Credit Card Review: The Nectar Card From American Express UK

May 8, 2019

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Nectar is an independent British loyalty programme owned by Sainsbury’s supermarkets. The programme partners with a number of companies — most notably eBay and BP (and, of course, Sainsbury’s) — among the 400 retailers that now participate in the scheme.

American Express provides a unique opportunity to earn Nectar points everywhere, but especially retailers where Nectar members are already earning points, allowing them to ‘double dip’. The ability to double dip comes in the form of the Nectar Credit Card from Amex UK.

Who Is This Card For?

The Nectar Card is marketed toward anyone who already collects Nectar points. It’s also good for those who regularly shops at Sainsbury’s supermarkets, BP, eBay, Argos, Debenhams, ASOS, Expedia and other retailers with which the programme partners.

Welcome Bonus and Annual Fee

You’ll earn 20,000 bonus Nectar points when you spend £2,000 on the card within three months of activating it.

There’s a low £25 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.

Representative example: 28.2% APR variable with a purchase rate of 22.9% per annum based on an assumed credit limit of £1,200.

Earning

There’s a standard 2 points per (full) £1 spent when using the card wherever American Express is accepted. Where providing your Nectar membership card/number at any of the 400 retailers participating in the programme, you’ll earn an extra Nectar point per pound spent, bringing the earn rate to an impressive 3 points per £1 .

If American Express is not accepted at any retailers in the Nectar programme, you would still earn 1 point per £1 for other payment methods. Note there are plenty of bonus earning offers in the Nectar programme (regardless of payment methods), such as 6 points per £1 spent online with ASOS or Debenhams.

Redeeming

First, the bad news. There’s no really lucrative (or terribly exciting) travel redemption options that we love here at TPG UK. But this card isn’t really designed for frequent travelers or those with their eyes on luxury redemptions. Instead, its strength and value is in both its simplicity and the wide range of practical redemption options that can used every week — or even every day.

You can obtain a simple 0.5p per Nectar point value by redeeming your Nectar points with dozens of Nectar partners to reduce your supermarket bill, or even your daily coffee at Caffe Nero or a Pizza at Pizza Express. Sure, this card won’t get you a first-class flight to New York, but there are so many other redemption partners that you shouldn’t have any difficulty for using your Nectar points.

Based on the redemption rates, the welcome bonus is worth £100.

Perks

This card doesn’t come with the sort of travel insurance or protection other, more expensive American Express cards feature, as it’s designed for customers who do the majority of their spending in the UK. But it does come with:

  • Refund protection for eligible items for 90 days up to £200, where the retailer you bought the items from won’t refund
  • Purchase protection for eligible items stolen or damaged, up to £2,500 per item.

Keep in mind that some of these benefits, such as the insurances, are subject to enrollment.

Which Cards Compete With This Card?

As Nectar is a unique loyalty programme, there are no real other cards that directly compete with this card. However, if you prefer to shop at Tesco rather than Sainsbury’s, then there are a range of Tesco credit cards available, namely the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard, which earns Tesco points that can be converted to airline loyalty points as well as vouchers to reduce the cost of your Tesco supermarket shopping bill.

While the Tesco Mastercard may be accepted where American Express is not, its earning structure is only lucrative for larger purchases and the redemption structure more complicated than Nectar. In simple terms to compare the two, if you have a strong preference to shop at either Tesco (Clubcard) or Sainsbury’s (Nectar), then pick that supermarket’s loyalty programme and associated card.

Bottom Line

This card is designed for anyone who is a regular supermarket shopper (i.e. large families), especially those who choose Sainsbury’s for their weekly shop.

This card does have a fairly generous welcome bonus, low fees, uncomplicated earning structure and wide range of earning and redemption partners but is not as (potentially) lucrative as some of the higher-end American Express cards that focus on travel rewards.

You can apply for this card here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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