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 is a great card for frequent John Lewis and Waitrose shoppers, earning solid 1% rewards on in-store shopping and 0.5% elsewhere. Double-point promotions give shoppers the chance to earn 2X rewards in John Lewis throughout the year. Those who enjoy shopping with a pile of John Lewis/Waitrose vouchers in hand may extract both financial and intangible value from this card. Those whose shopping is largely spread across other retailers may find more value in the Platinum Cashback Card by American Express, which rewards 1% to 1.25% on all purchases.

The Partnership Card Review

The Partnership Card offers loyal Waitrose and John Lewis shoppers solid rewards on their in-store shopping, and still decent rewards on purchases made elsewhere. Cardholders can expect returns of 1% on their regular Waitrose and John Lewis shopping, with the potential to earn 2% on John Lewis shopping during "double point" promotional periods. Purchases outside of these stores earn a return of 0.5%, which is not bad but may be beaten by another card, like the Platinum Cashback Card by American Express.

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

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. So even though this card may return a bit less on out-of-store spending than some other 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.

Bottom Line: Loyal Waitrose and John Lewis customers can get solid value out of the Partnership Card. Those looking to maximize their financial rewards may want another card for their other out-of-store spending.

The Partnership Card Benefits & Features

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

Throughout the year, the Partnership Card runs a promotion 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.

The Partnership Card Features
Earning Partnership Card Rewards
  • Earn 1%+ on John Lewis/Waitrose spend
  • Earn 0.5% elsewhere
Welcome BonusReceive a £30 voucher when you spend £250 in the first 90 days.
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

The maximum number of points you can earn in any calendar year is 100,000, which would be achieved by double-points John Lewis spend of £50,000, regular John Lewis/Waitrose spend of £100,000, or regular spend of £200,000.

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

Before deciding if the Partnership Card is right for you, it's helpful to have an understanding of the pound value of potential rewards. In the table below, we've done the math for a selection of annual spending amounts. Remember, these rewards will be realized by paying off the full balance every month, or else the interest charges will more than wipe out any potential rewards. Please use this information to gain an understanding of how the potential rewards change with spending levels.

Estimated Annual Rewards: The Partnership Card

Annual General SpendAnnual John Lewis/Waitrose Spend
£1,000£5,000£10,000
£5,000£70£150£250
£10,000£120£200£300
£20,000£220£300£400
chart showing Potential Partnership Card Rewards Based on Spending
Potential Partnership Card Rewards Based on Spending

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 and cashback 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. 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. Cardholders need to spend £2,500 a year on the card just to offset the £25 annual fee, and there is a minimum spend requirement of £3,000 a year to receive cashback rewards.

Quick Takeaway: The Partnership Card offers solid rewards on John Lewis and Waitrose spending. If you're looking for a card for significant amounts of spending beyond John Lewis and Waitrose, 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 little shopping spree may prefer the Partnership Card—plus you'll find you can use the Partnership more often than an Amex, which isn't accepted everywhere. It all depends on what you're looking for in a rewards card.

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 20,000 Nectar point welcome bonus. Those happy to actively manage a rewards program can possibly eek out higher value from their Nectar Points. 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 cover the annual fee.

Quick Takeaway: The Nectar Card by America Express earns double the rewards on general spending. 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.

Comments and Questions

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.