How to maximise Nectar points

Last Updated on 20 August 2021 by Dan

Hello everyone! Last year I ended up making more use of Sainsburys for my weekly grocery shop than I have done in the past, so throughout the year I’ve been building up those points on my Nectar card.

I’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way about how to maximise those points as I go, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned with you today!

(Oh, and check out our guide to all of the Supermarket Loyalty Schemes and see where Nectar comes out!)

What are Nectar points and what is the usual earnings rate?

Nectar points are Sainsbury’s loyalty scheme, and get 1 point per £ of spending which are worth 0.5p each.

So if you didn’t follow any of the tips below and just did your weekly shop, this basic rate is what you’d earn.

Let’s boost this further!

Ways I recommend to maximise Nectar points

Download the Nectar App and get a regular bonus

The Nectar App is the secret to a lot of Nectar boost tips. The first and easiest is to download the App and link your Nectar card. This is one of the few cases where I’d recommend also allowing the app to send you notifications, as you’ll get a heads up to some of those earning opportunities.

After you’ve done a shop with your Nectar card you’ll get an instant notification that points have been added to your account – but there’s a random (and I’ve found actually fairly frequent) chance that you’ll get a virtual scratchcard which will offer you the chance to win extra points.

These are usually only between 5 and 30, but that’s still the equivalent of an extra £5-£30 worth of shopping to earn that so it’s not bad – especially when you do it each time.

Accept offers on the Nectar App

Now we get into the bigger earners. Each Thursday the Nectar App will send you a collection of offers for specific products, nearly always Sainsbury’s own brand items.

You need to opt in for these to apply – simply click the weekly offers button on the Nectar home page. Each offer will have an accept button below but just scroll right to the bottom and choose to save all offers. You don’t get penalised in any way if you don’t buy the thing, so you may as well accept them all in case you do.

The offers are valid for a week and if you buy that item you’ll earn a specific number of extra Nectar points. However these are quite generous and substantial – a packet of mushrooms and some chicken breasts got me an extra 150 points. Start stacking these up and pull in 400-500 extra points a shop, which actually becomes some decent cashback fast.

What’s nice about these offers is that they’re tailored for you as well – they’re using your shopping history to target what you’ve bought so it’s quite likely that they’re going to relate to products you’ll be buying anyhow.

And just occasionally, you’ll get a “3x/4x/5x” Nectar points on your whole shop offer which is well worth having!

It’s the opting in bit most people miss, so make sure you do.

Bonus – To really rack up the points, do your big shop on a Thursday night. It’s the point at which your new offers for the next week and any expiring offers intersect, so you’ve got the most chances to gain!

Nectar being served with tea.

Watch the printer by the till for coupons

Sometimes when you pay with Nectar you’ll get an extra offer via a small machine by the till printing out a coupon which usually contains an offer similar to the above. I don’t see this happen so often any more, but as these can tend to be of the 3x/4x/5x point bonus when shopping it’s worth keeping an eye out.

Get extra Nectar points with your Petrol at Esso

If you’re stopping off at an Esso to fill up remember to swipe your Nectar card there, as you’ll get a point per litre of fuel. If you’re doing a big fill up, that’s instantly quite a few point!

Link your Nectar account to Ebay

If you regularly Ebay you can link your Nectar card to your account and earn an extra point per £1 when shopping there. At time of writing, Nectar are also offering a 250 point bonus for doing that linkage (via the Nectar app again).

Keep an eye out for Sainsbury’s Specials

There’s just occasionally some really good offers from Sainsbury’s when they want to promote something new – I got a cool 1000 points for trying out paying for my shopping using SmartShop for instance. £5 for something very easy was well worth it.

Link your card to Nectar Connect

I’ve done a section on Nectar Connect as it’s new and it’s own thing – however you can generate significant points from it.

About Nectar Connect

Nectar Connect is a new service from Sainsburys which allows you to link your Nectar Card to your credit card. By doing this you can then activate offers against specific spending partners which will mean you also receive Nectar points when spending with them.

The flip side of this is that you are giving Sainsbury’s the ability to “read” your credit card purchases through open banking. The means the scheme works as Sainsbury’s are offering you a benefit in exchange for getting information on your spending habits that can help guide marketing and strategy, and may be sold on (note that this data is combined with others and anonymised) so you need to decide if you’re comfortable with that.

Is Nectar Connect worth it?

Yes, but Nectar Connect requires some effort.

Let’s start with the positive – the earnings rates can be really excellent with some partners meaning you can earn fairly large amounts of Nectar points on things you’d be buying anyhow. Many partners payout at a rate of 20 points per £ which is far higher than the standard Nectar earnings rate.

The downside is that you have to actively opt in for the offers which generally expire after about 45 days. This means to get the real benefit of Nectar Connect you have to remember to keep checking in and actively adding any new offers you might spend at, which is slightly annoying. It’s made more so by the fact that whilst there’s a link to Nectar Connect in the Nectar App, you manage Nectar connect outside it.

Overall though, I do think the very generous reward payout rate of the scheme does make Nectar Connect worth using.

A couple of ways to maximise Nectar points I DON’T recommend.

When searching to boost Nectar points you may see a couple of other promotions or ideas that I actively don’t recommend. They’re usually decent schemes, but I don’t recommend them simply because you can do better with other options.

Sometimes this is because it simply represents better value, and sometimes it’s because you can get the same payout in cash, which is always better that points that tie you in a little bit more to what you spend and can have their value charge.

The American Express Nectar Credit Card:

This looks appealing because of the whopping 20,000 Nectar point signup bonus with a spend target in your first month, but other American Express cards represent better value if you’re actively looking for a Rewards Credit Card.

The Gold Card pays a similar rate whilst providing more flexibility on what you can spend on (for year 1, then cancel to avoid the fee) and the Cashback credit cards give a better rate of rewards for spending.

You can check out our guide to Rewards Credit Cards and Cashback Credit Cards here (and we can give you some extra signup bonus by referring you!)

Shopping through the Nectar portal:

You’ll see you can obtain bonus Nectar points by doing online shopping through the Nectar portal, which will provide you with x number of Nectar points per £ spent, which is usually pretty generous.

Again, these payout rates are good but they always either only match or are not as good as what you can get via TopCashback, where you get cash (better than Nectar) for shopping in exactly the same way as this Sainsbury’s scheme by shopping through a link.

And if you want to use your TopCashback cash at Sainsbury’s, you’ll even get a boost on choosing to be paid out in the form of a gift card.

Using TopCashback is one of my favourite easy moneysaving tips that really makes a difference (I’ve made over £1,000 from it). You can read my full guide to using TopCashback here.

Any questions?

If you’ve come across any other ways to boost Nectar points or have a question on one of the methods please do let me know! Just pop a note in the comments below.

(Oh, and a reminder to check out our guide to all of the Supermarket Loyalty Schemes!)

And that’s it!

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