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.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 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 (193)

  • peter says:

    I’ve done my maths wrong.. TopCash allows you to withdraw to Avios with bonus or to Sains as gift card. Had £3 so I thought I can get £3.02 to Sains or £3.15 (as they call 315 Avios) and that gives me nearly £5 in Nectar.. nope, it gives me nearly 500 Nectar.. worth £2.50. So don’t follow me 😀

    • Will says:

      Remember 500 nectar is worth £5 on a good day. £2.50 is the base value. Eg Nero fancy coffees or double up days at Sainsbury.

  • Guy Incognito says:

    I’m sitting on quite a lot of Avios at the moment, and the thought of being able to spend £50k on Ebay for various things is rather tempting…

  • flyforfun says:

    I wish I had a Sainsburys near me! I’m surrounded by Tesco Expresses and Metro, but Asda has the biggest supermarket near me. Will have to factor in the drive time to Sainsburys and see if it’s worth it.

  • David says:

    “ 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’.”

    I didn’t quite understand this, could someone help me? I didn’t think you could earn Nectar points in a transaction where you redeem Nectar points. So how would someone take advantage of Double Up in this case?

    Great article(s) btw – gives me many more options!

    • Rob says:

      ‘Double Up’ is when Sainsbury’s lets you redeem for 1p per point for a couple of weeks each November. It is capped at 10,000 Nectar points per account. If you happen to have 6,250 Avios sitting around, it would be well worth moving them to Avios and using those 10k Nectar points to get £100 of free shopping during the ‘Double Up’ event (in those categories where it is valid).

      • David says:

        Ohhh I understand now! I had misread/interpreted the article wording. That’s great you can redeem for 1p/point at certain times, never knew that. Thanks for responding!

  • JOE STEVENS says:

    This looks interesting. Having used Nectar for a few years and taken advantage of the many bonus offers they run I have amassed a very healthy points total of 280,000 points. I’m also sat on 147,000 Avios so now have to figure out how to get the most out of these together.

  • Chris says:

    Can one use this new partnership to solve the problem of stranded BA Household Account avios? I am the principal HHA holder with about 180k avios and my dad has about 30k which he is unlikely to use.
    If I empty out my own balance and transfer to Nectar, could I then fully use up my dad’s 30k with BA?
    Or even transfer the entire HHA avios balance over into my Nectar account?

    • Rob says:

      Yes, should work.

      I have a few thousand in a HHA between my parents in law and my kids. I may tidy that up.

  • Gina says:

    Would you be able to us this as a way of sending avios to a family member? Ie transfer your avios to their nectar account?

  • Andy Sparrow says:

    Just looked at Sainsburys credit cards. Like the look of the nectar card for the 10000k bonus. Its basically a free 6250 avios if you regularly shop in Sainsburys anyway

    Did an acceptance test saying self employed (I’m retired from the Fire service but registered as self employed for part time decorating)

    Bearing in mind I have an excellent credit score (checked yesterday) initially came back refused.

    Tried again as “retired” with roughly same income came back as 95% acceptable

    Could they see self employed people as too much risk in the present climate or was this just an anomaly

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