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The GWR rail franchise is to stop awarding Nectar points

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West Country rail operator GWR has become the latest company to pull out of the Nectar programme.

30th March will be the last day to make a booking in order to earn Nectar points. Looking at the announcement, it doesn’t matter if your travel date is later.

In a statement on its website, GWR said:

GWR rail to leave nectar

“GWR will be leaving Nectar on 30 March. We have taken this decision as we adapt to the impact of COVID-19 on the railway and continue to evaluate our offer to deliver the best value for our customers and taxpayers.”

The other rail franchises managed by First Group, TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast, will continue to offer Nectar points at the current rate of 2 points per £1 spent.

The list of companies that have pulled out of Nectar since it launched is huge. The reason why is simple – with no ‘gamification’ (such as Tesco Clubcard’s ability to redeem via partners for 3x face value) the rewards are simply not enough to drive changes in customer behaviour.

The ability to get back 1% of your GWR spending in inflexible Nectar points was never going to move the needle when people were deciding how to travel. The drain on GWR’s pockets, on the other hand, would have been very noticeable.

PS. If you don’t have the Nectar American Express credit card, take a look at our review here.

Comments (40)

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

  • Paul says:

    I wouldn’t bother with Viking. Twice I used them last year and the Nectar points didn’t post correctly for either transaction. On the first transaction I should have had a bonus but the bonus credited was a quarter of what it should be and the base points were wrong. Second transaction the base points again were wrong. Viking customer service were useless both times and the issues were never sorted.

  • Jonty says:

    Nectar points won’t affect my decision whether to take the train but they do sway my decision who to buy my tickets from. Presumably all operators will withdraw from nectar as franchises are replaced with direct government contracts

    • NigelthePensionerr says:

      As you rightly say, it not just the way you travel from A to B, it is more importantly who you buy your ticket off! Every rail company can sell each others tickets at the same prices, but do you buy them from Virgin (yes Virgin) and get Virgin “miles” or from Avanti and get Nectar points or from Chiltern and get Top Cash Back?
      In fact there are not many places in the UK with multiple train options – in fact it would be interesting to know bow many cities / towns have 2 train services connecting them. The only one I know is Birmingham to London where you have a choice of Chiltern to Marylebone or Avanti to Euston…….

      • Erico1875 says:

        Edinburgh to Newcastle has LNER, Cross Country and Lumo

      • Jay-Marc says:

        Oxford has Chiltern and GWR to London.

      • DevonDiamond says:

        From Exeter you can take either SWR or GWR, and the train leaves in a different direction depending on which option you choose

      • Andrew says:

        Oxford to London.
        *Chiltern to Marylebone
        *GWR to Paddington.

        Reading to London.
        *GWR to Paddington
        *TFL to Paddington and beyond
        *South West to Waterloo

        Dunblane to London
        *LNER to Kings Cross (Sundays Only)
        *Caledonian Sleeper to Euston (Except Saturday)

      • David S says:

        Reading to loads of places – to London Waterloo with SWR or to Paddington with GWR. Plus Cross Country Trains connect you to pretty much any Non London Airport

        • WillPS says:

          Plenty of places have a local ‘stopper’ operator and a regional operator. Sometimes the stopper is so stoppy that it’s not really a viable option (Sheffield – Manchester for example), but Sheffield – Nottingham is much of a muchness journey time wise whether you get a Northern or East Mids service.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Which train app is most user friendly?
      I generally find cross country trains app very good.
      LNER insists on us providing identification details even for a flexi pass.

      • Tim says:

        Trainline charges booking fees. Avoid them

        • John says:

          I believe the app doesn’t, at least on the day of travel, although I’ve never used it. I did pay trainline booking fees a few years ago when an Amex offer cancelled them out.

          Trainline operates many TOC booking sites without the fees.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          And your ticket winds up locked up in their app and cannot be upgraded on Seatfrog.

    • John says:

      The government already covers the losses and keeps the revenue from all operators except open access

    • Scott says:

      I can get Hull Trains, LNER and Grand Central from Doncaster to King’s Cross.
      Can be a third of the price on GC Vs. LNER for standard class.

      I use Transpennine Express to get to Doncaster, Manchester etc., so Nectar points are handy for that. The trains at present are only running every 2hrs, so a lot of connections involve an hour or so wait at Doncaster – usually pop across the road to Saknsbury, or into the Frenchgate centre for a Greggs sausage roll or 4 😉
      They do tend to cancel trains when you arrive at the station with no prior notice.

