Sainsbury's Nectar card customers can double their points' usual value from today to spend on selected items including toys, Christmas decorations and homeware.

From today, until 24 November, Nectar customers can swap points for vouchers in multiples of £10, up to the value of £40, for vouchers to spend across seven categories.

Any vouchers swapped must then be redeemed before 11.59pm on 24 November, subject to store closing times.

See below for a full Q&A on what's happening.

What are Nectar points?

Nectar is the loyalty scheme used by Sainsbury's to reward its customers for shopping at the supermarket. You can also collect Nectar points when spending at other retailers including British Gas, eBay and Homebase, (see the full list of participating brands), and when shopping at certain retailers via the Nectar e-shop (see a full list of participating stores).

Shoppers currently earn one Nectar point per £1 spent at Sainsbury's – this was cut from two points per £1 spent in April this year, see the Nectar points cut in half and points for bag reuse scrapped MSE News story for more info on this.

When redeemed in store at Sainsbury's, each Nectar point is worth 0.5p – so 1,000 points equates to £5. But you can often get more for your points by exchanging them via the Nectar online store to spend on days out, entertainment and restaurants.

See our Loyalty Points Boosting guide for more on Nectar, as well as information on the Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage and Morrisons Match & More loyalty schemes.

How does the Nectar double-up event work?

Between today and 24 November, you can exchange Nectar points for a double up voucher once you've earned 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000 points. If you have more points than this, the excess will remain on your card.

Until 24 November, each 1,000 points is worth £10 in vouchers – double their usual value of £5 – when exchanged at Sainsbury's stores. The maximum amount of points you can claim per category is 4,000, getting you a £40 voucher.

What can I exchange points on?

You can exchange points in the following seven categories:

  • Electricals
  • Entertainment
  • Homeware
  • Seasonal goods
  • Taste the Difference: Wine, Champagne, Sparkling, Sherry and Port
  • Toys
  • Tu Clothing (including footwear and accessories)

Double-up vouchers can also be used in conjunction with other offers. For example, Sainsbury's has confirmed that Lego Duplo is currently two for £20, so you could buy the Lego Duplo Fire Boat and Lego Duplo Creative Animals for 2,000 points - the equivalent of £10.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Prosecco 20cl is currently two for £5, so could buy four of the mini bottles for 1,000 points - the equivalent of £5. (Please be Drinkaware.)

Where can I exchange points?

You can only exchange Nectar points for double-up vouchers in stores at the customer service desk or at designated tills. You can't exchange points in Sainsbury's Locals, at Sainsbury's petrol stations, or online.

To exchange points you must pick an allocated category to spend on, and you will need to bring your Nectar card.

Where can I spend vouchers?

Double-up vouchers can only be spent in stores, so Sainsbury's Locals and petrol stations are excluded.

You can only spend vouchers in the categories you originally swapped them for. Vouchers are non-refundable and non-transferable, so make sure you will definitely spend in that category before making the swap.

You can't earn Nectar points on the double-up purchase.

How many vouchers can I get?

You can get one voucher up to a maximum of £40 per department, per Nectar card.

What happens if I lose my voucher?

Vouchers are non-refundable, so if you lose a voucher there's no way to recover your points. Keep them safe!

Sainsbury's shoppers can double Nectar points from today in time for Christmas
Sainsbury's shoppers can double Nectar points from today in time for Christmas

Can I buy something worth more than I have in vouchers?

Yes. If your item is worth more than the value of your voucher, you can pay the remaining total in cash, by credit or debit card.

Alternatively, you can use any Nectar points you have remaining on your card at the rate of £5 equals 1,000 points to pay the difference. You must have a minimum of £2.50 worth of points before you can spend them.

Can I get change from double-up vouchers?

  • If the difference in price between your voucher and what you want to buy is more than 50p: You'll have to buy other items from your selected category in order for the full value of the Nectar voucher to be spent in one transaction.

  • If the price difference is between 6p and 50p: The balance can be spent on items outside of your chosen category, although change cannot be given.

  • If the difference is 5p or less: Sainsbury's will either knock it off your total shopping bill, or give it to you as change if you aren't buying anything else.

Exceptions to the above rules apply to stores in Crawley, Tonbridge, Tottenham and Ilford, where if the difference is more than 5p, you must buy something else from your selected category to use the voucher – you can't use the balance towards other items in your basket. If it's 5p or less you'll be given the difference as change.

What if I buy something and want to return it?

Sainsbury's says it has "streamlined" its previously complicated double-up returns policy in a bid to make things simpler for customers.

So if you change your mind about a double-up item, as long as you have proof of purchase and it's in its original condition, it can be returned or exchanged within 30 days in line with Sainsbury's usual returns policy. However, instead of the points being returned to your balance, you'll instead be given a monetary refund of the double-up amount.

For example, if you swap £5 worth of points for a £10 double-up voucher, and buy something costing £10, you'll get a cash refund of the £10.

If there is a fault with the product up to 12 months after you bought it, you can either return it and get a full refund, or exchange it. If it's faulty after 12 months, you might be able to get a replacement or partial refund.