British Gas is axing its existing Nectar rewards scheme in December meaning customers will no longer earn points simply for being a gas and electricity user.

Currently, customers of British Gas and Sainsbury's Energy – which is a sub-brand of British Gas – who have a Nectar loyalty card linked to their account can earn up to 400 Nectar points a year simply for being a customer.

They can also earn additional points in other ways, such as for performing particular actions. For example you can earn up to 480 points a year if you submit a meter reading every three months, while British Gas customers also get 800 points for switching payments to direct debit.

Nectar points can then be redeemed for rewards including restaurant vouchers, attractions and train tickets through the Nectar website. See our Loyalty Points Boosting guide for how to get the most from rewards schemes.

But this will end from 31 December 2015, and in February 2016 – the big six provider hasn't told us the exact date – British Gas and Sainsbury's Energy customers who have a Nectar loyalty card linked to their account will only earn Nectar points through one-off offers.

British Gas says customers will also get offers and giveaways from Nectar partners, although it hasn't elaborated on what exactly this will involve. It only says it will let customers know via email or letter over the coming weeks. It also wouldn't tell us how many customers are impacted by this move.

Will I lose any points earned?

British Gas and Sainsbury's Energy customers can continue to earn points until 31 December. The provider says customers will still get to keep all the points they've accrued over the year.

Nectar points doesn't mean British Gas is cheapest

But just because you earn Nectar points with British Gas and Sainsbury's Energy, doesn't mean they're the cheapest supplier for you. How much you pay for energy depends on where you live and how much you use.

Join our free Cheap Energy Club to see if you can switch and save now.

Why is British Gas doing this?

A spokesman for British Gas says: "The fundamental premise of Nectar – to say thank you to customers – remains unchanged. 

"From next year, our Nectar customers will be rewarded in three ways. Firstly, by receiving bonus point offers; secondly, through offers from Nectar partners which are more rewarding for our Nectar customers; and thirdly, through giveaways.

"From the end of December, customers will no longer collect 'base' points, or points for actions such as switching an account to direct debit and booking an annual service online."