John Lewis launches new reward credit card - is it any good?

John Lewis shoppers can now get something back every time they spend at the giant retailer with an all new rewards credit card. We have all the details and look at how it compares

An exterior view of a John Lewis store
(Image credit: © Peter Macdiarmid)

John Lewis has launched a new rewards credit card - the John Lewis Partnership credit card - which offers shoppers the chance to save money by accumulating points towards money off.

With inflation on the rise and interest rates adding to borrowing costs such as mortgages, making savings where possible makes good sense.

And often, reward credit cards can help make savings at your favourite store, as long as you always pay off your bill in full, otherwise interest charges will cancel out the rewards.

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We look at how the John Lewis Partnership credit card works and how it compares to other reward credit cards that can save you money.

How does the John Lewis Partnership credit card work?

The John Lewis Partnership credit card rewards shoppers by providing them with loyalty points when money is spent using the card.

You will earn five points for every £4 spent at John Lewis and Waitrose, dropping to one point for £4 spent in other retailers. But, if you use the card to pay for your everyday spending, the points could soon add up.

Cardholders can turn those points into a voucher to spend at John Lewis or Waitrose, at a rate of £5 for every 500 points.

The John Lewis Partnership credit card also allows you to spread payments if you make a big purchase early on, with a six month 0% period on purchases from when you open the account. The interest rate after that is 21.9% APR on purchases.

As with all credit cards, you should check your eligibility before you apply using the eligibility checker on the John Lewis website and always keep up with minimum repayments.

Which are the best rewards credit cards?

If you are a regular shopper at John Lewis or Waitrose, then the loyalty credit card can help cut costs, but it may also be worth looking at other reward credit cards depending on which reward suits you best.

Here are some of the rewards credit cards that are worth considering.

Avios credit cards

Credit cards that allow you to slash the costs of holidays are often the most popular, allowing you to accumulate Avios points.

The Avios scheme allows you to cut the cost of flights, hotels and car hire through the use of Avios points.

You can accelerate the rate at which you earn those points by utilising one of the various credit cards affiliated with the Avios scheme, such as the British Airways American Express credit card. For every £1 spent you earn one Avios, with a bonus £5,000 Avios on offer should you spend £1,000 in the first three months with the card.

What’s more, if you spend £12,000 over the year then you qualify for a companion voucher which can be used to take someone with you on a flight. The British Airways American Express credit card has no annual fee, though there is also the British Airways American Express Premium Plus card which allows you to earn more Avios on your spending, but comes with a £250 annual fee. Interest rate on the card is 28.1% APR - but again, if you are using the card for rewards, pay off the bill in full each month to avoid charges.

If you don’t like flying with British Airways or its partner airlines in the Avios scheme, then it may be worth looking into the Virgin Atlantic credit card instead which works in a similar way.

Clubcard credit cards

If you prefer to focus on earning rewards at supermarkets, then Tesco Bank’s range of Clubcard credit cards may be suitable. It has a host of cards offering 0% periods on purchases, balance transfers or both. The typical interest rate is 22.9% APR.

All of these rewards credit cards allow users to earn Clubcard points when they spend using the card, irrespective of where that money is spent. However, the rewards are much greater when you spend with Tesco ‒ five points for every £4 spent, rather than one point for every £8 spent outside of Tesco and Tesco Fuel.

Clubcard points can be converted into vouchers to spend at Tesco, at a rate of 100 points for a £1 voucher. Alternatively you can turn them into vouchers for partner retailers, which allows you to increase their value by as much as three times.

Nectar credit cards

A rival offer comes from another supermarket, Sainsbury’s, with its Nectar credit card.

Shoppers earn Nectar points when they spend with the card, earning three points for every £2 spent at Sainsbury’s, Argos, Habitat and Tu Clothing. That return drops to one point for every £5 spent in other retailers.

There is also a welcome offer in place for the card, meaning that so long as you spend £400 in any of the stores listed above within the first two months with the card, you’ll get a bonus 8,000 Nectar points.

Generally each Nectar point is worth around 0.5p when being converted into vouchers, though there are some rewards partners who offer a greater return when you use your points to spend with them.

The interest rate on the card is 21.9% APR.

How to maximise your returns from a rewards credit card

Rewards credit cards can be an excellent way to get something for nothing, but there are certain things to bear in mind if you want to get the best possible return from using them.

It’s worth thinking carefully about which cards are going to allow you to earn rewards most quickly ‒ if you only ever shop at Tesco, there’s not much value in opting for a Sainsbury’s card, for example.

Yet you also need to think about which cards offer benefits that you most value. Yes, you may be a regular shopper at John Lewis, but if you are planning a big holiday in the next year or so then the Avios points on offer from an Avios card may be a more valuable reward than money off your groceries.

The way that you use the card is also important. The rewards from these credit cards are bigger if you spend more with them, meaning it’s a good idea to put as much of your regular spending on them as possible.

However, this needs to be money that you were planning to spend anyway, rather than money spent simply to earn rewards.

John Fitzsimons

John Fitzsimons has been writing about finance since 2007, and is a former editor of Mortgage Solutions and loveMONEY. Since going freelance in 2016 he has written for publications including The Sunday Times, The Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Mail and Forbes, and is committed to helping readers make more informed decisions about their money.