The Nectar Credit Card by American Express is arguably the best rewards card for accumulating Nectar points. The across-the-board 1% rewards rate on all categories make it a good card to use for all of your general spending and further value is found in the 20,000 Nectar point welcome bonus, which we value at around £100—but the card isn't right for everyone. Read our review to decide if it's a good card for you.
Nectar Credit Card by American Express Review
The Nectar Credit Card delivers a solid overall rewards rate, with cardholders able to earn around 1% across all categories of spending (except warehouse spending earns 0.5%)—this makes the Amex card 10X more rewarding than the competing Sainsbury's Nectar card on general spending (Sainsbury's card delivers 1% on Sainsbury's spend, but only .1% on other general spending).
Rewards are earned in the form of Nectar points when you make purchases with the card. Technically, you'll earn 2 Nectar points for every £1 spent—these are in addition to the Nectar points you earn on purchases at Nectar partners as part of the Nectar loyalty program. As Nectar points are worth approximately 0.5 pence each, the rewards rate is an extra 1% (2 points/£1 * £0.005/point = 1%) of your card purchases.
You can earn 3 points per £1 spent at Nectar partners when paying with the Amex Nectar card and using a loyalty card, making the effective rewards 1.5% at Nectar partners. There's also a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Nectar points is valued at £100—to earn this, spend at leat £2,000 in the first 3 months of card ownership.
The Nectar card carries a £25 annual fee, which is waived the first year. In ongoing years, you need to spend £2,500 to earn enough rewards to pay for the annual fee. The following table shows card rewards rates and annual fees two Nectar-earning credit cards: the Nectar Credit Card and the Sainsbury's Purchase Card.
|Amex Nectar card vs. Sainsbury's Purchase card||Nectar Partner Effective Rate||Grocery Reward Rate||General Spending Reward Rate|
|Nectar Credit Card (£25/year)||1.5%||1%||1%|
|Sainsbury's Purchase Card||1.5%||1%||0.1%|
As the APR is higher than average, cardholders should be particularly careful about paying their full balance each month. If you carry a balance and pay interest charges, these will just eat away at any rewards you have earned.
The Nectar Card Benefits & Features
|Nectar Amex Card Features|
|Welcome Bonus||20,000 Nectar points when you spend £2,000 in the first three months|
|Earning Nectar Rewards|
|Annual Fee||£25 annual fee (£0 first year)|
|Representative APR||28.2% APR variable (22.9% on purchases)|
Potential Value of Nectar Rewards
How valuable is the Nectar Credit Card? As with all credit card points rewards systems, it depends on how good you are at managing and redeeming your points, and how much you spend. First, let's assume that a Nectar point is worth 0.5 pence. The following table shows the value of different amounts of Nectar points:
|How much are Nectar points worth?|
|1 Nectar point||0.5p|
|10 Nectar points||5p|
|100 Nectar points||£0.50|
|1,000 Nectar points||£5|
|10,000 Nectar points||£50|
On the Amex Nectar card, you earn 2 Nectar points for every £1 spent. So the more you spend the more you earn. Below we show the estimated value of rewards by level of general spending on the card, for both year 1 (when the annual fee is waived and you can earn a 20,000 point welcome bonus) and in subsequent years.
|How Much Can You Earn on the Amex Nectar Card? (by annual spending)||Year 2 Rewards (includes annual fee)||Year 1 Rewards|
Bottom Line: The Nectar Credit Card by American Express delivers an expected 1% rewards rate on all spending where Amex is accepted, except warehouse retailers. The Nectar card is the most valuable during the first year when the £25 annual fee is waived and you can earn a 20,000 Nectar point welcome bonus.
Other Nectar Card Features
The Nectar Credit Card gives cardholders access to American Express’s Global Assist program. If all goes well, you will never need it! But in case of trouble while abroad, Global Assist provides access to an English-speaking doctor or lawyer, 24 hours a day. They can also put you in touch with an embassy or consulate, if necessary; or provide local medical assistance by arranging hospitalization, finding a specialist, or delivering hard-to-find supplies (e.g., contact lenses or prescriptions).
