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Nectar points are a great way of earning loyalty points while you shop which you can then convert into rewards with a number of well-known brands. You can spend your points with well-known high street retailers such as Argos, Sainsbury’s or Debenhams.

Nectar points can also be exchanged for days out, meals at participating restaurants, airlines like Easy Jet and products from other online retailers – the list of retailers taking part in the loyalty scheme does change from time to time.

What are Nectar points?

The Nectar points programme is currently the UK’s biggest loyalty scheme with over 19 million users throughout the country.  By signing up for Nectar points, you collect points each and every time you make a purchase from any one of Nectar’s partner retailers.

Current partners of the Nectar loyalty scheme include Sainsbury’s, Argos, BP and Debenhams. There are over 400 partners currently and they range in type from fashion labels and utility companies to theme parks.

These points convert to money off your next purchase at participating retailers but can also be exchanged for goods and experiences including meals out, books and other items.

Nectar points members also receive personalised special offers on items they purchase on a regular basis. The card allows information on frequent purchases to be stored so that the cardholder then receives personalised, relevant deals and promotions.

The scheme is free to join, has no fees and is simple to sign up for.

How much are Nectar points worth?

1,000 nectar points has the cash equivalent of £5.00, but Nectar regularly offers special promotions where you can double your points at selected retailers or get two cinema tickets in return for the points.

Promotions are available both in store and online, so the member can simply use their card to enjoy more points on selected purchases.

Members of the Nectar programme have access to the Nectar online store too where they can see which offers are currently available and redeem their points for a range of vouchers or experiences.

Which stores offer Nectar points?

There are currently 451 retailers offering Nectar points in the UK. These retailers span fashion, travel, dining, entertainment, healthcare, insurance and well-known food brands, so there are plenty of places where you can collect and spend your Nectar points.

The amount of points you receive on transactions varies depending on what you spend, where you spend it, the type of item being purchased and any offers running. For example, you’ll receive four points per £1 spent at certain shops such as Sainsbury’s, but only two points per £1 for other retailers.

However, many of the partner retailers offer special points bonuses, so it’s well worth using your Nectar card when a double points promotion begins.

Some of these retailers offer Nectar points for online purchases only, so its best to do a little research if you’re hoping to benefit from the points on your next purchase.

There are also things that aren’t part of the scheme. Nectar says, “You are unable to collect Nectar points on savings stamps, spirits and liqueurs, car park tickets, vending machines, cashback, postage stamps, Sainsbury's gift vouchers/cards, first stage baby milk products, National Lottery products, tobacco and related products, Lloyds Pharmacy products, mobile phone cards/vouchers, concessions or in any Sainsbury’s Local in partnership with Euro Garages.”

Use the Sainsburys credit card to get 10,000 points

As one of the Nectar points’ scheme’s partner retailers, Sainsbury’s offer 10,000 Nectar points for every successful application made for their credit card. 10,000 points equates to £50, which is a nice little bonus if you were thinking of taking out a credit card anyway.

However, before you apply for the Sainsbury’s credit card, make sure that it offers the best deal for you and is right for your personal circumstances as there may be other options available that would be a better fit.

Many credit cards offer bonuses and incentives for new customers, so check your eligibility with our moneymatcher before making a decision.

Look out for sales and points offers

To really boost your Nectar points balance, you’ll need to make the most of the regular extra points promotions on purchases that the Nectar partners offer. The Nectar online store and App will alert you to points offers as and when they arise, so you won’t need to spend hours trawling round the shops or online to find the best way of boosting your balance.

The Nectar programme also allows you to double up your points on offers and promotions with partner retailers, so you can receive a higher value product or experience for the amount of points you have to redeem, for example, 2 cinema tickets for 1,000 points (cash value £5.00).

How to collect Nectar points for free

If you’re savvy, you can significantly increase your Nectar points balance by:

1.Being accepted for certain credit cards

Some credit cards will offer Nectar points as an incentive to get people to apply for one of their cards, but check that the T&C’s are right for your first.

2. Opening an account with Sainsbury’s bank

Sainsbury’s is one of the original members of the Nectar programme, so they regularly offer extra points to new customers.

3. Completing certain online surveys

Some surveys will reward you with Nectar points, rather than money or free products. However, you will have to part with a lot of personal data just to get a few points so it’s not for everyone.

4. Filling your car up at Sainsbury’s petrol stations

You can also gain Nectar points by filling your car up at Sainsburys’ petrol stations. Look out for the Nectar logo while filling up as some stations (usually motorway service stations) do not provide Nectar points to customers.

These free points promotions vary and do not last forever, so have a look around on the internet to see how you can gain some free Nectar points. 

Make the most of your Nectar points with partner organisations

If you regularly spend money with Nectar’s partner retailers, then you’ll soon see your points balance start to increase.

Here’s some ideas on how to boost your Nectar balance even further:

  • Book your holidays with Expedia
  • Grab a coffee at Caffe Nero
  • Online shopping through Nectar eShop website or partners
  • Use BP garages to fuel your car
  • Visit Vue Cinemas
  • Shop at Argos

For an up to date list of partners, check out this list of nectar’s participating companies.

Giving to Charity? Get rewarded with Nectar points

Nectar points also offers rewards for those who wish to make donations to charity.

By linking your Nectar card to your ‘Tag your Bag’ account at Oxfam, you can earn points once your second-hand items are sold. The Nectar scheme also allows you to redeem points on Oxfam gifts and gives you the option to donate points to several charities.

Using the online toolbar

Nectar’s online toolbar is relatively simple to use and allows you to check your Nectar points balance, view personalised special offers and redeem points at partner retailers without having to bother to download and print vouchers.

In order to use the online toolbar, you’ll need to sign up for an online account and register the details of your Nectar card. Once done, this will give you access to all of the functions that the online toolbar has to offer.

Man in suit walking past houses carrying Sainsburys shopping bags

Why stores offer Nectar points

The reasons that stores and online retailers offer Nectar points is simple – loyalty. Retailers know that by offering customers a valuable incentive to continue to shop with them, they’ll return time and time again to make purchases.

The dangers of being over-loyal

Although loyalty cards and schemes such as Nectar points are used by millions of people, there are occasions that consumers aren’t getting the best deal.

For example, an item in a retailer’s store may come with additional points, but the total cost minus the cash value of the product or service may still be higher than you could purchase it for elsewhere. It really does pay to do your research before buying. This is especially true of high-value purchases.

Also, when you come to redeem your points on experiences, you might find that you could find the same deal online at a far better price, even once the discount from the points has been deducted.

Still not getting the most from your spending? Consider Cashback Credit cards

Loyalty programmes are a fantastic way of getting the most from your spending if you use the card regularly and shop at partner retailers. However, if you can find better deals with other retailers then the points you collect will be minimal and you won’t get the same benefits as those who do.

If this is the case, cashback credit cards are a far better option to make the most of your spending. Offering between 2% and 5% cashback on all purchases, users of cashback credit cards will be credited the percentage back on all purchases, regardless of which retailer they make the transaction with.

Dependent upon the type of cashback credit card you choose, the cashback amount may be paid annually. Some will pay the customer back on a monthly basis so again, you’ll need to shop around.

However, cashback credit cards should be paid off in full at the end of each month to avoid paying interest on the remaining balance.