A simple guide to Travel Hacking with your Nectar Card 


Travel HAcking with your Nectar Card

We all know that travel hacking in the US is big business and many travel hacking experts are reaping the rewards. They’re spending money wisely, using the right credit cards or loyalty cards in all the right places and benefiting from discounted travel and free upgrades.

But travel hacking in the UK doesn’t seem to be as simple. And if you’re anything like me, you’re completely confused by it all.

I’ve read so many guides to travel hacking, such as this Beginner’s Guide by The Points Guy, and my mind becomes a jumble of interest rates and balance transfers. Travel hacking is complicated! But then you get the other end of the travel hacking guides like these 30 Must-Know Travel Hacks with completely obvious, unachievable or totally unhelpful tips. How is keeping your batteries in the fridge really going to help you travel more!?

My other problem with serious travel hacking guides is that they presume you spend a lot of money. I’m an average 27 year old with low expenses and I can easily get by each month without spending much money, so I don’t benefit from the rewards of certain credit cards.

I’m also a little worried about signing up to multiple credit cards and, in all honesty, I don’t want to spend my evenings researching the credit cards with the best interest rates and spending my time applying online. This probably sounds lazy but surely I’m not alone!?

So today I wanted to tell you about a really simple way of travel hacking.

You don’t need to start spending x-amount a month, you don’t need to sign up to credit cards with scary interest rates and you won’t have a million different cards for a million different stores.

This is travel hacking with your Nectar Card. It’s like travel hacking for beginners. 

If you live in the UK you probably will have come across the Nectar Card before.

It’s a point collection card well known for being connected to Sainsbury’s, eBay and Homebase. I find most places that take the Nectar Card will ask if you have one when you come to pay so make sure you always have it in your purse or wallet. You can also collect points online with over 500 brands and, thankfully, they’re everyday brands you’ll actually use. Shops like Argos, ASOS, BT, Currys and PC World, Domino’s, Homebase, Just Eat, Lastminute, River Island, Sky, Topshop. The list goes on and on but they really are your usual online shops.

Collecting Points with your Nectar Card

Different brands give you a different number of points for every pound you spend but it’s mostly 2 points for every £1. There are also special offers where you’ll get extra points with certain shops over a certain period. It’s worth checking before shopping online to see if there’s anything you can make use of.

Here are some ways I collect points with my Nectar card. I get all of my fuel at Sainsbury’s and I catch a Virgin train to London for £80 at least once a week so my points are adding up without me spending any extra money.

Sainsbury’s petrol stations 1 point for every litre of fuel
Virgin Trains 2 points for every £1
Topshop 2 points for every £1
Sainsbury’s 2 points for every £1
Toys R Us and Babies R Us 2 points for every £1


Top Tip #1: The main tip I can give when collecting points is to not be tempted to buy things you don’t need purely to collect points.

Top Tip #2: Make sure you have as many people as possible using the one Nectar Card. You can get a couple of cards per account to help see bigger results.

Admittedly, I’m not collecting hundreds of thousands of points but over a year I have enough points to buy me a flight or at least cover a large chunk of a holiday. And, most importantly, that’s without adapting my spending habits at all.

Spending your Nectar Card points on travel

And now for the fun part!

easyJet flights are the best place to spend your Nectar Card points. Every 500 points is worth £2.50 off your booking, and you can top up the rest with a credit or debit card.

I’m about to reach the 10,000 points mark so I’ve been looking at a few ways I’d like to spend my points.

It’s time for the cheap flights game. Please tell me I’m not the only one who procrastinates by looking at flights!

Do you have any tips for travel hacking in the UK?

This post was brought to you in partnership with Nectar. As you can see, I am a Nectar Card user and would never endorse a brand I don’t personally use. 

  1. Stacey 7 years ago

    This was an interesting read. I have a Nectar card but I never think to use it at places like TopShop or ASOS (or anywhere except Sainsburys really!). I think the main problem with this loyalty program is that you only earn points if you go via the Nectar card website first – for example, I can’t use my Nectar card in a TopShop store or if I go to the TopShop website directly. I need to visit the Nectar eshops website and make my purchase through there, and I just never remember to do that.

