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Working Lunch Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 13:45 GMT
Nectar disap-points
If you need to transfer points from your Barclaycard to Nectar, you'd better hurry up - the deadline is Friday.

But you might be in for a surprise when you get your new total.

The reason is that the discount offered by some Nectar members - such as Sainsbury's - is exactly the same as it was under their own scheme.

But Barclaycard's own scheme was very different - and some people are finding their points are worth much less than they thought.

Complications

Erwin Pereira from Northampton had accumulated 7,600 Barclaycard points towards a long-haul flight.

Now he has transferred to Nectar, he finds himself further away from his trip than before.

"I feel very disappointed and let down," says Edwin.

"I shall move now to a scheme which will give me straight cash rewards and avoid these complications."

Upset

Barclaycard says it recognises that some flights require customers to use more equivalent Nectar points to reach a destination than in the old scheme.

Barclaycard's Ian Barber
Ian Barber: Drawing a line under old scheme
So until the end of this year, it says customers saving for the same flight under Nectar should not pay any more than they had expected.

"We're not in the business of trying to upset our customers," says Barclaycard's Ian Barber.

"Only about 7% of our customers actually take flights.

"For those customers we've given them 18 months' notice that the scheme is changing but once December comes around we will be drawing a line under our old scheme."

Traded

Nectar brought together the separate loyalty schemes of Sainsbury's, Debenhams, BP and Barclaycard. Vodafone is also joining.

About 11 million people hold Nectar cards - the company claims four million of them have already traded points for rewards.

But when the rewards are analysed, they are not over generous.

  • Sainsbury's gives a discount of 1%
  • Debenhams - 1%
  • BP - 0.6%
  • Barclaycard - 0.25%

    There are better deals to be obtained outside the Nectar scheme:

  • Alliance & Leicester - 1% cashback
  • American Express Blue - 1% cashback
  • WH Smith - 2% discount
  • Boots- 4% discount
  • Homebase - 2% or 10% if you spend more than 500 a year.

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    17 Feb 03 | Business
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