What is the best way to spend Nectar points?
It is now one year since Avios and Nectar unveiled their partnership. 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
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.
Last week 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 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 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.
The annual Sainsbury’s ‘Double Up’ promotion, which allowed you to redeem Nectar points for 1p each in-store for one week per year, has now been scrapped. This is a shame as it would have let you redeem Avios for the equivalent of 1.6p each.
The spend rate in Argos is £2.50 per 500 Nectar points.
There is a limit of 100,000 Nectar points (£500) per transaction. This has increased over the past year – it used to be just £200.
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.
Redemptions at Vue are currently suspended but the Nectar website implies that this is not a permanent move.
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.
Note that Caffe Nero redemptions are currently suspended, but the Nectar website implies that they will return. This offer has historically come and gone from month to month.
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.
Esso is a new Nectar redemption partner although you have been able to earn points via Esso for some time.
It is a slightly confusing one. At participating Esso garages (ie ones without a Tesco Express shop) you can redeem 300 Nectar points for a discount of 5p per litre on your purchase.
As 300 points is usually worth £1.50, the breakeven point is 30 litres. Fill up by more than that and you are getting more than 0.5p per point.
There is a catch though. It is only valid on purchases of Esso Synergy fuel, which is more expensive than standard fuel. You are also capped at 60 litres per transaction.
You can redeem Nectar points via the relatively new Nectar Hotels room booking service.
The rate is what you would expect – 0.5p per Nectar point. This is equivalent to 0.8p per Avios points. What is interesting is that this is 60% more valuable than redeeming Avios via the British Airways hotel booking site, where you only get around 0.5p per Avios spent.
Remember that Nectar Hotels bookings are ‘third party’ and so won’t earn any hotel loyalty points. You will also not receive any status benefits you may be due.
Movie rentals via Sky Store
Nectar has a partnership with Sky with allows you to redeem points for a voucher to spend on an online film rental via Sky Store. You do not need to be a Sky TV subscriber to do this.
The redemption options are marginally more valuable than the standard 0.5p per Nectar point. Sky Store movie rental vouchers cost:
- £5.99 for 1,050 points
- £7.99 for 1,400 points
- £9.99 for 1,750 points
- £11.99 for 2,100 points
- £13.99 for 2,450 points
- £15.99 for 2,800 points
All of these options get you 0.57p per Nectar point redeemed.
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 Nectar point (so 0.8p per Avios if you convert your Avios points) with the exception of:
- Caffe Nero drink vouchers, which can be worth up to 1p (equivalent to up to 1.6p per Avios)
- Sky Store movie rentals, where you get 0.57p per Nectar point (equivalent to 0.91p per Avios)
You may also be able to out-perform at Esso garages, but the small print means that this deal won’t work for everyone.
0.8p in pseudo-cash by redeeming Avios for any of the other 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.