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Yea, I totally agree. It does make it a bit more difficult and a little confusing. It’s worth it for the online stores you use regularly and start to remember to go through the Nectar site but for new stores it’s easy to forget. You don’t need to go through the nectar site with Virgin trains so hopefully they’ll all start to change eventually.

  2. Sarah Shumate 7 years ago

    We do almost all of our grocery shopping at Sainsbury’s, so I’ve got a Nectar card, but I didn’t realize you could earn points on it from other places, or that you could use your points for anything other than cashing in on groceries! I’ve been saving mine up since we moved here, so I’m bound to have quite a few!

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      I bet you have loads without even realising it. I was surprised when I checked mine recently and had way more than I thought.

  3. Emma 7 years ago

    This is great! I’m from the UK and I’ve never really thought about using my Nectar Card for travel. I slowly collect points, and might use them every now again to buy more food. Spending them on EasyJet flights sounds much more fun 🙂

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Definitely much more fun to save them for travel. It takes a bit longer but it’s worth it!

  4. Lizzy 7 years ago

    Always keeping the extra points receipts is also a good way to clock up the nectar points. You get them quite a lot when shopping in the big Sainsbury’s supermarkets. Also looking out for products you usually buy and getting them when they have offers on like 500 extra nectar points when you purchase the item is great. Also another big tip- if you forget your nectar card when you’ve shopped at Sainsbury’s, make sure to keep the receipt and within the next 2 weeks, take your nectar card to a store with your receipt and they will put on the points for you. Info overload but I used to work in a Sainsbury’s local!

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Thanks Lizzy – always good to have a bit of insider’s knowledge! My purse is full of those extra points receipts – I really need to use them more often!

  5. Steph Rogers 7 years ago

    This is a really useful post! I think I’ve lost my nectar card so I’ll have to reapply for one but thanks for the great tips!

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Hopefully you’ll be able to get a new one but keep all your old points. If you’d registered it online I think you can.

  6. I had no idea you could spend Nectar points with easyJet – I get them from Sainsbury’s, eBay and petrol sometimes but usually find myself spending them on bread and milk. Flights would be much more fun. Must check the site out properly!

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Food or flights? Food or flights? It’s got to be flights hasn’t it!

  7. Polly 7 years ago

    I do the same with my tesco clubcard. You can set the vouchers to be automatically converted to your airmiles points and in no time you have free flights. Especially if you have a house full of hungry kids like me!

    • Tesco is so much better for the frequent flyer. Nectar is worth the same whether you use it for flights or shopping. £25 off shopping or £25 off flights it’s still the same, but Tesco gives you more if you convert your points to BA Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles.

      Nectar is actually one of the least generous of the schemes around. They make up for it slightly with the number of partners but it really does take ages to earn anything of use.

      On the other hand I’ve used my Avios to fly BA business class a few times already.

      • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

        A few people have mentioned on Twitter about the Tesco scheme. It sounds like a really good once and I guess it comes down to personal preference and convenience. I’ve always lived closer to a Sainsbury’s and even if I could get more points at Tesco, I wouldn’t spend an extra 10 minutes driving there (or sitting in traffic to get there which is the case in London!) for the extra points.

  8. Cinnamon 7 years ago

    What about for ppl in the US what can I used that is similar to this?

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Any suggestions from US readers? Sorry Cinnamon, as I’m based in the UK I’m not sure what’s on offer in the US.

  9. Emme 7 years ago

    I never thought about using a nectar card, recently I’m using the Tesco club card but i don’t really spend as much now. I feel that i am not actually benefiting from it

  10. Emme 7 years ago

    This is the most straight- forward and uncomplicated guide to a travel hacking card ever , thanks . I currently use tesco clubcard i may start using sainsburys more often.

  11. Emmalene 6 years ago

    What a simple idea..and one I’ve never thought of! I’ve probably got hundreds of points on my Nectar and Tesco cards that I’ve never converted! *goes off to check easyjet website…


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