The VTEC website is going down for one last time tonight (Thursday 21 June) and when it comes back it will be the LNER site. This is highly unusual as the websites usually change overnight on the day of the franchise switchover.
What we don't know for certain is whether Nectar will still be around when the site comes back up. If it returns without Nectar some people will be saying "see you're even worse off now, you've got nothing" while others will be disappointed if Nectar is still there.
If the site returns without Nectar we should see this as a positive thing. It takes a while to implement a new loyalty scheme but it means when one is implemented then it can go live without having to worry about any contractual issues with Nectar. In the meantime if you want Nectar points you're better off booking through a FirstGroup website that gives you points on all rail bookings not just their own route. FirstGroup websites include GWR, SWR and TransPennine Express.
If they decide not to continue with Nectar it's a good sign that they're considering something in-house.
If the site continues to offer Nectar it could be one of three reasons:
- The contract with Nectar automatically transferred over to LNER and they have to honour it for the remainder of the term.
- They've come to an agreement with Nectar to continue to use it on an interim basis until they decide their loyalty strategy.
- They've signed a fresh multi year contract with Nectar.
Only the third possibility is particularly worrying as it would show that LNER was just blindly carrying on the VTEC loyalty policy. The other two possibilities would still give the possibility LNER was working on something better.
If Nectar is still offered we won't assume that LNER have made a decision to stick with it on a permanent basis until we can find out more information. It'll be best in this situation not to jump to conclusions just yet.
There's only a few hours to go before the new website goes live. Let's see what happens.