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?

It is now one year since Avios and Nectar unveiled their partnership. It is fair to say that it came as a big surprise, because we had assumed that any potential tie-up would be scuppered by a weak conversion rate.

In reality, we got an innovative two-way transfer system where you can move Avios and Nectar points back and forth without losing any value. This means that:

  • Avios is now the most valuable Nectar redemption, assuming you value an Avios at around 1p
  • Avios now have a floor value of 0.8p – you should never redeem for anything which is poorer value than this – because 1 Avios gets you 0.8p of Nectar points to spend at Sainsbury’s, Argo, eBay etc
Nectar Avios light

As we are now one year in, I thought it was worth updating our 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.

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 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, also published today, looks at earning Nectar points from credit cards, insurance and loans. We’ll follow up with a third article on how to spend Nectar points, in case you were looking to cash out of Avios.

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. You will also be posted a plastic card.

Nectar does not have household accounts although I assume the same account can be accessed from multiple smartphones.

Where can you earn Nectar points?

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s, if you are not aware, now owns the Nectar scheme. It took full control four 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. However, you can often do substantially better via regular promotions – on Black Friday there was a crazy offer of 50 Nectar points (31 Avios) per £1 spent!

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, Great Western Railway and South Western leaving the scheme.

You can still collect via selected First Group-managed franchises:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • TransPennine Express

The rate is 2 Nectar points per £1 spent. You can add your card number during the payment process.

TransPennine Express allows you to earn points when you use their website to book tickets on ANY train company. Avanti West Coast restricts earning to Avanti services only.

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 E.ON following a recent switch from 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.

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 and Nectar Connect

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.

Nectar also has a card linking scheme called Nectar Connect. This allows you to register your credit and debit cards and automatically earn points when you spend at a small number of retailers. I strongly recommend you read the small print before signing up, however, as you are giving Nectar very aggressive permissions to access your spending data and then use the information to market to you.

In Part 2 …..

In Part 2 of this article – click here – we look at Nectar’s financial partners. Earning points from a credit card is easier and quicker than many of the partners listed above.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2022)

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards. You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Amex Gold

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

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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 (49)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Yorkieflyer says:

    Although not a family account as such the missus has a supplementary card on my account ( as well as her own)

    • RussellH says:

      Have things changed here?

      Both my partner’s card and mine have been linked in one online listing for years. If I log in, all transactions are ‘mine’, if she does, then they are all ‘hers’.
      Though this changed a couple of years ago – transactions used to be tagged according to the card number.

  • Oh! Matron! says:

    I easily clear 250 points per £15 shop at sainsbury’s during the week. If you buy something new, it will appear in the weekly offers the next week. I’ve got 600 points worth of offers this week, inc 110 points for dates…. and 90 for sticky toffee pudding: How can I refuse? 🙂 Has it changed my shopping habits? Yes. Am I spending more? No.

    Win win 🙂

    • BJ says:

      Making me hungry 🙂

    • Gavin says:

      I’m getting weekly offers upwards of 1k points. I don’t buy them though. This week I spent £24 and got 840 bonus points. 240 points for a £1.05 can of tuna was particularly lucrative.

  • MarioC says:

    Had a quick look at Sainsbury Energy and their 2 year Fix and Reward Tariffs are huge. Using the figures from my latest annual energy statement, it would cost me around £1700 compared to £600ish i paid in total last year for a 2 bed flat.

    • John says:

      You’re never going to pay anywhere close to £600 a year again

      • Mike Hunt says:

        I think the Sainsburys quote is more realistic ( although slightly too high) to what you will pay this year

      • MarioC says:

        I’m aware of that, my fix tariff ends in February, but didn’t expect such a big jump in costs. Well, I’ll need to find a supplier which I can pay using Amex

    • Genghis says:

      We got a two year fix with them right when energy prices started going crazy. Their one year tariff was the cheapest for us but taking into account the extra nectar points earned for a two year, the difference in price for the two year was only a couple of quid. To say I’m pleased I did what I did is an understatement.

