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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)

  • Novice says:

    I was looking at nectar partners to see the difference in online shopping via avios portal vs nectar; Have I got this wrong, a lot of the companies that are on ba executive portal give more Avios per £ than nectar gives in same place???

    Mum has a nectar stash but I’m going to be new to nectar so I’m checking it out.

    • Alex says:

      Things like this could potentially change over coming weeks as they notice certain sites offer different rates. There is for example a Sainsbury’s extension for web browsers which will notify you if you can earn nectar points at said retailer. For example ASOS is often on BA with 10/£1 but you can also earn nectar so not sure if you’d be able to double dip on purchases?

      • Dr C says:

        I don’t see it changing just because of the tie up, they are still separate companies afaik

        • Novice says:

          It requires a lot of time imo then. Every time a person wants to shop online you’d have to check both to see Avios/£ and Nectar/£ difference. Not sure I’ll be happy to waste the time.

          • Dr C says:

            True so just use one then.

          • Novice says:

            @Dr C,

            Yes but it would be great if hfp could actually do a quick analysis and let us know which works out better for points collecting as that is the whole point of this site. LOL

          • Rob says:

            But the rates change literally daily ….

          • Dan says:

            So you want someone to spend time to do the work for you when it really only takes a couple of minutes to do yourself?

          • Novice says:

            @Rob, I mean sort of a general analysis. When I was checking it out as mentioned before, I honestly can say confidently that in my opinion if shopping online it is better to use the Avios portal. But, this is based on my initial sweep of partner companies’ rates.

          • Novice says:

            But, I’m too lazy to be an expert in points-collecting-to-the-maximum. So, I wanted to ask here for opinions.

          • Dan says:

            They would literally have to make edits every week since the earning rate fluctuate so much. It also won’t be a general analysis since there are over 800 retailers on the site – it would take a lifetime for Rob & team to do what you are suggesting – all for the benefit of a couple of Avios LOL.

            If you have something you want to buy, spend a 10 seconds on the BA site and then the nectar site – you can then literally compare one against the other. Won’t take any expert an points/miles to do this.

          • Genghis says:

            The biggest risk is clawback for no valid reason. It’s why I stopped using them. Can points be clawed back with this Nectar portal?

          • kitten says:

            from reports though you’d have to calculate 30-60% less earned factor on any BA shopping portal purchase when comparing to earning Nectar. Plus delays in crediting from some retailers and the number of reports of snatchbacks of avios earned by BA.g

  • Alex says:

    Looked at my Nectar offers today – 720 additional points if I were to buy each items(all items we normally buy) plus around the £50/60 total shop cost is pretty good! So circa 800NP’s = 500 Avios on one shop.

  • Alex says:

    Curious about nectar/EBay. I rarely use eBay over Amazon I must admit but T&C’s say you can convert 40,000NP’s to £200 voucher. You can apply multiple vouchers to purchases over £10(inc postage). So let’s say you have 400,000NP’s and get £2000 in vouchers. What stops you buying a £2000 teatowel which is being sold by your wife. How much money would she actually get paid? Even if it’s £1990 – that’s now hard cash in your account so surely it’s worth it?

    • Dr C says:

      Well you could do this, but you are looking at 10%-15% ebay fees, then you have the tax implications for your wife selling the tea towels and relevant paperwork. I think you would be looking at about a 30-40% loss doing that, nothing wrong with it but its not always as lucrative.

      A better idea would be to not necessarily aim for cash but instead use the nectar points to acquire goods or service that you would be paying for anyway.

      • Alex says:

        eBay often offer £1 selling days though don’t they? I’m more thinking as a one off thing to change out a large sum and then ongoing earning for goods/services

        • Freddy says:

          Wouldn’t worry about tax but paypal charge 3.4% – I’m planning on just using the money for my groceries for the next few months

          • Alex says:

            I thought you can now have it paid directly into your bank instead of via PayPal?

          • Dr C says:

            Paypal not involved anymore.

          • Novice says:

            Paypal owns Ebay. I think you do have to give PayPal as a method when selling or buying but I must admit I’m not an Ebay user. I use Amazon for things I don’t buy direct from companies (I prefer direct best). I’m a bit miffed that Amazon isn’t a partner with anyone or it would be awesome.

          • Novice says:

            Or I think it is other way around Ebay owns PayPal.

          • Rob says:

            eBay used to own Paypal and then separated it off – and then announced a plan to drop Paypal.

          • Novice says:

            You learn something new everyday.

        • Dr C says:

          Most fees are final value fee and payment processing fee, you could always try and see how it goes.

          • Lumma says:

            I’ve currently got an offer on my eBay account for £1 max final value fee with no insertion fee. So I do believe this would cost only £1 to change to cash as it costs nothing to withdraw the money anymore

        • Pablo says:

          He’d get £1999 if the tea towel was listed during the £1 promo. No more PayPal fees.

  • Liz says:

    You have to buy the items specifically with Nectar. Our offers regularly show 225g raspberries. Our Sainbury’s do not sell a pack of 225g . I bought 2 x 150g instead to test it out but it didn’t trigger the bonus. Used to have the same problem with the Sainsbury’s coupons offers a few years back.

  • Dr C says:

    Good point

  • Paz says:

    To me this looks awesome as can use Avios at Sainsbury’s, where we do the bulk of our supermarket shopping.
    Just a word of warning, if you have a physical Nectar card and it’s lost/stolen, anyone else can use that card for shopping (I don’t think it requires a pin/authorisation). So either only transfer small amounts of Avios at a time so the Nectar balance is sufficient for your upcoming shopping, or just use the Nectar (and possibly Sainsbury’s smart shop) app on your phone.

    • Alex D says:

      I must admit I never carry an actual nectar card for this reason as I’ve heard lots of horror stories. I always use my phone, means I check my offers aswell so I don’t forget. I’d also say maybe transfer out your nectar points to avios and transfer back once you have a use for them. Keeps them more “secure”

  • Freddy says:

    Nectar is looking more flexible compared to the Amex MR cards now! Either quasi-cash or a slight uplift for avios points. New must-have card?

    • Rob says:

      Depends if you consider Avios or 0.8p (per £1) via Nectar to be more flexible than Membership Rewards points.

      I accept that Avios is derisked now, since you have a valuable Plan B, but some risk is there. It would be easy to put an annual cap on Avios to Nectar transfers for example.

  • Will says:

    Let’s take this up a level…given Rob’s background… One to consider if you are a little bored of the 100 nectar point bonuses and all this talk of quasi-cash….what do you expect to devalue first or fastest: Nectar, Avios, GBP, USD, FTSE, TSLA or BTC? Is your stored value safe anywhere?

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