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Will Avios switch from Tesco to Sainsbury’s?

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A reader sent me across a questionnaire he received from Avios.

It is all very innocent (‘”Which of these loyalty schemes do you know about?”, “Which are you members of?”) until it comes to this:

Would you shop less at Tesco if Avios were no longer available?

followed by this:

And if you could no longer collect Avios at Tesco, but Avios were available at another supermarket near you, how would this affect the amount you shop at Tesco?

The implication here is not good!

Head for Points readers with very long memories (so you’d need to 35-ish+ I reckon!) may remember that Air Miles (before Air Miles became Avios) used to partner with Sainsbury’s.

A bit of research shows that it was 15th March 2002 when Tesco took over the awarding of Air Miles and BA Miles from Sainsbury’s. It is therefore not impossible that Sainsbury’s (via Nectar) may be looking at getting back in bed with BA.

Nectar has, after all, made a surprisingly large play of its tie-up with easyJet. This is despite the fact that the deal for redeeming on easyJet (£2.50 per 500 points) is no better than redeeming instore.

What is clear, though, is that a move back to Sainsbury’s would be a disaster. The reason is simple – Nectar has never, ever, bothered with bonus point promotions in a big way.

I never do a main shop in a Tesco without an incentive. But if there are a slug of bonus Clubcard points available, I will do it. Nectar never does this – you can only rack up points at a snails pace through your regular shopping. None of ‘3000 points for taking out life insurance for 4 weeks’ or similar!

So … we can only hope that Tesco and Avios can come to an arrangement to keep each other happy. Because, frankly, divorce would not be good for either of them, or for the kids (that’s us!).


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (9)

  • DV says:

    This would be bad on so many levels. The old Tesco MasterCard (earning 1.2 Avios per £) is one of the best earning cards now that there are regular bonuses for converting to Avios (1.7 -2.4 per £ depending on the bonus).

    But if Waitrose has realised its myWaitrose scheme is completely useless, it might be more interesting.

  • Paul says:

    Fully agree with you. It would be a shame.

    A better scenario would be to earn at Sainsburys (my local) and Tesco. Might help me to get rid of the truckload of Nectar points I always struggle to get rid of.

  • PhilH says:

    I don’t agree with your assertion of no bonus points on Nectar, Raffles. If you download the Nectar iPhone app there are, in my experience, around 3-4 bonus point promotions per week. These can range from 600 points for Gillette razor blades or 6x bottles of Strongbow to a range of 30-50 extra points for various items. Ok, nothing major like the Tesco Life Insurance offers, but the deals are there in my opinion. Purely from a personal point of view where I live Sainsbury’s is far more convenient, so I would hugely welcome such a move.

    • Roger says:

      Yes, for us too, Sainsburys is much closer – not so close as Waitrose but that’s another story ….

      JS offer snailmail and online vouchers via Nectar. There seem to be plenty of till spits at JS offering extra points on products or bonuses for £x spend or double points next time. I’m sitting on a double points coupon, 2,000 points with £60 spend and 2,400 points with £70 spend. It will be interesting to spend £70 to see whether all three are accepted. ( know they 2x points and a minimum spend coupon can be used together, not sure about 2x minimum spend.)

      I don’t like JS, nor do I like Tesco. Tesco lost it for me when they abandoned double points. The grandfathered credit card is good value, though.

  • FF1 says:

    At Sainsbury’s you only get 1 point per own bag, and Nectar points are worth half of Tesco’s.

    Sainsbury’s seems to be catching up with Tesco too. The thing is you need to shop there in order to get any coupons, as they usually come as till spits. Up until 2011 I only rememer getting things like £3 off for £30 (10% off).

    However, I recently got a till spit for 800 bonus points for spending £20 (so about 18% off in cash terms, but potentially worth 960 avios, and even more if Nectar will do promotional exchanges). I am also getting extra points for buying specific goods. More recently I got 6x £4 off for spending £20, which means I will be shopping at Sainsbury’s for the next month as I have hit 650 clubcard points to get the 2000 avios.com bonus.

    Sainsbury’s coupons are much easier to use than Tesco, the cashiers never look at you suspiciously when you try to use a coupon that doesn’t scan, and can just enter the value manually if it’s a cash one. In Tesco it’s as though you’re on trial and you still have to queue up at the customer service desk.

    As an aside, once there was a guy with a BA Amex ahead of me in the queue in Tesco. He spent about £150 and tried to use a coupon but it was rejected, so he pulled out £10 of clubcard vouchers and used them! I think there was a bonus avios on at the time too!

    • Roger says:

      ‘Nectar points are worth half of Tesco’s.’

      … but you get 2 Nectar points per £ at JS, so per pound they offer the same rate as Tesco (1 point per £).

      ‘However, I recently got a till spit for 800 bonus points for spending £20 (so about 18% off in cash terms, but potentially worth 960 avios, and even more if Nectar will do promotional exchanges). I am also getting extra points for buying specific goods. More recently I got 6x £4 off for spending £20, which means I will be shopping at Sainsbury’s for the next month as I have hit 650 clubcard points to get the 2000 avios.com bonus.’

      Avios in the same context as Nectar points? What am I missing??

      • FF1 says:

        The “green clubcard points” are worth twice as much as nectar’s. I usually spend about £30 at Tesco, so 3 extra points is like a 10% bonus (more if I don’t use the self-checkout, as anything over 3 calls someone to verify).

        If avios joined nectar, I assume 500 nectar ~= 250 cc would get you 600 avios.

        10% off shopping (assuming same price at T and JS) is far better than converting to any kind of points. By converting cc to avios, you’re effectively buying them at 0.42p each(less if conversion bonus). If you value avios at 0.75p like Raffles does, then a voucher for 3% off at JS is better value than getting clubcard points. If waitrose is the same price as JS and T, then you are basically paying about 1-2% for the improved experience.

  • TigerTanaka says:

    Having been involved with Nectar as a sponsor a few years ago I can remember being told that many Nectar card holders were very unhappy when Air Miles moved to Tesco clubcard. eBookers was the replacement sponsor but like Easyjet the value of a redemption was no better than knocking it off your Sainsbury’s bill.

    The coalition business model of Nectar does not seem to deliver the value that Clubcard can – I am not sure if this is because the margins are too tight or (more probable) that Nectar owner LMG’s overhead is too high.

  • Tesco and BA - 2012 master thread - Page 121 - FlyerTalk Forums says:

    […] up on Nectar Points I see that Raffles has posted an article about Avios (and presumably BAEC) moving or spreading their allegiance to other grocers. Did anyone […]

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