Sainsbury’s has admitted that, under its Nectar loyalty scheme launched this week, customers have to spend more to get free tickets to Odeon cinemas and Legoland, and for free flights with bmi, than they did under its old Reward Card scheme.
But the supermarket chain claims that these particular rewards were made available as part of a special summer promotion – which expires on September 30 – under the Reward Card scheme, and were never permanent offers. Under the Nectar scheme they will be made permanently available, according to Sainsbury’s.
Using the Reward scheme, shoppers had to spend £1,000 to earn a ticket to Legoland. With Nectar they will need to spend £1,500. Similarly, to claim two Odeon cinema tickets they will now need to spend £1,000 instead of £750. To get a bmi flight to Amsterdam, cardholders will have to spend £3,000 as opposed to £2,500.
A spokeswoman says: “You can’t compare a promotion with a long-term offer. When you are managing a rewards system for a short time, you can get better offers.”
She claims that on Monday alone, more than 1 million customers took Nectar cards from Sainsbury’s stores.
The Nectar scheme features in Sainsbury’s latest TV ad, starring Jamie Oliver, which breaks today (Wednesday). In it, the chef wants to invite some friends over for a meal, but discovers that they are all busy using the rewards they have redeemed under the scheme.