      Could use Trainline through an airline portal for any of those. Have on occasion had both Avios and Nectar points awarded.

      Generally it’s just prices and convenience that sway me.
      If its £150 return in first on LNER, and £100 to drive and park, I’ll probably drive at my own pace.

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        Grand Central is like going back in time to BR at its dilapidatd worst though. It also has a special place in my heart for serving me the single worst thing I have ever (partly) eaten. I’m still genuinely uncertain whether they served me the cardboard packaging in error.

  • Will says:

    If you buy GWR tickets with Avanti or TPE, do you get the Nectar points? Or is it only if you buy tickets for their services?

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      You get points regardless of route or operator if the vendor offers them

  • jj says:

    The article is a little misleading regarding GWR. It wasn’t really relevant that they travelled to the West Country (or Wales, for that matter, in case Londoners aren’t aware that there is land to the west of Bath), as you earned Nectar on tickets purchased through GWR regardless of who operated the trains.

    The same thing is true in reverse. Amex offers with LNER can be used to get cash back on journeys with GWR, for example.

    • Jeff77 says:

      “ or Wales, for that matter, in case Londoners aren’t aware that there is land to the west of Bath”

      Thanks for pointing that out. I hadn’t heard of Wales before 🙄

      • jj says:

        I’m sure you know where Wales is, but I was just having a little dig at the opening line of the article, “West Country rail operator GWR…”

        Given that the Severn Tunnel, connecting England and Wales, was the crowning engineering achievement of the original GWR, the ‘West Country’ part of the sentence seemed strangely incomplete.

  • Froggitt says:

    Feel its a good place to punt the Sainsburys Bank L&G over 50s life insurance. £6 a month. Had to convince Mrs Frog I had no intention of doing away with her.

    After you’ve paid 5 months’ premiums, we’ll add 20,000 (worth £100) points to your Nectar account within the following 60 days

    Double Nectar points at Sainsburys…..By the 10th of each month, you’ll get a bonus point award equal to the total of your qualifying points during the previous month, up to a maximum of 20,000 points

  • Mark says:

    still cant believe how long it takes to transfer avios to nectar and vice versa. I am waiting to get Eurostar tickets for a weekend away using nectar points from Avios and dont see why it takes 10 days after accounts are linked!

    • Chris says:

      I gave up trying to convert to Eurostar from Nectar. Got error messages every time and neither Nectar or Eurostar took responsbility for resolving the problem.

    • Lady London says:

      Because by slowing down the process and not making it instant gratification by transferring immediately as the system was previously perfectly able to do:-

      (1) they cut the gratification link (so no Pavlov dog being fed as soon as he presses the button) so you are less likely to redeem promptly. Which means you’ll be less likely to redeem the points you’ve earned.

      (2) Any delay introduces risk and therefore more potential barriers to redeeming. Therefore more breakage – points that will never get used – especially if their own manual admin fails or the company is difficult to reach to rectify.

      I will take a guess that in volume of Nectar points potentially redeemed that were originally earned on BA, so.somehow BA has to pay Nectar for them, a redemption % of around 70% by volume of what would have been redeemed and BA would have had to pay for if transfer had remained instant, has reduced to no more than 20% of the volume of Nectar points BA would have had to pay Nectar for and possibly only 10% or less.

      • Mark says:

        true, although if it ends up not working (as per Chris’ experience above) I will just put them all back into Avios and use them for flights.

  • Andrew says:

    There are so many different rail offers at the moment. Avanti & LNER both have rebate offers across multiple providers and LNER has the Nectar Connect offer on top of that.

    • Scott says:

      I’ve been tempted by Nectar Connect, but don’t like the way you can’t see what’s on offer unless you link your card. It’s like websites that force you to accept cookies before you get to look to see if it’s of any use to you.

      • Andrew. says:

        Well, I wouldn’t link my main account to it for open banking data, but I don’t have an issue connecting one of my stand-alone cards to it.

    • Jeff77 says:

      They’re obvs desperate for any money given that passenger numbers during the week are barely at two-thirds of pre pandemic levels

  • Nicky says:

    Bits: Rob, any more news on the New Barclay card offer: when do you think you can give out the details?

    • Rob says:

      On the day it launches. It is approved now, it will happen in March. That’s about all we can say.

      • Stephen says:

        Are you able to comment on whether existing Barclaycard holders should be as interested in waiting for it as others?

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