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Sainsbury’s is the new Avios supermarket partner!

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Yes, you read that right. Sainsbury’s has just been unveiled as the new Avios-earning supermarket partner.

Oddly, this isn’t the most important part of the announcement. What has been announced today will change the way you think about your Avios and how you spend them.

Am I overstating this? Not necessarily.

How to convert BA Avios points to Nectar points

Nectar points and Avios are to become interchangeable. Every route to earning a Nectar point is now a way of earning an Avios. Perhaps more importantly, every way of spending a Nectar point is now a way of spending Avios.

Given that, until today, your Avios spending options were restricted to flights, wine, car hire and hotels, this is a huge shift.

This is going to take a while to explain. This article focuses on the Sainsbury’s relationship and the Nectar conversion rate. A second article on Nectar and Avios – click here, but read this one first – starts to look at some of the new options available to you.

Let’s jump in.

How to convert BA Avios points to Nectar points

What is the conversion rate between Nectar and Avios?

The conversion rate will be:

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

Here is the key thing: there is no value loss in either direction. You can transfer your points as often as you want and you will still have the same amount you started with.

In theory, you could now keep your entire Avios balance with Nectar and just move the points across to Avios as you need them. There is no benefit to doing this, but you won’t lose out either.

An online tool will be available from Monday to allow you to move your points back and forth. I am assuming it will be instant.

A Nectar point is worth 0.5p isn’t it?

Yes. 99% of Nectar redemptions get you 0.5p per Nectar point. This means that you can look at the conversion offer like this:

  • 250 Avios = 400 Nectar points = £2
  • So …. 1 Avios = 0.8p

Since Nectar points are arguably almost as good as cash if you live in the UK since you can use them at Sainsburys, Argos, eBay and various other places at 0.5p per point, Avios points now have a floor value of 0.8p.

We will explain the impact of this in Part 2, but it is fundamental.

Nectar Avios light

What will I earn at Sainsbury’s?

On the face of it, the headline earning rate is poorer than Tesco.

You earn 1 Nectar point for every £1 you spend in Sainsbury’s. This means £1 spent in Sainsbury’s will earn you 0.625 Avios based on the 400 : 250 conversion.

In reality, it doesn’t work like this.

When Sainsbury’s reduced its earning rate from 2 Nectar points per £1 to 1 point per £1 a couple of years ago, it introduced ‘in app’ offers on top.

Each week you are offered a large number of bonus point offers via the app or website. Importantly, these are often for products that you normally buy. These are, effectively, extra base points as long as you buy what you usually buy – and as long as you remember to register for all the offers in the app.

I am told that the average number of Nectar points earned per £1 is substantially higher than the headline number of 1 per £1 due to these bonus points.

When does the new partnership start?

You will be able to convert Nectar points into Avios from next Monday.

However, nothing stops you from shopping in Sainsbury’s today and collecting Nectar points for your spending. You can then transfer them next week.

If you don’t have a Nectar card, you can register via, via the Nectar app or by picking up a temporary card in a Sainsbury’s store.

How to convert BA Avios points to Nectar points

Is there a bonus to support the new partnership?


If you convert at least 1,600 Nectar points into Avios before 14th February, you will receive a bonus of 500 Avios.

1,600 Nectar points would usually get you 1,000 Avios, so you will get 1,500 Avios instead.

Sainsbury’s is also giving you something. You will earn double Nectar points (2 per £1) on all shopping at Sainsbury’s between 25th January and 19th April.


I know this is a lot to take in ….. and wait until you read Part 2!

The bottom line is that I think this is a very positive move for Avios collectors.

You may or may not find that you earn the same number of Avios from your Sainsbury’s shopping as you did from Tesco, when all of the bonus Nectar points are taken into account.

The real win is that, because you can now convert 250 Avios into £2-worth of Nectar points, your Avios now have a minimum value of 0.8p each. This should change how you think about collecting Avios – and the choices you make to do so – and should also change how you spend them.

More on this to come.

As far as Head for Points goes, it will mean changes to how we operate. Any deal offering bonus Nectar points is now, by default, a deal offering bonus Avios.

Whilst a lot of Nectar partners have gone in recent years, there are still strong offers from Sainsbury’s Bank and Sainsbury’s Energy amongst others. Earning partners include Esso, Argos and numerous rail franchises. We will explore some of these deals in the coming weeks.

Click for the second part of our Nectar and Avios introductory coverage, where we look at possible arbitrage opportunities.

PS. Here’s your first odd arbitrage. You will be able to order any hot or iced drink, any size, at Caffe Nero for the equivalent of 219 Avios (350 Nectar points). For lovers of super-sized iced drinks, this suddenly becomes the best Avios redemption you can get!

how to earn avios from credit cards

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

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

Until 9th April 2021, American Express is running the biggest sign-up bonuses ever seen on a UK payment card.

