'I collected almost £7,000 in Nectar points in four years'
A dad of four has amassed almost £7,000 worth of Nectar points in the past four years – and is now hoping to use them to buy a family holiday to Florida.
MoneySaver Martin Duckhouse, from Walsall in the West Midlands, has collected a grand total of 1,366,958 Nectar points since 2014 – worth £6,834. And he says he's managed to build up the massive points stash thanks in part to tips he's found on MoneySavingExpert.com.
As well as collecting points on his shopping, Martin boosts his total by getting points whenever he tops up on fuel while working in his job as an HGV driver. He also tries to do as much of his spending as possible on a Nectar American Express credit card – and is now hoping to hit two million Nectar points before the start of 2020.
Remember, while loyalty point schemes are a great bonus if you already shop somewhere, never choose where you shop due to them. Don't think 'points are better than cash' – you can't spend them in nearly as many places. But if you can collect points when you spend where you were going to anyway, treat them as a welcome bonus.
For full help on how to get the most out of Nectar and other loyalty schemes, see our Loyalty Points Boosting guide.
How has Martin collected so many points?
Martin originally tweeted MoneySavingExpert.com last week to let us know about his big points haul, and says there are several elements to his success:
- He gets points every time he buys fuel as an HGV driver. While Nectar's best known as a loyalty scheme at Sainsbury's, you can also collect points when spending at BP garages, as well as a host of other retailers.
Martin says a full tank of fuel can cost him up to £750, and he often refuels the HGV he drives every two or three days, so he's been able to really rack up the points this way.
- He uses his Nectar American Express credit card whenever possible. You get 20,000 bonus points with the card once a minimum of £2,000 has been spent and charged to the card within three months of opening it.
After this, you can earn two Nectar points (worth 1p) per £1 spent on the card (in addition to the usual Nectar points you can earn for shopping at Sainsbury's and other retailers), though there's a £25 annual fee after the first year.
We feature the card in our Credit Card Rewards guide, though it's not our top pick and there are better options for some. See the guide for full info and pros and cons.
Martin said: "We purchase everything via credit card but make sure all are paid off at the end of the month in full. I use Amex for everything possible – and if they don't accept it then I use my Virgin credit card and get the Airmiles."
- He always looks out for offers which can boost his points. Nectar regularly runs special offers which allow you to boost your points.
Some require a spend (for example, 100 bonus points on your next shop at Sainsbury's), but occasionally you can find an offer for bonus points without any spend required – you just have to log in to the Nectar website or app and load the offer onto your card.
Martin's impressive Nectar points haul
'With Nectar, you name it, we do it'
Martin is hoping to use his Nectar points to pay for a family holiday to Florida in 2020. He had been planning to spend the points on the travel booking site Expedia, though after recently learning that Expedia and Nectar are cutting their ties in mid-December, he's looking at other options and waiting to see if Nectar acquires any new travel partners.
Speaking about how he's amassed so many points in just four years, he told MSE: "With Nectar, you name it, we do it. There's loads of offers about if you look closely.
He added: "I also use cashback sites too. I prefer Topcashback and trade cash back in for Avios to go towards flights. I've traded in points for a holiday to the Bahamas before."
Martin aboard a flight
How else can you boost your Nectar points?
We have a whole guide on Loyalty Points Boosting – it includes tips on maxing the value of Nectar, Tesco Clubcard and more. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Boost Nectar points' value via the website. Usually when spent in-store at Sainsbury's, each Nectar point is worth 0.5p (so 500 points equals £2.50 off shopping). Yet if you redeem points through the Nectar website you can get a slight boost. This used to be up to 2x or even 3x the value, though when we last checked we couldn't find any deals higher than 1.5x. For example, at Pizza Express with 500 points you can get £3.75 off.
- Virgin Trains or LNER customer? Collect points on tickets. You can earn two points per £1 spent on tickets (standard and first class), booking via the website or app of Virgin Trains for a west coast line journey, or LNER (formerly Virgin Trains East Coast) for east coast. To be eligible for the points, at least part of your journey must be on one of the lines.
- Answer online survey questions for Nectar points. You can earn extra points for completing surveys via Nectar Canvass – up to 120 points a pop. Once you've registered and done the welcome survey, you'll be entered into a competition for a chance to win 10,000 Nectar points. You'll get an email when there's a new survey to complete.
Beware of the risks of saving with a loyalty scheme
While Martin's haul is certainly impressive, it's worth noting that there are some risks associated with saving points with a loyalty scheme.
For example, if you were to lose your card, someone could spend your points by using it. If you do lose your card, report it immediately to the Nectar Helpline on 0344 811 0811.
Nectar's T&Cs also warn that points would be lost if the Nectar programme were to end.
It's also worth noting that partners do change from time to time – in this case for example, Expedia have recently announced they will stop partnering with Nectar. This means that sometimes you may not be able to spend points on something on you were saving towards.