The Partnership Card: Is this the Credit Card for You?

The Partnership Card: Is this the Credit Card for You?

The Partnership card offers decent rewards rates on John Lewis and Waitrose shopping.

Good for

  • Earning solid rewards at John Lewis and Waitrose
  • Accumulating in-store vouchers
  • Earning a welcome bonus

Bad for

  • Earning higher rewards on general spending

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.

The Partnership Card can be a great card for frequent John Lewis and Waitrose shoppers, earning solid 1% rewards or more on in-store shopping and 0.5% elsewhere. Those who enjoy shopping with a stack of John Lewis/Waitrose vouchers in hand may get both financial and intangible value from this card, but for those who spend a lot out of store, a rewards card that isn't store branded might be better value. Read our review to find out more.

The Partnership Card Review

The Partnership Card offers loyal Waitrose and John Lewis shoppers solid 1%+ rewards on their in-store shopping, and still decent rewards of 0.5% on purchases made elsewhere. Those looking for higher out-of-store rewards might want to consider the Platinum Cashback Card by American Express, although that card is an Amex that you can't use at al retailers, especially smaller ones.

The Partnership Card is a Mastercard and can be used virtually everywhere—and it's one of the highest-rewarding Mastercard/Visa credit cards in the UK market.

One intangible benefit of the Partnership Card is the excitement cardholders can feel when using their rewards. There's something to be said for browsing through your local John Lewis with £50 of vouchers in your wallet. Plus the rewards are very easy to manage since vouchers are automatically sent to you—all you need to do is spend them!

So even though this card may return a bit less on out-of-store spending than some other rewards cards (e.g., airline rewards cards), it still may be the credit card of choice for your general purchases. It depends on both the financial value and the intangible value you personally will get out of the card.

How does the Partnership Card work?

The Partnership Card earns you 1 point on every £1 spent at John Lewis and Waitrose, and 1 point for every £2 spent everywhere else. Every 500 points earned on the card is worth £5 in gift vouchers that can be redeemed at John Lewis or Waitrose.

This structure translates into a rewards rate of 1% on John Lewis and Waitrose purchases and 0.5% on other out-of-store shopping.

Partnership Card RewardsPointsRewards Rates
General purchases (not John Lewis/Waitrose)1 point per £2 spent0.5%
John Lewis/Waitrose spending1 point per £1 spent1%
John Lewis "Double Point" promotions2 point per £1 spent2%
chart showing the rewards rates for different types of spending on the partnership card with John Lewis and Waitrose
Rewards rates on the Partnership Card

How Much Can You Earn on the Partnership Card?

The pound value of potential rewards will depend on how much you spend at John Lewis and Waitrose, and how much you spend elsewhere. In the table below, we've done the math for potential rewards for some sample annual spending profiles. See where your spending falls to learn how much you can earn.

We've assumed that John Lewis and Waitrose spending earns 1 point per £1 spent (1% rewards rate)—if you spend at John Lewis during a double point period you can earn even higher rewards. But remember, these rewards will only be realized by paying off the full balance every month, or else the interest charges will more than wipe out any potential rewards.

Estimated Annual Rewards: The Partnership Card£5,000 General Spend£10,000 General Spend£20,000 General Spend
JL/Waitrose Spend of £1,000£70£120£220
JL/Waitrose Spend of £5,000£150£200£300
JL/Waitrose Spend of £10,000£250£300£400
chart showing Potential Partnership Card Rewards Based on Spending
Potential Partnership Card Rewards Based on Spending

Earn John Lewis Double Points

Throughout the year, the Partnership Card runs promotions in which you can earn double points on purchases at John Lewis and John Lewis Bureau de Change. Cardholders must have their email address on record with the Partnership Card in order to be notified of these promotional periods. Earning double points means your rewards rate pops up to a 2% on eligible purchases.

Additionally, you can earn double points when you buy home, car, pet, wedding or event insurance from John Lewis.

When do you get Partnership Card vouchers?

Vouchers are sent out to cardholders three times a year, in February, June, and October—and expire in two years.

Bottom Line: Loyal Waitrose and John Lewis customers can get solid value out of the Partnership Card, earning at least 1% on in-store spending. The card's 0.5% out-of-store rewards may be beaten by some competing rewards credit cards.

The Partnership Card Benefits & Features

The Partnership Card Features
Earning Partnership Card Rewards
  • Earn 1 point/£1 spent at John Lewis/Waitrose (1% rewards rate)
  • Earn 1 point/£2 spent elsewhere (0.5% rewards rate)
  • Earn 2 points/£1 spend during double point periods at John Lewis/Waitrose (2% rewards rate)
Welcome BonusReceive a £30 voucher when you spend £250 in the first 90 days.
Earn Double PointsEarn double points during promotional periods or when you buy home, car, pet, wedding or event insurance from John Lewis.
Transaction Fees
  • 2.75% non-sterling transaction fees on foreign purchases and cash withdrawals
  • Cash withdrawal fee of 2.5% (min £2.5)
0% Purchases PromotionFor 9 months
Annual Fee£0
APR (variable)18.9% on purchases

Rewards Cap

The maximum number of points you can earn in any calendar year is 100,000—but we don't expect most people will hit this cap. To hit the rewards cap, you'd need to spend £50,000 during a double points period, £100,000 on regular John Lewis/Waitrose spend or a whopping £200,000 on out-of-store spending.

