Both Virgin Trains East Coast and West Coast are running a promotion called 'Love the North'. Given the name of the promotion you might be surprised to see that key cities such as Newcastle and Durham are missing. The reason for this is because the promotion is to show that flood affected areas such as Yorkshire and Northhumberland are still open for business and welcoming visitors. The promotion has been run in association with Visit England.
I know similar has been said by the other contributors before but the big problem with Nectar is there's no way for customers to grow attached to it, the benefits are so small that people just hand over their card because it's better than nothing but they don't feel a sense of loyalty to any of the brands that partner with Nectar. People have a Nectar card because they shop at Sainsbury's (or BP, etc) they don't shop at these places because of Nectar. This was shown particularly well last April when Sainsbury's halved the earning on the Nectar scheme and it hardly had any impact on sales.
When Virgin Trains East Coast announced they were scrapping East Coast Rewards and replacing it with Nectar they also mentioned that earning Flying Club miles was another option. They have made the ability to earn Flying Club miles more prominent as they realised no one was particularly happy with Nectar and although Flying Club wouldn't suit everybody it provides more intresting redemption offers (we really need to write an article about making the most of Flying Club).
There's quite a few variances within our team, never mind within our larger group of supporters. We all agree the East Coast Rewards was far superior to Nectar and that it was a big mistake signing a contract with Nectar without consulting their passengers. Even if rewards couldn't continue in its current form they could have modified the scheme to fit their needs.
A lot of people get frustrated when they pay a few hundred pounds for their rail ticket only to find out they haven't got a seat. Understanably so (particularly as on a plane everyone has to be allocated a seat) but there are reasons for this. It can be even more annoying when you realise someone who paid just £5 for their ticket in a sale is guaranteed a seat.
UPDATE: it has been confirmed that Virgin Trains East Coast will happily credit any missing points caused by people booking on the wrong site. As usual we'll be monitoring Twitter to see if anyone has any issues.
We've already written about the triple points Nectar promotion, however for those who've heard of the promotion direct through Nectar (either by direct email, online or through their app) there's a chance that people will earn zero points rather than triple points.
On Monday 19 January 2015 just as I was packing up in the office an email with the title East Coast Rewards: message from East Coast, Stagecoach and Virgin landed in my inbox. It was the first official email from East Coast regarding the closure of the franchise. A copy of this email has been archived here.
If you like, or would like to try, the Virgin Trains East Coast Hop on Board ale, it's worthwhile purchasing catering vouchers. The catering vouchers cost £4 each and are worth £5 on board. There's no limit to the amount of vouchers you can use in a single transaction. All vouchers are valid for three months from their start date (which is the date of travel if booked online).
One of the troubles with Nectar is there's no 'exciting' rewards, all points do is to give you money off stuff. Decent loyalty schemes allow you to redeem a number of points for a particular benefit. For example East Coast Rewards let you redeem 255 points for a standard class trip anywhere served by East Coast. This reward would be worth a lot more than approximately £2.50 that a similar spend would get you with Nectar.
In case you weren't aware Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) are continuing the East Coast tradition of holding a January sale and the prices are the same as last year.