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.
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, 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:
- Tu clothing
- Taste the Difference wine, sparkling, champagne, sherry and port
‘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.
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.
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.
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:
- Cars, Motorcycles and Vehicles (Parts and accessories are not excluded)
- Holidays & Travel
- Gift Vouchers & Coupons
- Baby Feeding: Formula
The vouchers cannot be used to purchase items from the following sellers:
- Tesco outlet
- Co-operative Electrical
- Telephony providers offering Pay As You Go phones
You can find out more on the eBay / Nectar page here.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.)