Collecting train points

By | Category: Travel rumblings

First Great WesternWe have been used to collecting supermarket points for years. But have you started collecting train points?

No, this isn’t some train spotting scheme for anoraks but it can be a useful scheme if you play it properly.

As you know, train travel is one of the most popular ways to travel for days-out, weekends away and some longer holidays. Up until recently you have paid but with little added-value benefit. But the First Group has changed the playing fields. They have started to offer Nectar points for what you spend just as supermarkets do.

The First Group consists of First Great Western, First Trans Pennine, First Scot Rail, First Hull and First Capital Connect. They started providing Nectar points in April but I am unaware that many people realise the benefits this can bring them.

You may say that First Group doesn’t operate in the area in which you live but it doesn’t matter. I can live in Truro in Cornwall and book a train journey via First Scot Rail to go from Norwich to London and still get two Nectar points for every pound I spend. You can use any online train booking site to book any train trip in the UK regardless of where you live.

Regular rail commuters will also earn Nectar points, with 2,500 points given for annual season tickets, 200 points for a monthly ticket and 50 points for those that buy their ticket weekly.

Obviously First Group is trying to encourage extra business although it claims that providing Nectar points is just rewarding customers which I take to mean those that travel on its services. But you don’t need to travel with them to buy tickets via their site. So how many of us will give them our train booking business just to gain points that we can then use to redeem money off supermarket products and so on?

You cannot earn points by buying tickets at a station, it only applies online.

The question now is what will be the reaction of the other big train companies? Will Arriva, (who also operate Cross Country, London Overground and Grand Central) Stagecoach, (operators of East Midlands, Southwest and Virgin)  and Go-Ahead (London Midland, Southeastern and Southern) sign up to rival schemes so that customers don’t defect to other train booking companies?

As for me, I have already earned over 400 points in the last two months but I have only travelled on a First Group train once.



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