What are the differences between Tesco Clubcard points and Sainsbury’s Nectar points?

Feb 3, 2021

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.

Two of the biggest supermarket chains in the U.K., Tesco and Sainsbury’s, both have their own loyalty programmes. Tesco has Clubcard, while Sainsbury’s is a key player in the wider Nectar programme — in fact, Sainsbury’s bought the Nectar programme in 2018.

While we focus on maximising your travel through airline and hotel loyalty programmes, these two shopping programmes can provide great travel rewards as well, especially if you are regularly shopping at either of these supermarket chains.

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First, their similarities. You’ll earn both one Clubcard point per £1 spent at Tesco and 1 Nectar point per £1 spent at Sainsbury’s. Both programmes are also free to join.

You have the opportunity to earn plenty of bonus points in both programmes, too. With Tesco, there are set bonus offers for spending with partners like Tesco Mobile, Tesco Bank and Tesco credit cards. In the Nectar programme, there are also partners beyond Sainsbury’s at which you can collect Nectar points, including Sainsbury’s Bank, Argos, Sainsbury’s Energy, Esso, Expedia and eBay.

Nectar is unique, too, in that it offers targeted earning promotions for members. By downloading the Nectar app and linking your accounts, you could take advantage of bonus earning structures on specific products at Sainsbury’s. For example, members have been known to receive bonus Nectar points for produce purchases at Sainsbury’s — think 30 Nectar points for buying blackberries at Sainsbury’s. Additionally, through 19 April, you’ll get 2x Nectar points at Sainsbury’s.

But the programmes are also very different, particularly in how valuable the points are and how you should use them.

The most obvious difference, which you might have already guessed is that the programmes are completely separate and there is no way to combine points between the programmes. You cannot earn Nectar points at Tesco and you can’t earn Clubcard points at Sainsbury’s.

Though earn rates are the same at the respective supermarkets — 1 point per pound spent — you can redeem them in different ways. At Tesco, 150 Clubcard points give you a £1.50 Tesco voucher (so effectively a 1p value per Clubcard point).

At Sainsbury’s 500 Nectar points will give you a £2.50 Sainsbury’s voucher, meaning the points are only worth 0.5p each. This means that for supermarket bill discounts, Clubcard points are worth twice as much as Nectar points. That being said, Nectar points are much easier to accrue, given the plentiful earning promotions you can take advantage of, as well as the other retailers that are part of the programme, such as Argos, eBay and Esso, among others.

Now, 1% back isn’t all that exciting, especially if you are reading this to maximise your travel. But there are ways to use your supermarket points for travel rather than supermarket discounts. With Tesco, that’s a partnership with the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Thanks to a new partnership between Nectar and Avios, Nectar points have suddenly become more valuable.

Related: A lucrative new partnership: You can now convert your Nectar points to Avios for free flights

Here’s how the two currencies convert to miles:

  • Tesco Clubcard — £2.50 worth of Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be exchanged for 625 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles. We currently value Flying Club miles slightly higher than Avios, so you’ll be looking at around £8 worth — more than triple the value of just receiving £2.50 discount at Tesco.
  • Nectar — 400 Nectar points can be transferred to your Executive Club account to become 250 Avios. (You can transfer in the opposite direction as well, where 250 Avios become 400 Nectar points.) You’ll get around £3 worth of Avios from that transfer, or “buying” Avios for a cost of 0.8p apiece, which isn’t necessarily a bad deal. The first time you convert 1,600 Nectar points to Avios, you’ll receive a one-time bonus of 500 Avios.

Related: When does it make sense to transfer Avios to Nectar?

Bottom line

Whether you are doing your grocery shopping or buying petrol with Sainbury’s or Tesco, there are ways to be earning points to give you added value. Regardless of where you’re shopping, be sure that you’re a member of each programme in order to rack up points along the way.

Additional reporting by Emily McNutt.

Featured image by FangXiaNuo/Getty Images

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