Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How the Nectar and Avios tie-up will change how you earn and spend points

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This is Part 2 of our initial response to the news that Sainsbury’s is the new Avios supermarket partner and that Nectar points and Avios will become interchangeable.

Please don’t read this article before you have read Part 1 of our Sainsbury’s / Avios / Nectar coverage which is here. You’ll just get confused!

How to convert BA Avios points to Nectar points

What is the Nectar to Avios exchange rate?

As a reminder, from Monday, you will be able to convert your points online like this:

  • 250 Avios = 400 Nectar points
  • 400 Nectar points = 250 Avios

Since 1 Nectar point is worth 0.5p at Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay and other partners, what we are saying is that 250 Avios = £2, so 1 Avios = 0.8p.

This exchange rate is VERY attractive for Avios collectors

What I am intrigued to discover about this new partnership in the coming months is which way, overall, most points will move. Will Avios see a net inflow or a net outflow?

Will there be a net transfer of points into Avios from Nectar? Based on 400 Nectar points (£2) = 250 Avios, you are ‘buying’ Avios for 0.8p each. This is a decent deal.

If you have any Nectar points and you are serious about Avios, it makes sense to convert them rather than spend them with any other Nectar partner. It is difficult to pick up Avios for less than 0.8p.

On the other hand, will there be a net transfer of points from Avios into Nectar?

1 Avios now get you 0.8p of Sainsbury’s, Argos or eBay credit, amongst other partners.

A lot of Avios collectors – not necessarily HfP readers, who are savvier than the rest – will see value in moving their points across.

There are also likely to be a lot of Avios collectors who don’t see themselves flying anywhere for some time, or are in financial difficulty, and like the idea of cashing out for 0.8p.

Nectar Avios light

Does this new deal undermine almost all of BA’s non-flight Avios redemptions?

Er, yes. This is where I get a bit confused about the grand plan.

If you use your Avios for:

  • hotel redemptions
  • car hire redemptions
  • wine from Laithwaite’s
  • ‘experiences’
  • seat selection fees or
  • ‘Part Pay With Avios’

….. you get around 0.5p to 0.6p per Avios.

You would be crazy to redeem Avios for any of the things above, at 0.5p to 0.6p per point, when you could get 0.8p per point of pseudo-cash by converting to Nectar.

The whole ‘Part Pay With Avios’ strategy is now looking very messy.

Even some Avios flight redemptions don’t get you 0.8p

I have a spreadsheet of the last 7.7 million Avios I redeemed, from 2013 to today. I got – based on my personal value of the flights I took – an average of 1.2p per Avios.

Many people do far better than me, because I do a lot of Gold Priority Rewards for double Avios, and don’t always use a 2-4-1 BA Amex companion voucher.

A lot of people, probably not HfP readers, will do worse than me. As we have shown numerous times, redeeming for Economy flights can often mean getting 0.8p or worse per Avios. The only saving grace is flexibility, since Avios tickets can be refunded.

For these people, transferring Avios to Nectar is a better choice than redeeming for Economy flights.

How to convert BA Avios points to Nectar points

How does this change your credit card strategy?

Here is an example of how the convertibility between Nectar and Avios changes things.

American Express has a Nectar American Express card. See here, and read our Nectar Amex review here.

Nectar American Express

First year free and 20,000 points sign-up bonus – worth £100 or 12,500 Avios Read our full review

It works like this:

  • no fee for Year 1, £25 thereafter
  • 20,000 Nectar points (so 12,500 Avios) sign-up bonus
  • 2 Nectar points per £1 spent (so 1.25 Avios)

This card is now attractive. For the first year, it is a better deal than the free British Airways American Express card, which only earns 1 Avios per £1 spent and comes with a sign-up bonus of 5,000 Avios.

After Year 1, anyone spending over £10,000 on the free British Airways Amex may be better off with the Nectar Amex and its higher earning rate.

On the other hand …..

There are bound to be many people who are currently paying £25 per year for the Nectar American Express card. If they are spending under £10,000 per year on the card, they should cancel it and get a free British Airways American Express instead, converting the Avios to Nectar.

Here’s another quirk:

You can redeem American Express Membership Rewards points for Nectar points, at the transfer rate of 1:1.

This is now useless. You should transfer from Amex to Avios instead, at the transfer rate of 1:1, and then transfer your Avios to Nectar. This gets you a Membership Rewards to Nectar transfer rate of 1:1.6.

This means that you can turn your Membership Rewards points into pseudo-cash, spendable mainly at Sainsbury’s, eBay or Argos, for 0.8p per point. A lot of people will find this attractive.

How to convert BA Avios points to Nectar points

Any special Nectar redemption deal could encourage you to wipe out your Avios balance

In the PS. to Part 1, I showed you how the best use of Avios – bar none – is now redeeming 219 Avios (350 Nectar points) for any hot or iced drink, any size, at Caffe Nero.

At £3.30 for a Caramel Latte, for example, you are getting 1.51p per Avios.

More seriously, we have seen occasional offers in the past where eBay lets you redeem your Nectar points for twice the usual value – 1p per Nectar point.

