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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 nectar.com, 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?

Yes.

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.

Conclusion

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)

  • Will_ says:

    During all of the lockdowns, Sainsburys were the only supermarket that offered me click and collect slots – every time. Even during the worst of the first lockdown. So I switched all of my shopping there and as a result it looks like I’ve made a great choice. Lets see how long it lasts.

  • Alex says:

    Also be interesting to hear people’s thought on if BA increase avios needed for redemptions in coming months/year? If they are assuming people will transfer large amounts of Nectar points into avios?

    • meta says:

      If they do, everyone will start transferring them to Nectar at 0.8p as they won’t see the value in Avios. BA then loses massively as they have to pay Nectar.

  • NFH says:

    I buy almost all my food from Sainsbury’s. I haven’t redeemed any Nectar points since Sainsbury’s and British Airways went their separate ways in circa 2001, because I hoped that their partnership would resume at some point. I was right, but it has taken 20 years! As a result, I now have 138,629 Nectar points, which are worth 86,643 Avios. I expected more Avios after 20 years of food shopping though.

    • Will says:

      I earnt 24,000 Nectar in the last 10 months, and around 10,000 in the year before and that’s only on small shops, not the weekly. just shows how the app offers add up. NFH, I hope you now look at the app as you could have done so much better I think. The recent Nectar Christmas bonus also was very generous, as was the ShopSmart 1500 bonus. Note that in my experience all paper vouchers are valid for all Nectar cardholders, not just the account printed on the voucher. I expect to see many HFP readers scraping them off the floor in future…

      • Anuj says:

        This is the real gem of a comment, will definitely pick the uncollected ones up and give a try. Thanks

  • Scott says:

    If Waitrose had been the new partner, I bet loads here would have been moaning that they would have to spend £100 to get 1000 Avios Vs. whatever at some other supermarket.

    At the end of the day, if you shop there anyway, the Avios will be an added bonus. Maybe you’ll get earn loads through spend / bonuses etc., maybe less than at Tesco or wherever.

    If you feel Aldi is £10 cheaper, then shop there and collect Avios through shopping portals, flying whenever you can and so on.

    No partner will ever satisfy everyone – sure I would have moaned about no Waitrose stores near me and that it would be practically zero use to me.

    I personally buy a few items at Sainsbury and they consistently give me a decent number of bonus points on them. Adds a few £ a week to my balance for a £10-£15 spend on things I regularly buy things such as sausage rolls for lunch, fresh raspberries, vegetables etc. Yes, these extra points have encouraged me to shop there, and I don’t doubt they’ll get more custom from me in the long run.

    I also like certain items from Tesco and won’t stop shopping there if their prices and ranges suit me better at the time. Can still collect CC points, and if Virgin keep going, slowly build up a balance with them.

    Petrol is something I might buy more at from Sainsbury now. 20-30 points on a tank of fuel every week adds up and it makes no difference to my car what brand goes in it to be honest. Probably nearer my house as well and in the town centre, so no driving 4 miles each way in the opposite direction for a Tesco petrol station.

    Hopefully I can fly again soon and get back to picking up 18-25k, or whatever, for USA flights and shopping will be just be something to help nudge things along.

    • rob(staaaar) says:

      @Scott: Well said. TBH, I consider myself, what I think MSE used to call, a supermarket ‘tart’. Luckily, I have all and sundry near to me, so as long as it’s on my way to/from (wherever) I’ll go to which ever has a deal on at that time…

  • Jimmy says:

    Unless im missing something – converting avios to nectar then waiting for double up (is it every Christmas) is much better value?

    • Scott says:

      I thought you could only “double up” up to £30 or £40?

      • ChrisC says:

        last year max was converting nectar to £50 which was doubled to £100 to be spent on a limited range of items.

    • Rob says:

      Up to the limit am allowed, yes.

    • Jimmy says:

      Ah forgot about the cap. Still £100 off something isn’t too bad considering the small outlay of avios. Did this include spirits?

  • Will says:

    Let’s face it the game was up at Tesco with the demise of Tesco direct. Became very hard to earn anything significant.

    Although the earn rate here is still poor, the ability to cash in avios is brilliant.

    If there is a double up on eBay you could effectively turn 100k Avios into £1600, 1 million into £16k (minus round trip transaction fees)

    You could just buy something off your partner on eBay, they give it to her back as a gift for example.

    At those rates, long haul avios makes very little sense as opposed to using cash without restriction of airline or avios availability.

    • kitten says:

      You make a good point Will.

      I really don’t see how Tesco can complain.

      They killed Boost, eliminated almost every useful partner (probably by demanding partners give Tesco too-greedy discount internal pricing for Clubcard redemptions), reduced value from 4x to mainly 2x where they didn’t eliminate most useful things you could use your Clubcard points for. Then just to make sure they eliminated Tesco Direct.

      Tesco really, really can’t complain when they gutted their own scheme.

    • avstar says:

      there hasnt been an ebay double up for many years now….

  • Callum says:

    The bonus points offers I get from Sainsbury’s very rarely, if ever, make up for the fact it’s more expensive.

    It doesn’t seem like a bad scheme at all, but I think you’re way overselling it.

    • Peter K says:

      +1 I used to shop at the local Sainsbury’s a lot but the quality was lower than the local Tesco but the prices higher.
      Aldi and Lidl much cheaper. No other big supermarkets near me. Online they are not the best option either for me.

      Sainsbury’s is way down my list. Having said that, post COVID worries I’ll pop in for a few bonus points (2023??).

    • Callum says:

      That’s a very good point – I tend to get way more than 0.8p per avíos on my redemptions so I was more interested in the other way – but that could drastically change when my last Lloyds voucher is used up.

      Though a huge chunk of mine come from Tesco. If my calculations were correct, it seems I’d effectively be turning £1 of Tesco vouchers into 96p of Nectar points. Might still be worth it for some, but I’d personally get more use in Tesco anyway.

      • Callum says:

        I take that back – I used the wrong conversion rates. Seems you’d get much more in Nectar.

  • Rob says:

    I was looking at the Business Traveller story on this, and they use one of the press images we didn’t use – a picture of the Nectar logo with an arrow pointing TOWARDS Avios. There is no arrow pointing in the other direction.

    This implies that Avios see this as a one-way partnership, but for some reason they thought they’d let you transfer both ways. I’m not convinced that the bulk of transfers won’t be the other way.

    • Jimbob says:

      Relatively Avios rich and at 0.8p a point, I tend to agree with you.
      And any double up promotion, then it’s a no brainer

      • Andrew says:

        Totally agree. Especially given the current situation.

      • Tom says:

        Parents sitting on several hundred thousand Avios (almost entirely from Tesco clubcard over the years). Not going to read this sort of blog, but are put off by the taxes and charges on LH economy and wouldn’t really go for business. But do (occasionally) shop at Sainsburys.

        I suspect they won’t be the only ones in that situation.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          All of a sudden, given the big rush to get Clubcard points into Avios at the start of the month – has become a Clubcard to Nectar transfer for a number of people with big balances!

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