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Nectar (loyalty card)

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Nectar 360 Limited
Company typeLimited company
Founded2002; 22 years ago (2002)
Headquarters33 Holborn, London
Key people
James Moir, managing director
ProductsLoyalty scheme
OwnerJ Sainsbury plc (2018-present)

Nectar is a loyalty card scheme in the United Kingdom run by Nectar 360 Ltd, a company wholly owned by Sainsbury's. The scheme is the largest in the United Kingdom, and comprises a number of partner companies including Sainsbury's, Esso, eBay and British Airways. It launched in 2002 with initially four partner companies, and by 2010 had grown to include over 14 companies and over 400 online retailers. Participating companies cover sectors including travel, retail, finance and newspapers.

The scheme was established by Loyalty Management Group, replacing the existing schemes of three of the four launch companies. Nectar was purchased by the Canadian Groupe Aeroplan (now Aimia) in 2007,[1] and purchased by Sainsbury's in 2018.[2]


The Nectar scheme was launched in 2002, merging the existing loyalty programmes of Sainsbury's, BP and Barclaycard; and including Debenhams, which did not have an existing scheme. It was run by Loyalty Management Group, then chaired by Sir Keith Mills, the founder of Air Miles.[3] Robert Gierkink, who previously played a key role in the founding and launches of Air Miles Canada and Air Miles Netherlands, was founding CEO. The co-founding senior executive team and management shareholders of Nectar – Loyalty Management UK Ltd. further consisted of five Vice Presidents: Todd Almeida (previously Air Miles Netherlands), Martin Briggs, Peter Buis, Steve Lobb (previously Fly Buys New Zealand ) and Alex Moorhead (previously Air Miles Canada). Additional co-founding management included Koos Berkhout and Jan Pieter Lips, both of whom previously worked for Air Miles Netherlands.

At the time of launch, Nectar confirmed it would be open to more companies to join, excluding rivals of existing members.[4] In December 2007, Loyalty Management Group was purchased by the Canadian Aeroplan, for £368 million.[1] Aeroplan later re-branded itself to Aimia.

By 2010, Nectar claimed that 16.8 million people were part of the scheme, and that it had 14 member companies and over 400 online retailers.[5]

In August 2017, Nectar announced it was partnering with the Daily Mail newspaper. This association upset many customers, who cancelled their accounts and posted photos of their cut-up loyalty cards online.[6] The company responded, "we know that not all of you will support every partner."[7]

On 1 February 2018 J Sainsbury plc announced that it had purchased the Nectar business from Aimia for £60 million.[2]

Sainsbury's began a localised trial with a new Nectar points-earning scheme for stores on the Isle of Wight in April 2018, in which the standard earning rate of one point for each pound spent was replaced by points on specific items plus points based on how frequently and how long a member has been shopping with Sainsbury's.[8]

The trial completed in October 2019, and a redesigned logo and app was launched, with the provision of a digital card on the app to scan.


Cardholders receive points on purchases made at participating retailers both instore and online, generally beginning at one point per whole pound spent. Points for fuel at Esso and Sainsbury's are awarded for each litre purchased. Extra points may be earned when buying certain products or during particular promotions. A number of other online retailers award points when purchases are made on their websites accessed through the main Nectar website.

Nectar receives a payment from each retailer for each point paid to a customer. It then reimburses the retailer when the points are redeemed.


A number of retailers allow cardholders to redeem points in store for money off their shopping, including Argos and Sainsbury's.[9] Points are typically be redeemed in batches of 500, with each point being worth 0.5p.[10]

Points can also be redeemed with a number of partners through avouchers, including Eurostar,[11] eBay, and Caffè Nero. Points are lost if a Nectar account is closed. For example, an account may be closed if no points have been earned or redeemed for a continuous period of 12 months.[12] As Nectar points do not normally "expire", it is possible for cardholders to save towards more expensive rewards, such as train tickets and holidays.

Participating companies[edit]


Points can also be collected for purchases from a number of retailers via the Nectar online store, including:


International schemes[edit]

Aimia launched Nectar in Italy in 2010, with retailers including Auchan and Unieuro.[19] The Italian scheme ended in February 2016.[20]

A separate scheme is operated by Cencosud in Chile through a licensing agreement with Aimia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Litterick, David (4 December 2007). "Aeroplan snaps up Nectar for £368m". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b Editorial, Reuters (February 2018). "UK's Sainsbury's buys Nectar from Aimia for 60 million sterling". Reuters. {{cite news}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  3. ^ "UK to get 'biggest' loyalty card scheme". BBC News. 5 June 2002. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Nectar hopes to keep customers sweet". Working Lunch. 5 June 2002. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  5. ^ Thomas, Joe (8 February 2010). "Sainsbury's claims biggest UK loyalty scheme with Nectar". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  6. ^ Hughes, Thomas (16 August 2017). "Nectar loses huge numbers of customers after announcing partnership deal with the Daily Mail". Evolve Politics. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Nectar – Our response to questions around the Daily Mail partnership". www.nectar.com. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  8. ^ Jahshan, Elias (5 April 2018). "Sainsbury's to trial of complete Nectar revamp". Retail Gazette. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  9. ^ "General Reward Conditions". Nectar. Archived from the original on 2 June 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  10. ^ "Nectar points calculator - How much are your Nectar points worth". moneysavinganswers.com. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2022.
  11. ^ "Pizza Hut Restaurants x Nectar". Pizza Hut Restaurants. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Nectar Collector Rules – Collect And Spend Nectar Points on More Than 500 Brands – UK Loyalty Card – Nectar". www.nectar.com.
  13. ^ Caswell, Mark (21 January 2021). "Avios unveils new loyalty partnership with Nectar". Business Traveller. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Nectar launches into new sector with Mail Newspapers partnership". NewsWire. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Nectar".
  16. ^ "Changing the way you're rewarded". British Gas. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  17. ^ Comparison between Nectar and East Coast Rewards Save East Coast Rewards
  18. ^ "Nectar". Vision Express. Archived from the original on 26 January 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  19. ^ Creevy, Jennifer (11 February 2010). "Nectar programme launches in Italy". Retail Week. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  20. ^ "Italian Nectar program to close in February 2016". Aimia. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2017.

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