Believe it or not, there was a time when I almost liked Nectar, I mean on the face of it the rewards seemed similar to Tesco. You spend, earn points that are worth around 1% of your spend and then you can use it to save money off your shopping. I liked the fact that Nectar let you accumulate points whereas Tesco sent me paper vouchers every quarter to redeem, vouchers I normally forgot about. When I started travelling I did realise airline and hotel loyalty schemes were much more generous than Nectar and I was a member of the GNER loyalty schemes (first excel and then GNERtime), but I still thought Tesco and Sainsbury's were equal on the points front.

I stumbled upon the BBC article on the launch of Nectar and I remember reading it at the time thinking the BBC were being a bit harsh on this new scheme, after all the other supermarkets weren't as generous, or so I thought. Now I think the article is worth a read, I love the caption below the McDonald's burger "One day, a small part of this could be yours". The article explains you need to spend £250 in Debenhams or Sainsbury's to get the burger meal. Alternatively 500 litres of fuel at BP or £1000 spend on Barclaycard.

Since then two of the four original launch partners, Barclaycard and Debenhams, have pulled out.

I discovered a blog called Head for Points which has helped me maximise the points I earn particularly with airline and hotel miles (I had already been knowledgeable about earning points on my, mostly East Coast, rail spend). I find it worth spending five minutes of my time reading it each morning. To make things predictable the site updates always happen overnight so they're ready in the morning. It's only if an urgent offer (e.g. an offer with a limited number of sign ups) that an update will happen out of schedule. This is different to the way I do things where I just publish immediately.

One interesting side effect that's happened because of the site's increased popularity is there's now regular competitions. The biggest one ever (so far) is running now and it's a tough one to beat. Business class tickets for two courtesy of Qatar Airways. The one at the beginning of the year was also good, 100000 Avios (BA Miles).

Unfortunately I can't see the subjects of this blog (Virgin East Coast and Nectar) giving me any prizes to give away on this site. Although I'm happy for them to prove me wrong.