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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)

  • Lux says:

    I’ve tried hard to think of a Sir Keith Mills pun, without success. But he really should be seen as the grandfather of this. The circle of loyalty life.

    Would be fascinating to know the financial aspect of this, presuming BA will need to buy Nectar points for transfers. They should have engaged your consultancy offer Rob!

  • Baji Nahid says:

    i cant remember as its been a while but do you still get those print out vouchers of extra bonus nectar points on your next shop?

    They really do give out nectar points like confetti however I do wonder if that would change post Avios deal.

    • ChrisC says:

      I occasionally have some vouchers thrown at me by the till but quality of them varies.

      Double or triple points on the next shop is most common as are bonus points to buy more ofthe things I’ve just bought.

      But often the use by date is pretty short so not always useful.

      I find the app offers more relevant.

  • Greg says:

    Am I missing something here? Am I right in that 9500 Nectar points, works out to 5930 be avios. The shop value of 9500 is £47.50. Surely those who converted from clubcard vouchers to avios had a better rate as £47.50 in clubcard vouchers became 11,400 avios? I did read the bit about not having to spend as much to get more Nectar points, by using the Nectar app to get bonus points, but apart from that, aren’t we getting worse value with this new partner?

    • Neil says:

      No, as the bonus points on the app are far more frequent and generous than Tesco.

      They appear every Friday around about 10am , in my case I get offered around about 1000 bonus points. Examples include : 50 points for a banana , 150 points for a chilli con carne ready meal, 125 for sliced turkey breast.

    • DT says:

      The rate is worse on paper, in practice it’s better though (until offers dry up), nectar bonuses are for things you regularly buy. No need to go out of your way to buy things specifically for points and you could still get around 800 points for a £20 shop. That’s 500 Avios for £20

      Also you can now get the Nectar MC for 10,000 NP with £400 Sainsbo spend in 2 months

    • Jimbob says:

      The point you’re missing is the conversion the other way.

      If you are sitting on 1M Avios with no where to fly for the next 12 months, suddenly you have £8k in almost cash equivalent, that you can use in Sainsbury’s, eBay or Argos.

      Then should you change your mind, you can transfer back to Avios with no penalty

    • Andrew says:

      And for a solo traveller – Avios use for flights no longer works – you’d be paying more for an Avios flight when you factor in the 0.8p/Avios, the taxes/charges and the 0.8p/Avios earned back for a cash ticket. Perhaps we will finally see the 2for1 change to a 2×50% off voucher.

      • Neil says:

        Unless of course you are using them on RFS short haul , then avios are very useful.

  • Jimbob says:

    Just need HSBC to announce a bonus for Avios transfers 👍

  • IW says:

    Just logged into my Nectar account to find out that it’s been closed as it’s been inactive for more than 12 months!

  • jjh4yb says:

    I had been hoping for the Avios and Nectar partnership and the two way opportunity is more than I expected.

    I have a concern around the security of Nectar and that is there have been reports of Nectar points disappearing from accounts. I am wondering if transferring Nectar points to Avios is secure or do Avios points now have increased vulnerability.

    • Rob says:

      Avios are HUGELY more vulnerable now. The reason is that hacking Avios accounts was pointless – your chance of booking a flight and getting to the airport (and then showing your passport) before being noticed was nil.

      A fraudster can now move Avios to an anonymous Nectar account where th they can be used for cash.

  • Andrew says:

    To note – the maximum you can redeem off an item in Argos is £200 – so if you want to redeem more then you can shop on the Argos eBay store.

    • Alex says:

      I’m curious as never done it, if you get something for the max £200 in Argos and then return it. Do you get re-credit with nectar points, store credit or refunded? If store credit you could use this to buy bigger ticket items

      • Rick MacLeod says:

        Sadly, any returns to Argos ( having been purchased using Nectar Points) are returned in an Argos gift card, NOT back to Nectar Points, so caveat emptor ….. I found out the hard way a couple of months ago! Very vague information during the purchase process online, but essentially it stated that any goods returned would be refunded to the original method of purchase. Somewhere deep in the Ts & Cs it mentioned Nectar Points being a random exception!

  • Gary Arnold says:

    Hi Rob great article as ever, do you know if you can move Avios not earned in Sainsbury’s back to Nectar and what about the Avios earned prior to Sainsbury’s becoming the partner ? Cheers Gary

    • Rob says:

      You can move anything into Nectar – your whole balance if you wish.

      • @soundnomad says:

        There is a good reason one might want to do this and that is if the airline is going bust or Avios devalues. More likely than sainsbury going bust. This is a potential game changer for me.. cheers for great article Rob.

    • Dr C says:

      Once its in either Nectar or Avios then it is the same regardless of where it was earned previously

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