Purchase Protection is another perk of the Nectar Purchase card that you will hopefully never need. If anything you buy on your card is damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase, American Express will repair it, replace it, or refund you (up to £2,500 per item). This affords a level of protection especially to larger purchases.
American Express Invites
American Express Invites gives you access to presale tickets and reserved tickets to events such as the National Theatre or Justin Bieber, before they go on general sale.
How do Nectar Points Work?
Nectar Points can be earned by shopping at around 50 participating retailers, such as Sainsbury’s, Pizza Express, BP, British Gas, Argos and others. For a complete list see the Nectar website. Nectar points can also be earned by using the Nectar Credit Card or perhaps the Sainsbury’s purchase card. Nectar points are usually worth £0.05, but you may find even more value through Double Up vouchers or other offers from Nectar.
Nectar points are earned on the Nectar Credit Card at a rate of 2 Nectar points/£1 spent (or 1 Nectar point/£1 at warehouse stores). Doing the math, given a Nectar point's £0.05 value, you earn 1% on general spending and 0.5% at warehouse retailers.
Nectar points can be redeemed:
- in store by swiping your Nectar card at the till, with retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Argos and BP
- online with evouchers via the Nectar online store, with retailers such as Eurostar, PizzaExpress and Hertz (for a more complete list, see Nectar’s official list).
Please note that you must have shopped and earned Nectar points at a particular Sainsbury’s store before you can redeem any Nectar points there. This seemingly minor condition can really catch people out. Imagine the case where you normally shop at your local Sainsbury’s but—come time to redeem your accumulated Nectar points—you drive to a larger Sainsbury’s store that has Homeware and Toys sections. When you get to the till, you may find that your Nectar points are not working if you haven’t used your Nectar card at that store in the past 12 months. Be sure you’ve shopped at a particular Sainsbury’s store before (in past 12 months) if you want to redeem Nectar points there.
Pro tip: Also, be aware that Nectar points do not expire, but if you don’t earn or redeem any Nectar points in a rolling 12-month period, then your Nectar account may be closed and all Nectar points lost.
How Does the Nectar Credit Card by American Express Compare Against Other Credit Cards?
To better understand the value of the Nectar Credit Card you need to look at it in the context of other available options. We’ve compared this card to other grocery rewards and cashback cards so you can see which has more earning potential for you.
Nectar Credit Card vs Sainsbury’s Purchase Credit Card
The Sainsbury’s Purchase Credit Card is a solid rewards card for Sainsbury’s shopping. The rewards on all other purchases are weak, making it a poor choice for your general spending however. The Sainsbury's card does offer a period of 0% interest on new purchases, which changes in duration but can be useful for those not paying off their full balance right away.
Quick Takeway: Both cards will help you earn Nectar points. If you have a strong credit history and are happy to have an American Express card, the Nectar Credit Card should deliver higher rewards on general spending. But if you want a card you can use everywhere and do a lot of Sainsbury's shopping that card might be the better option.
Nectar Credit Card vs Platinum Cashback Credit Card
The Platinum Cashback card by Amex is one of NimbleFins’ favourite rewards cards. Cardholders earn solid ongoing cashback between 1% and 1.25% on all purchases, depending on how much you spend. The rewards system is easy to manage—statement credits appear automatically every year to reduce your account balance. One drawback is that rewards are distributed at the end of every year you hold the card, instead of being available as you earn them throughout the year. As an added bonus, cardholders earn 5% on purchases in the first three months, up to £125 of rewards. Keep in mind that you must spend £3,000 a year in order to receive any cashback rewards.
Quick Takeway: These two cards are actually quite similar in terms of the value of their rewards, although it depends how you use your Nectar points. Both cards charge an annual fee of £25 and offer quite similar ongoing rewards rates of 1% for the Nectar and 1% to 1.25% for the Platinum Cashback. Both cards offer a similar welcome bonus also—the Nectar Card's is worth £100 and the Platinum Cashback's is worth up to £125. For this comparison, the best card for you may come down to how you prefer your rewards—as Nectar points that you can spend at Nectar partners or statement credits to reduce your credit card balance once a year?