With coronavirus continuing to put the squeeze on personal finances, consumers are increasingly searching for new ways to save cash. One way to do this is through a customer loyalty card.
However, it can be easy to feel confused and overwhelmed by the sheer number of cards and schemes on offer, as well as how to make the most out of them.
In response to demand for more guidance on how to choose between different products, Good With Money has introduced ‘need to know’ product and provider reviews.
Here we look at Nectar – a loyalty programme that lets you collect and spend points with the likes of Sainsbury’s, eBay and Argos. You can also now swap your Nectar points for Avios and vice versa.
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What’s the deal?
A new partnership between Nectar and British Airways means you can now swap Nectar points for Avios, and vice versa.
How you swap is up to you. If you’re saving up for a holiday or to visit distant family members once lockdown is over, you can choose to convert your Nectar points into Avios. Or if you’re not planning on travelling and would rather save money on shopping, you can change Avios into Nectar points.
To celebrate the new partnership, you can earn double Nectar points when shopping at Sainsbury’s until 19 April 2021.
Avios points can be used towards British Airways flights, upgrades and more, while Nectar points can be spent with brands including Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay, Sky Store and Eurostar.
Swapping your points, whichever way around you choose, is simple. You can do this at either the British Airways or Nectar websites. If you are not an existing British Airways Executive Club or Nectar member, you can join either for free (you can register for a Nectar card here, via the Nectar app or by picking up a card in a Sainsbury’s store).
To make switching to Avios even easier, you can set up a weekly automatic conversion so that every time you reach 400 Nectar points they will be turned into 250 Avios.
Nectar doesn’t have a sustainable option as such, but Sainsbury’s has been making positive progress on becoming more planet-friendly. This includes committing to reaching net zero across its operations by 2040, in line with the most ambitious targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. The supermarket says it is investing £1 billion over 20 years to help reduce its carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging and water usage, and increase recycling, biodiversity, and healthy, sustainable diets.
Sainsbury’s is partnered with the Woodland Trust to help restore the environment and support biodiversity through the planting and protection of native woodland and trees in the UK. As part of its net zero commitment, it has agreed to plant an additional 1.5 million native trees by 2025.
British Airways meanwhile, has committed to achieving net zero by 2050.
While converting your Nectar points to air miles won’t help with your carbon footprint, you can collect points by shopping online with Sainsbury’s more sustainable partners such as H&M, which has an eco-friendly ‘Kind’ clothes range, or Ethical Superstore which sells a huge range of Fairtrade, organic, vegan and eco-friendly products.
The plus points
- Save money on a holiday. With the pandemic making travel almost impossible, many people will be longing for a holiday or to see family members abroad. You can use Avios to discount the cost of your flight with British Airways or one of its partner airlines including Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling (you’ll just need to pay the taxes, fees and charges yourself). Avios points can also be used on hotels, car hire and upgrades.
- Save money on your shopping. Nectar points can be used at Sainsbury’s or other brands including Argos, eBay, Dulux Decorator Centres, Vue, Sky Store and Habitat.
- Boost your Nectar balance with weekly offers in the Nectar app. These include weekly bonus points on the products you buy most at Sainsbury’s, as well as offers from a selection of the 300+ other Nectar partners including fashion, home, travel and business brands.
- Avios don’t expire. As long as you collect, use or purchase at least one air mile every 36 months, your Avios won’t expire. It’s also worth knowing in these uncertain times, that if you change your mind about a flight (or it is cancelled), you won’t lose your Avios.
- Use existing points. Both new and existing Nectar and Avios points can be switched. So if your shopping bill at Sainsbury’s has increased during lockdown, it could reward you in the long run. Or, if you’ve struggled with cashflow during the pandemic, converting your Avios into money off your shopping might help to ease your shopping bill.
- It’s always worth checking the prices on the shopping items you usually buy to make sure the points you are earning don’t cancel out any difference. If you’re already a loyal customer of Sainsbury’s and/or its partner brands, the new scheme is a great opportunity for using your shopping to save on a holiday, or vice versa.
- The new partnership comes after British Airways ended a similar deal with Tesco. Tesco shoppers could convert Clubcard points to Avios at a higher rate of 250 points for 600 Avios. However, you can boost your Nectar points balance by earning them at partner retailers (including filling up your fuel at Esso), promotions and bonus offers in the app. You also couldn’t convert your Avios into Clubcard points.
What’s the reward?
You can convert a minimum 400 Nectar points to 250 Avios. You then earn points at the same rate so 800 Nectar = 500 Avios and 1,200 Nectar = 750 Avios. The same rate applies the other way round.
How to earn Nectar points:
- You get at least 1 Nectar point for every £1 qualifying spend in store or online
- You get 1 Nectar point for every litre of fuel purchased in Sainsbury’s or Esso fuel stations
- Nectar points are calculated on your transaction total, that’s after any discounts
You can collect points at Sainsbury’s, Sainsbury’s Bank, Sainsbury’s Energy, Esso, Expedia and eBay as well as hundreds of other online retailers when you shop through nectar.com.
If you download the Nectar Yahoo Toolbar you won’t forget to use your Nectar card, and it will give you bonus points on some of your searches too.
Nectar points can be spent in 500 points blocks, so you can spend up to the nearest £2.50 of your shop using your Nectar points.
How do the rewards compare to competitors?
The ability to switch points for Avios is an exclusive deal between Nectar and British Airways.
Other supermarket loyalty schemes include Tesco Clubcard, which allows members to collect one point for every £1 they spend in-store and online, and one point for every £2 spent on fuel. Every 150 points you earn is worth £1.50 to spend in store, online, or with Clubcard partners including Alton Towers, Now TV and Prezzo.
The Co-operative loyalty scheme enables you to earn money back on your purchases, rather than giving you points. You’ll get five per cent back when you buy Co-op own-brand items or services (except insurance) and a further one per cent is donated to local charitable causes in your community.
Morrisons offers the Morrisons More loyalty scheme, where you can earn five points for every £1 spent in-store or online, fuel or the Morrisons Café, and for every £1 spent on gift cards in-store. You need 5,000 points to get a £5 voucher, which means each point is worth 0.1p.
With Waitrose, its myWaitrose scheme helps you earn freebies and access to discounts on your grocery shopping. This includes a free hot drink for members each time they visit a store – but you’ll need to buy something and bring a reusable cup. Members also get a free copy of the Waitrose & Partners Food magazine, and deals like 20 per cent off at the fish counter on Fridays.
Similar pocket money apps worth considering are:
This article is in association with Nectar. Good With Money occasionally uses affiliate links to providers or offers, where relevant. This means that if you open an account or buy a service after following the link, Good With Money is paid a small referral fee. We choose our affiliates carefully and in line with the overall mission of the site.