A Simple and Attractive Points Card?
I’ve just received the 20,000 Nectar Points bonus on the American Express Nectar Credit Card, so thought I’d do a quick review post.
As Amex cards go, this is a pretty simple one to understand in terms of points. This is because the value for a Nectar point is pretty much set at 0.5p, and they can be ‘spent’ at that value with Nectar partners, often straight from you Nectar card. This means, unlike Amex Membership Reward points, there are no ‘better’ or ‘worse’ redemptions, and you don’t have to transfer points between partners and research your options.
So What are the Details?
The Nectar Credit Card is free in year one, £25 per year thereafter, and can be cancelled at any point.
The APR is 28.2%, as usual with reward cards this only stacks up if you’re planning to pay your statement in full each month.
The spend bonus is 20,000 points after £2,000 spend in the first 3 months (or 21,000 points if you use my referral link).
– This is worth exactly £100 to spend at Nectar partners. Unlike Amex points, the value of points doesn’t depend on where you spend them. For example you can spend 20,000 as £100 at Sainsbury’s, eBay or other partner retailers on groceries, fuel, products…
You earn 2 points per £1 spent on the card, this can increase to 4 points per £1 spent if you use it with your Nectar card at Nectar partners (2 on the credit card, 2 on the Nectar card).
– This is worth either 1p or 2p per £1 spent. So there is a minimum 1% return.
– Points post automatically to your linked Nectar card on a monthly basis.
1% is comparable with decent cashback cards, but the spend bonus is the particularly attractive part. For the first £2,000 spent, if you use a referral link, you’re getting 25,000 points (20,000 + 1,000 referral bonus and 4,000 earned on spending). That’s £125 or 6.25% back on everything you spend up to £2,000.
How does it compare to The Sainsbury’s Nectar Mastercard?
From a rewards point of view, I think this card is significantly more attractive than the Sainsbury’s Nectar Mastercard. Whilst the Nectar Mastercard earns just 1 Nectar point per £5 spent, The American Express Nectar Credit Card offers 10 times that at an excellent 2 Nectar points for every £1 spent. Likewise the maximum bonus on the Mastercard (which is tied to spending £35+ at Sainsbury’s on 10 occasions in 2 months) is just 7,500 points vs 20,000 on the Amex.
The main areas the Mastercard looks more attractive are a) it’s likely to be accepted more widely (although see my post re: hitting spend targets) and b) the APR is lower at 20.9%. Unlike the Amex Nectar, the Mastercard also offers 0% balance transfers (3% fee) in the first 3 months. On balance, what this means is that if you’re keen to have a Nectar earning card, then the Amex is clearly better if your focus is earning rewards, whereas the Mastercard is a slightly more sensible bet if you will actually use it for any borrowing. That said, I don’t personally think the Mastercard has either a good enough rewards rate, or attractive enough borrowing terms for it to be worthwhile as either. It falls into a bit of a ‘nothingy’ grey area in between!
How do you use the Nectar points?
If you don’t currently have a Nectar card, it would be necessary to apply for one and get an account number in order to apply for the Amex Nectar and link the accounts. This is easy to do via nectar.com, and you only need the number (so don’t necessarily need to wait for you Nectar card to arrive). You then simply enter your Nectar account number on the application and once you use the card the points automatically post to your Nectar card each month (mine post on the 14th of each month). In my experience this was really straightforward, the points and bonus posted correctly each month from the start. First they appear on the Amex details, and then you see them automatically transfer on the 14th.
Nectar points can be spent at a wide range of partners (see here). In some cases, such as for eBay, you exchange your points at 0.5p per point (500 points = £2.50) for a vouchers, in others, such as Sainsbury’s, you can spend them directly from the card.
Are there any other benefits?
Unlike the Amex Gold (see here) and Platinum (see here), this is a fairly simple card with few ‘extras’. Also note that whilst this card has some ‘save to card’ offers, it tends to have fewer, and less attractive ones, than American Express’ own Membership Reward cards.
However, it does carry the Amex purchase protection (up to £2,500) and refund protection (up to £200) like the other Amex cards. I haven’t had cause to use this, but have always heard good feedback about how straightforward and ‘no-nonsense’ Amex are with claims. What this means is that if you buy something on the card and it gets damaged, stolen or a retailer refuses to refund, then you have some insurance cover. See full terms here
As a ‘points addict’, I applied for the Amex Gold card first, which is also free in year one (see here) due to the potential to get more value out of the bonus – if you use it well. However, in comparison it’s hard to go ‘wrong’ with this bonus. What you’re getting is a guaranteed £100+ for spending £2,000 on the card in 3 months, plus at least 1% back on all spending. With no annual fee in year one, and the ability to cancel at any point, as long as you’re not borrowing on the card this also doesn’t need to cost you anything.
Personally, having already recently secured the bonus on the Gold Card, I applied just to secure the points and keep up my earning rate on my spending. Of course, if you also shop regularly at Nectar partners, make the most of Nectar’s fairly regular bonus offers and wouldn’t necessarily be using points for travel, then this card may suit you better.
If you do decide to apply for any American Express card, then use our referral link here to earn bonus points and support the blog. Note that the referral link is valid for any Amex card, it will show one card, but if you scroll down you will see all cards where you can get additional points.
N.B.. Disclaimer: This is an amateur, personal blog. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances.
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