If eBay did this again, you would get 1.6p per Avios if you turned them into eBay credit. A lot of Avios collectors would hit the ‘redeem’ button at that point.

It would trigger other moves too. I would be rushing to empty my American Express Membership Rewards points into Avios if I could get 1.6p per point at eBay. There isn’t much, at the end of the day, that you can’t buy on eBay – and these days most of it is brand new.

Sainsbury’s also runs an annual ‘double up’ promotion. This allows you to get 1p per Nectar point when you buy products in certain categories, up to a limit of 10,000 Nectar points (£100) per account.

It would make a huge amount of sense to convert 6,250 Avios into 10,000 Nectar points to get £100 to spend in Sainsbury’s during ‘Double Up’.

How to convert BA Avios points to Nectar points

There is a lot more to come

We have just scratched the surface here. Sainsbury’s Bank issues a range of Mastercard credit cards, for example. The sign-up offers can be generous and there is no annual fee.

Esso is a Nectar partner, so there is a new route to earning Avios from petrol. Sainsbury’s Energy often has ‘big bonus’ sign-up deals if you switch your fuel over.

We will cover all this over the coming weeks. In the short term, please don’t redeem any Avios for hotels, car hire, wine, seat selection or ‘Part Pay With Avios’, because transferring them to Nectar on Monday will get you 50% more value.

British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 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

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We 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

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 (193)

  • Alex says:

    Be interesting to see how the “couple starting with Amex” article changes now.

    Should it Nectar instead of Bonvoy? Or can you just slip Nectar Amex into the mix?

    • Super Secret Stuff says:

      I think you can just slip it into the mix to fill the gaps, or atleast Sainsbury bank free non amex cards for the bonuses

  • DT says:

    If you are near the end of your 24 month break from Amex, would it now be better to get the Nectar Amex over the Bonvoy Amex as the first card?

    • Rob says:

      Yes. Article on this on the way.

      • DT says:

        Excellent, thanks for the comprehensive details on this partnership! My Amex break is up in March so this is great timing

  • Super Secret Stuff says:

    Hold up, just realised how much this will cause a headache for Amex, BA because of there high redemption prices, high taxes putting average joe blogs off (meaning we will see a roll out of £1 taxes), Nero might well be dropped or more restricted because of the surging use and low price paid by Nectar, this is a Tsunami for the UK points game…

    I knew Sainsbury made the most sense for Avios to go with, however until now I hadn’t thought of all the above

    • The real John says:

      The new implications are because they have become interconvertible. If you could only convert Nectar into Avios at 2 to 1 that would not have introduced any of these “headaches”.

  • TGLoyalty says:

    So nectar Amex becomes the best BA earning card out there!

    crucially resets 2 years for BAPP and Platinum bonus.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Well, any other Amex card resets for BAPP, except the free BA card.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Yes I know that .. the clue is in the first sentence

        the free BA is only 1 per £ and this is 1.25 per £

        • BuildBackBetter says:

          But you pay £25 annual fee, so cannot compare to free BA.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            free for first year plus £25 so you can potentially earn 25k avios sign up bonus after year 2 … worth it.

  • Simon says:

    Does taking out the Nectar Amex block me from the sign up reward on other Amexes?

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Yes. All except plat and BAPP.

    • Rob says:

      Not Platinum or BAPP.

      • DJ says:

        The wording of welcome bonus to the Platinum card has changed to:

        “ I know I won’t be eligible for any Welcome Bonus if I hold or have held any personal American Express Card in the past 24 months”

        So any personal card can block the sign up bonus for Plat right?

        • meta says:

          You’ve omitted “any personal Membership Rewards-enrolled card.”

        • Rob says:

          Er, no it doesn’t.


          To save time before you apply for your Platinum Card®, it’s best to make sure you can say yes to the following.
          I am aged 18 or over
          I have a current UK bank or building society account
          I have a permanent UK home address
          I have no history of bad debt
          I understand I will not be eligible for any Welcome Bonus award if I hold or have held any personal Membership Rewards-enrolled American Express Cards in the past 24 months.

          • DJ says:

            Are you viewing on a mobile phone?

            I literally copy and paste the bit underneath of the Platinum card in that page …

          • Rob says:

            No, desktop. Amex cannot change these rules without giving me advance notice under the terms of their agreement with me. I already know about changes up to the end of February for example.

    • Mark says:

      Yes if I have Amex Gold (16 months) and BA Amex (2 years) as personal cards, I assume I am excempt from sign up bonus on Nectar AMEX?

  • Bee says:

    I’m hugely excited about this news as we earn nectar points via our small business. In the past we’ve only used these for Argos purchases as we’re not really Sainsbury’s shoppers, but now we can use them for extra avios flights – happy days!!

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Clearly it depends on proximity, but our cars run just as well on Sainsbury’s fuel as they do on Esso……both petrol and diesel. Sainsbury’s fuel is way cheaper than Esso. So unless you want to pay more for fuel simply to get more Nectar points (!!??), just use Sainsbury’s own!

  • Genghis says:

    The groupings (for personal cards anyway) are:
    Plat – no MR card last two years
    BAPP – no avios card in last two years
    All others – nectar comes in this group – no personal amex in last two years.

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