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American Express Membership Rewards Points are my favourite loyalty ‘currency’ – largely because of their flexibility. You can transfer them directly at a 1:1 rate to Avios, Virgin Flying Club, Singapore KrisFlyer, Etihad Guest and more, as well as to 3 different hotel programmes. You can indirectly transfer them to even more airline programmes via Marriott Bonvoy. You can also transfer Amex Points to Nectar.
I’ve never transferred to Nectar before, but this week I shifted across 55,000 Amex Points…
Are you serious – why would you do that?!?!
I admit that on the face of it, this seems like a completely idiotic thing to do. When you transfer Amex Points to Nectar the conversion rate is 1:1, but Nectar Points are only normally worth 0.5p each.
I value Amex Points at about 1p each, so it would be reasonable to assume that I’ve gone mad and chosen to halve the value of my points.
Fortunately, I’m pleased to report that I haven’t lost my mind, or my ability to count (yet) – there was a good reason for making the transfer!
Get double value redeeming Nectar Points on LNER Trains
A couple of weeks ago, HeadForPoints flagged an interesting promotion on the Nectar site:
As you can see above, with the double up offer, each Nectar Point is currently worth 1p when you cash them in for LNER vouchers.
Therefore, via Nectar, I’ve effectively swapped 55,000 Amex Points for £550 of credit with LNER trains. If you value the train credit as cash (which I do), I’ve got 1p of value from each of my Amex Points – and I’m happy with that.
Is this really a good deal?
It depends on your circumstances, but for me personally – yes.
There are a few things you need to consider in order to decide whether this is a deal that makes sense for you though:
- Do you use LNER (formerly Virgin East Coast) trains? If not, I’d give this a miss 😉
- The vouchers expire at the end of the year and train tickets are only normally bookable 12 weeks in advance, so you’ll need to travel by late March at the latest.
- Is there an ‘opportunity cost’?
What I mean by the last point is, is there a chance that if you redeem your Amex Points at a rate of 1p each for train credit now, you won’t have enough points/miles for a more valuable redemption in future?
In my case, I don’t really see a realistic opportunity cost right now. I’ve already got all my flights and accommodation sorted for trips through to the end of the year, and substantial miles balances with a number of different airline programmes for any future trips.
I could always do with topping up my Hilton, Marriott and Radisson balances, but I’ve got enough points with all 3 programmes for any ’emergency’ stays, and can’t be certain I’d get more than ~0.8p of value per Amex Point redeeming for theoretical future stays.
Most importantly, I expect to replace the Amex Points within a few months. If you are unlikely to be able to regenerate your points balance as quickly, you need to think more carefully about the potential opportunity cost.
Getting 1p of value per Amex Point certainly isn’t my greatest ever redemption in terms of value(!), but it’s not bad. Particularly as it’s saving me money on something that I’d otherwise be spending hard cash on.
Note that the ‘double value’ LNER offer is only on until 14th August. Transferring Amex Points to Nectar can take up to 4 working days according to Amex (though it took 24-48 hours in my case) – so if you do want to take advantage of this, be quick!
It’s also worth pointing out that the LNER vouchers can only be used on Advance Tickets (including First Class) on LNER services. Railcard discounts are fine, but you can’t use the vouchers on promotional fares.
Would you trade your Amex Points for 1p each if you had the chance?