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.

This means you can go from London to Yorkshire for £5 each way in standard class. The prices for further afield are higher but they're all excellent value. Full details are at - if you're interested book ASAP the deadline is 8th January and tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis and have already run out for some popular dates.

The sale would also have been a great opportunity to make Nectar at least vaguely useful. A £5 e-Voucher costs 1000 Nectar points (£1000 spend in Sainsbury's or £500 at most other Nectar partners including VTEC).

Therefore if you have 1000 Nectar points you'd expect to be able to redeem these for a £5 voucher and use this voucher for a free trip London - York or Leeds. OK, it's still nowhere near as good as the 255 East Coast Rewards points needed for a standard class single anywhere on their route, but it's better than what we usually get.

Unfortunately it turns out that you can't spend your Nectar vouchers on these special offer fares. The eVouchers from Nectar are for Virgin Trains East Coast Advance fares only. Although the tickets are only available in advance and are restricted to Virgin Trains East Coast the ticket type is not "Advance" but "VTEC Flat Fare" so you will have no luck if you try and pay with a Nectar voucher.

I'm not sure if this was deliberate or an oversight. I think the restriction to VTEC Advance tickets was mainly to stop you spending your Nectar points on tickets that could be used on other operators so I believe they should make an exception and allow "VTEC Flat Fare" tickets from the sale to be purchased with these vouchers.

If this was a deliberate decision to bar this fare from redemption I think they've missed an opportunity to make their partnership with Nectar a little more useful. It would never come close to East Coast Rewards but I'm sure people would appreciate being able to use any points they have in the sale.