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How to earn Nectar points when booking train tickets

Over the last couple of years, various train operators have signed up with Nectar to offer points when booking rail tickets through their official sites.  I thought it would be worth summarising the various Nectar rail offers in one place.

The first thing to say is that it is almost always better to book rail tickets on the website of an official train operating company.  You should always start with the website of the operator of your service because the train operator may have exclusive discounts which are not available by third party websites such as The Trainline.

Even if the train operator does not offer better fares, you will get a very poor deal on ‘extras’ with the third party websites.  Excessive fees for using a credit card or for having tickets posted to you are not unusual.  Some sites even add a random ‘booking fee’ for no good reason.

The majority of rail websites runs by the train companies will not charge credit card fees and will not charge a booking fee.  If they do charge a postage fee, there is often a free ‘print at home’ alternative.

virgin train nectar

Who are the Nectar rail partners?

Here are the train operators that award Nectar points on their services:

Virgin Trains West Coast – you earn 2 points per £1 spent.  There MUST be a Virgin West Coast train as part of your itinerary to receive the points.  If you book, say, a Scotrail train via the Virgin West Coast site then you won’t receive any Nectar points.  

Virgin Train East Coast – same deal

Note that you can also earn Virgin Flying Club frequent flyer miles at 2 per £1 when booking rail tickets at Virgin West Coast or Virgin East Coast.  These are more valuable than 2 Nectar points per £1 but only if you are already an established Virgin Flying Club member.  You won’t earn enough for a free flight just from train bookings!

Details of the Virgin Trains Nectar scheme can be found here.

GWR (was First Great Western) – you earn 2 Nectar points per £1 spent, except for season tickets which earn at special rates.  Full details are here.  The website says that you cannot earn Nectar points for stays booked via their app but this may be out of date looking at the reader comment below.

First Hull Trains – same deal

First TransPennine Express – same deal

The three trains companies above offer Nectar points on ALL train operators.

What about other train operators?

As I noted above, GWR, Hull Trains and TransPennine Express award Nectar points for ALL bookings irrespective of operator.  If you are booking with East Midlands Trains, for example, you can still earn Nectar points by booking your ticket on the Hull Trains website.

Redeeming Nectar points for rail travel

Virgin Trains are also a Nectar redemption partner but only in a limited way.

As you can see (log-in required), you can redeem Nectar points towards the cost of Virgin East Coast Advance tickets only.  You cannot use your points for Virgin West Coast or flexible East Coast tickets.

You only receive the standard 0.5p per Nectar point so this is not a good value redemption.  Here on Shopper Points we regularly cover redemptions which get you 1p or more of value.

You cannot redeem Nectar points on any of the First Group train operators.

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Do you earn Clubcard or Nectar points from your credit card?.  If not, you're missing out. We review the best options in this article.

Do you convert Clubcard points into Avios or Virgin Flying Club? If you do, visit our sister site, Head for Points, which is full of tips for maximising your frequent flyer miles.

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  1. Rob,
    Looks like you may be able to earn Nectar points when booking using the Great Western App on iPhone.
    I just booked Maidenhead to Paddington and both the app and email confirmation confirmed I would earn 42 Nectar points. I’ll know for sure within 28 days when the points are due to be posted to my Nectar account.If true then it may be a case of outdated copy on Great Western Rail’s website
    #Note the app does state in its Info section that Nectar points can be earned when purchasing via the app

    • Cheers, I will update the article.

      • Confirmed. Just had 42 Nectar points credited for a Great Western Rail ticket I purchased via the iPhone GWR app this week. Now if they only introduced the mTicket at Maidenhead station and were a Gate365 partner I would be ecstatic. TripleDip heaven!

  2. Not sure if Virgin (West Coast) policy has changed, but last time I wasn’t given Nectar points for a booking, it was because ALL of the booking wasn’t on Virgin trains (which aggrieved me a little as it was a £200 train ticket for a Virgin journey, with an underground ticket to Victoria underground tagged on the end of it! 🙁 )

    • That’s in reference to the “part” reference in the article:
      “There MUST be a Virgin West Coast train as part of your itinerary to receive the points”

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