  • Dr C says:

    Interesting the auto conversion says
    “Simply select Nectar to Avios (or vice versa) and every week, we will move your points across – up to a maximum of 40,000 Nectar points and 25,000 Avios,”

    Then on the setup page it says “we will move your points across – up to a maximum of 40,000 Nectar points in a 3-month period.”

    So looks like its a quarterly thing as weekly sounds excessive for them

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