      • john says:

        Snap! I switched to a 2 year fix with them at the start of September just before my existing provider (Avro) went bust! I’m half expecting them to try and weasel out of it somehow..

        I’ve had a few e-mails from Octopus who took over the Avro customers about my switch to them so it seems the systems in place to manage switching are not robust, although to their credit, Octopus have been very rapid in responding to my e-mails about this!

        • Peter K says:

          Same here. 2yr Sainsbury’s fix as just before Avro went bust. Best decision for a long time!

      • AJA says:

        I switched to Sainsbury’s Energy last March and unfortunately I only signed up for the one year deal so I have a shock coming soon. Oh well.

        • Gavin says:

          Feel fortunate I got a 2 year fix last Easter. Hopefully the issues will be unravelled by 2023. Luckily I live in one of the milder parts of the country.

    • BJ says:

      Sounds like a one year fix from a year ago. Same energy will now cost about £850 with price cap and likely rise to £1200 with price cap in April. When my fix ends this month I plan to stick with price cap but switch to Sainsbury Energy before disappearing to USA for a month this summer. I’ll bag the Nectar points at low cost and will be able to reassess future on return with benefit of a 2y fix and no exit penalty.

  • Mart says:

    Can anyone confirm which of the rail operators definitely permit you to book with them for another service?

    • John says:

      All rail booking sites in GB must sell tickets for all operators.

      If you mean specifically for nectar, TPE gives nectar on all tickets

  • lumma says:

    GWR definitely earns points on all journeys, I use their app for pretty much all train journeys other than on LNER as their perks are worth more.

  • RussellH says:

    Re Nectar connect – I signed up last year, but have never found anything useful from it.

    However, I just found 1950 ‘bonus’ points in my account from them.
    Could do worse…

  • Jenny says:

    One interesting quirk I was discovered is when redeeming nectar points at Sainsbury’s you receive points back based on your remaining spend whereas at Ebay and Argos it’s on the whole spend, including the part covered by the nectar voucher- meaning Ebay & Argos are *slightly* better options.

    E.g. spend £50 with £45 nectar voucher at Saiansbury’s = 5 nectar points received back
    spend £50 at Ebay with a £45 nectar voucher = 50 nectar points received back

    Hardly big bucks I know, but still- I go for Ebay every time now!

  • Ryan says:

    Its staggering how many people leave cash vouchers at the self checkouts at Sainsburys, I’ve even seen “Save £5 off a min £5 shop”

    I must have benefited £100 in the last year from clearing up the paper vouchers

    • AJA says:

      It’s ages since I had any paper vouchers spit out at the till. I think they deliberately let the printer run out of till rolls in the two Sainsbury’s stores that I frequent.

    • MarioC says:

      If using Nectar cards, we should get this vouchers/offers on the cards instead of printed vouchers. The past 3 weeks I received paper vouchers advertising I can redeem Nectar points for Avios or about Nectar Prices. And most people i see taking the paper vouchers dispose them at the first bin.

      • RussellH says:

        I take the paper vouchers, read them to see if they are off interest, and then put them in the bin – usually they are trying to make us switch to online shopping. No thanks!

        I have had three vouchers for an extra 80 points on £40+ of motor fuel: one at checkout, the second on using the first voucher 5 mins later at the filling station, the third on using the second voucher a day later to fill a rented van.

        • Gavin says:

          I got the same – 2 vouchers for triple points on fuel, one at the store and then shortly after at the filling station.

    • John says:

      I thought those were specific to your nectar card but maybe not if you’ve used them successfully.

      However I’ve never seen a money off one, only 3x or 5x nectar points

      • RussellH says:

        Used to be quite common.

      • Ryan says:

        The vouchers ARE specific only to that card but… Sainsburys’ IT systems aren’t up to grips with recognising if the card matches the voucher

        • Metty says:

          ‘Wombling’ for other people’s vouchers takes me back to the days of Tesco and the beef ready meals with extra points worth more than the product. I tried someone else’s Sainsbury’s ‘£10 off a £75 spend’ the other day and it worked. My wombling these days is restricted to Franco Manca (1 free pizza for 6 codes) much to the embarrassment of my kids….

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