You will earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Platinum (apply here) and 50,000 Membership Rewards points on American Express Business Gold (apply here) which is FREE for your first year. Points transfer 1:1 into Avios. Here are links to our reviews:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

100,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and a long list of travel ….. Read our full review

Amex American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

50,000 points sign-up bonus – SPECIAL OFFER TO 9th APRIL – and free for a year Read our full review

Here are your other options. 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

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

If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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

(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 (546)

  • Nick_C says:

    All the talk here, understandably, is from the pov of people who are avid collectors of Avios.

    But a big benefit will be to people who don’t collect Avios, don’t use them, and let them lapse.

    Instead of allowing 250 Avios from a couple of cheap short haul flights to lapse, people will be able to cash out to £2 spend in Sainsbury’s.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      That’s the reason why it doesn’t look good for BA. Instead of letting points expire, now they need to pay Sainsbury’s.

      • James says:

        Only it people bother or realise. I think you’d be surprised how many people just wouldn’t bother about a few points expiring.

  • mick says:

    Sainsbury’s are very expensive compared to Tesco. Shop at Tesco and buy Avios with the saving

    • James says:

      I use Sainsbury’s for our household weekly shop, and since March last year have been doing my parents weekly shop at Tesco (their preference, clinically vulnerable), and can say this is not the case at all. Very similar in price, some things slightly more but certainly not ‘very’ expensive in comparison.

  • Nick_C says:

    If you now value an Avios at 0.8p, it makes some redemptions very expensive. 2 people flying to NYC off peak in J with a 241 will be using £800 of Avios/Nectar, plus £1300 of redemption fees (plus nearly £200 for the BAPP).

    A single pax flying on a peak day is looking at about £1650 for a return to NYC in J.

    Personally, I still don’t value Avios at 0.8p though. £80 spent in Sainsbury’s probably buys you the same as £60 spent in Aldi.

    • Alan says:

      I always valued them at 0.75p so not a big change with this. I agree it’s not a straight 0.8p though given Sainsbury’s are generally a bit overpriced. I’ve been doing a lot more at Morrisons recently with their 10% discount and can’t see this changing that.

    • Rob says:

      But £80 spent in Argos is the same as £80 spent anywhere else.

  • David S says:

    I’m in the minority here. Have a large Sainsbury’s in walking distance but prefer to go to Waitrose. Much better quality, definitely better stock levels and not too much more expensive

    • tony says:

      Hmm… Not so sure on the Waitrose v Sainsbury thing. Since lockdown I’ve taken on the grocery shopping bit and have been arranging deliveries. Not always easy but I have to jump between suppliers. Have used the whole lot now and my take is that Waitrose and Ocado are materially more expensive that the other 4. I end up spending 20-40% more per shop, although part of that will be skewed by buying ‘nicer’ stuff. Quality/freshness wise, Waitrose & Ocado win, then it’s Tesco & Sainsbury, then Morrisons & Asda at the bottom.

      • Aston100 says:

        Where does M&S fit into your league table?

        • Tony says:

          Well you get m&s stuff via Ocado now, so I guess that’s one and the same. And it makes sense as waitrose and m&s would be considered in the same league by me, anyway.

          Has been an interesting experience as I figured the “big 4” would be the same and to start with it felt like they were, but over time the frequent appearance of shorter dated (or even out of date) stuff from Asda and morrisons became apparent.

          Interesting that I think it’s waitrose who will give you very short dated stuff like soft fruit for free

          • rob(staaaar) says:

            Lots and lots of yellow stickered stock most days in my local Waitrose, all good quality if one can assess expected fridge/cupboard/freezer life.

  • Sprout says:

    If you use a Sainsburys nectar CC linked to curve instore do you still get the full quota of Nectar points?

  • Scott says:

    I’ve long had an internal debate about whether it’s best to put my everyday spend through Amex Gold or Nectar:
    Gold = 1MR/£ (=1 Avios), which some folk value at 1p, although I feel this is over-stated.
    Nectar = 2pt/£ = 1p if spent at Sainsburys (where I shop anyway, so a genuine 1% return).
    With these changes, it definitely wouldn’t make sense to earn on the Gold card if I’m then going to convert it to Nectar, as I’d only be getting 0.8% return.

    • Dan says:

      Would the analysis change if you were able to hit the £10k bonus every year. You would be getting 1.67MR (Avios) instead

  • Dan says:

    Does this also make MR conversions to Gift Card Options on the Amex now largely useless now? Previously the gift card option would give you 0.5p return but now this means that that coverting to avios would give you 0.8p value?

    Have I read this right – still a lot to take in with this news today!

    • Andrew says:

      Seems so, and what I plan to use my MR balance for in the absence of a Amex double value promo again

  • Andrew says:

    Bets on Amex doing a spend X get X offer on BA cards at Sainsbury’s to further cement Sainsbury’s acquisition of BA customers.

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