Rewards RateAnnual Spend to Hit Maximum Annual Points
Double-Points John Lewis Spend2%£50,000
Regular John Lewis/Waitrose Spend1%£100,000
Other Spend0.5%£200,000

What Purchases are Eligible for the Top 1% Rewards Rate?

Like most store-branded rewards credit cards, not all in-store purchases are eligible for the top rewards of 1 point for every £1 spent (1% rewards rate). Some in-store purchases will earn the general spending reward of 1 point for every £2 spent (0.5% rewards rate). The following tables illustrate which purchases will net you a 1% return and which will net a 0.5% return.

Earn 1% Rewards Rate on Purchases from...

  • John Lewis stores
  • johnlewis.com
  • John Lewis Foreign Currency (in store and online)
  • John Lewis Opticians
  • John Lewis Broadband
  • John Lewis Food Halls
  • John Lewis Gift List
  • John Lewis Insurance (excluding Life Insurance)
  • Waitrose stores
  • Waitrose Welcome Breaks
  • www.waitrose.com
  • www.waitroseentertaining.com
  • www.waitrosecellar.com
  • www.waitroseflowers.com
  • www.waitrosegifts.com
  • waitrosegarden.com
  • waitrosepet.com
  • Waitrose Cookery School

Earn 0.5% Rewards Rate on Purchases from In Branch Concessions & Services, such as...

  • Ham Holy Burger
  • Rossopomodoro
  • Hotel Chocolate
  • Jo & the Juice
  • Benugo
  • Comptoir Libanais
  • Clarins Spa
  • Kuoni
  • Vodafone
  • Lloyds Pharmacy
  • Boots Pharmacy
  • Johns & Kelyneck Pharmacy
  • Admiral Pharmacy
  • Hove Pharmacy
  • Post Office and Guernsey Post
  • Johnson Cleaners
  • CPV Hand Car Wash
  • Camelot Lottery
  • Laura Ashley
  • Costa Coffee
  • Thomas Cook
  • Arnolds Estate Agents
  • PhotoMe booth
  • plus Leckford Farm Shop
  • and Longstock Park Nursery

How does the Partnership Card Compare to Other Cards?

To better understand the value of the Partnership Card you need to see it relative to other available options. We compared this card to other rewards credit cards and cashback credit cards so you can decide which better suits your needs and spending patterns.

The Partnership Card vs Platinum Cashback Card by American Express

The Platinum Cashback card from American Express is one of our favourite overall rewards cards for solid, straightforward cashback. The ongoing rewards rate is between 1% and 1.25% across all categories, depending on how much you spend. There's a great 5% intro offer (up to £125 of cashback).

Cashback on the Platinum Cashback card is distributed once a year in the form of statement credits, which offers flexibility in terms of how you use your rewards—but you do need to wait a year to get your rewards. Cardholders need to spend £2,500 a year on the card just to offset the £25 annual fee after the first year, and there is a minimum spend requirement of £3,000 a year to receive cashback rewards.

Quick Takeaway: The Partnership Card is attractive because it's free and it pays solid rewards on John Lewis and Waitrose spending. If you're looking for a card to use on your general spending, however, the Platinum Cashback card is likely to create more long-term value. However, those who like the idea of heading to John Lewis with a handful of vouchers for a shopping spree may prefer the Partnership Card—plus you'll be able to use the Partnership more often because Amex isn't accepted everywhere.

The Partnership Card vs The Nectar Card by American Express

The Nectar Credit Card by American Express is a great card to use for all general spending, wherever American Express is accepted. Cardholders earn an impressive 1% across all categories and benefit from a large welcome bonus, and those who are skilled at managing their Nectar points can possibly make their rewards even more valuable. The Nectar Card's generous rewards come at a cost of £25 per year. Cardholders need to spend £2,500 a year in order to earn rewards that should cover the annual fee.

Quick Takeaway: The Amex Nectar Card earns an estimated 2X the rewards on general spending compared to the Partnership card. However the Partnership Card potentially offers higher rewards on John Lewis and Waitrose spending, especially by taking advantage of "double point" promotions at John Lewis. Those with a strong credit rating that can take multiple hard searches may want to consider getting both cards: the Partnership Card for John Lewis and Waitrose spending and the Nectar Card for other general spending. Also take into consideration if you are comfortable actively managing a Nectar rewards program, or if you'd rather just receive John Lewis/Waitrose vouchers in the post a few times a year.

Partnership Card vs Sainsbury’s Nectar Purchase Credit Card

The Sainsbury’s Nectar Purchases Credit Card offers good rewards on Sainsbury’s grocery and fuel shoppers. On top of Nectar rewards worth 0.5% on Sainsbury’s shopping earned through the Nectar loyalty program (earned regardless of the card you use to pay), using with this credit card entitles users to additional Nectar points worth another 1%, yielding an effective rewards rate on Sainsbury’s shopping of 1.5%.

However, users only earn about 0.1% on non-Sainsbury’s purchases making it far less attractive for out-of-store purchases.

Quick Takeaway: The Sainsbury's card, combined with points earned through the Nectar programme, give the Sainsbury's card an edge when it comes to in-store rewards rates. But the Partnership card out-of-store rewards are approximately 5X higher. The choice between these two cards also comes down to where you prefer to shop: Waitrose or Sainsbury's?

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the CEO, Co-founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.