Virgin Trains East Coast have updated their FAQ page with more information on the transition to Nectar. They have acknowledged that some of us have 'concerns' (so that means at least they're aware of our unhappiness). Apparently they also conducted research to find out that Nectar is what the customers really wanted.
It's well known that a company will word surveys in a way that gets the answer that they want. In this case it's likely that they asked people who didn't live near the East Coast line if they'd like to earn Nectar points on rail tickets. Not being aware there's a better option most people would say yes.
What surprised me is that the transfer rate if you want to turn rewards points into Nectar is actually very generous. I was expecting 1 reward point to be worth 1 Nectar point. The best case I was expecting each reward point to be worth 2 Nectar points. I was surprised that they have announced that they're going to be offering 6 Nectar points for each reward point.
I'd still advise you use up as many rewards points as possible on free East Coast tickets, that's always where they're going to be most valuable, but if you have any left over at least you'll get a better conversion rate if you bother with Nectar. After the 1st March the rate for earning has been confirmed to be the (mostly standard) 2 points/£. They've also mentioned that throughout the year double points offers will be available - however, even these will come nowhere near as generous as the current scheme.
More interestingly for the frequent travellers "Alongside Nectar we will be looking to introduce several recognition benefits for our most loyal customers that enhance the actual experience they receive once the service starts." This has not been announced previously so it's possible our campaign has caused this extra to be added. Unfortunately at the moment we know no more details so can't comment on whether the benefits will be any good.
So... although we've not got the result we want, they have seemingly introduced some concessions to make the change more bearable so we're still in a slightly better position than we were before.
We continue as usual, alerting people to how bad Nectar is and getting more East Coast customers to Tweet their disappointment and ideally also use more formal methods to show their disappointment. It's probably too late for them to do a U-turn and cancel the launch with Nectar but I'm sure that they're now more aware of the issues and will be monitoring the situation more closely. If Nectar results in a drop of direct sales then we could see a return to a more generous loyalty scheme (although we'll probably have to suffer Richard Branson on the news bragging that he's revolutionising rail loyalty schemes - hoping that most people forgot they're just bringing back the old scheme).
So far, we've not had the success I was hoping for, but it's a start. They do say "We understand you may have further comments and feedback on the new scheme" so please make sure you do share your feedback. They're aware of our views and they're listening.