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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 (July 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 (546)

  • David Quinn says:

    Hi Rob,

    My wife and I have a household Avios account, and she has a Nectar card. Would we only be able to transfer Avios up to the value of her part of the Household Avios account to Nectar?

  • Dr C says:

    Does anyone know if you can buy gift cards at Sainsbury’s using the self checkout, I know that smart shop won’t work but haven’t tried the self checkout yet?

    • Alex says:

      i have managed to do it before no issue, like most self checkouts buying them on their own can be an issue because the scales can’t pick up the weight. During a shop not an issue, or buy some choc bars etc while doing it.

    • avstar says:

      yes you can, you dont even need to buy something else for weight on the scales. nosey staff will say it cant be done but not true at all. make sure you look out for the activation slips though and confirm.

  • Carole says:

    I have just spent £83 on Sainsbury’s Click and Collect. I received 83 Nectar points, plus 900 bonus Nectar points which will give me far more Avios points than if I had shopped in Tesco. I will also receive £12.65 back from three grocery shopping apps. I’m smiling.

    • Aston100 says:

      How are you getting the bonus from 3 shopping trips?
      I presume it is some kind of sign-up bonus for new people?

      • avstar says:

        shopmium, checkoutsmart, cb sites in-store etc. purchase with up to 100% rebate offers

    • Aston100 says:

      My 6 saved offers in the nectar app add up to 260 points.
      Are there some additional points on certain products in-store that are not on the app?

      • Alex D says:

        Also interested in the apps you used?

        @Aston100 – I currently have 12 offers saved to my card. You might find you pick up more, the more you use as such.

        • Aston100 says:

          Fair enough. I rarely shop at Sainsburys as there are alternative supermarkets nearby.
          I would have thought they’d try really hard to entice me back via lots of offers?
          I’ve had a nectar card for donkeys years with a very small nectar balance, so they know my loyalty can be bought.

          • Super Secret Stuff says:

            Nectar is basically like a game, the more you use it the more you get. If you don’t get a bonus one time, they even give you a scratch card thing to get some bonus points.

            Sainsbury’s strategy for Nectar appears to try and make it the Tinder of loyalty programmes (like a game, addictive for some people, easy to use and full of noises that are really satisfyingly rewarding)

    • Jane says:

      So the bonus points work on click and collect but not home delivery?? Or am I wrong and they do work for delivery??

  • Rick MacLeod says:

    Sadly, this new partner doesn’t really work for me. I live in Central Scotland, and whilst I can be in Glasgow, Edinburgh, , Stirling within 1 hour, there are literally NO Sainsbury’s near me (compared to Tesco, who have perhaps 30 stores in this region). As I am currently being governed by a small Troll, who has banned me from leaving my own region for reasons of health and safety, this new partnership does not make me happy!!!
    I would like my old grandfathered Tesco rate back please (£2.50 Clubcard = 800 Avios) …

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      I’m in central Scotland and there’s no Tesco near me – but a Sainsbury just a mile away. I could even walk there as part of my daily exercise – and not break any of BoBo the Clown’s rules as well as Nicola’s!

  • Carole says:

    I like the new Nectar app as I get offers for products that I buy frequently. I received 900 bonus points yesterday a click and collect shop (I have also received points on a delivery recently). The points I received yesterday were for carrots, pears, sweet potatoes, plums, Caesar salad, blueberries, oranges, fromage frais, oatcakes, milk, eggs and lambs’ liver. I really appreciate that most of the offers are on healthy produce.

    I receive the week’s new offers on a Thursday but the special offers for the week before continue until the following day, so if I shop or book an internet shop for the Friday, I can take advantage of any offers I have left from the previous week.

    I use the Checkoutmart, Shopmium and GreenJinn shopping apps. GreenJinn is now my favourite as many of its offers are on healthy foods including fruit and vegetables. I have had a total of £858 back from Checkoutsmart, £681 from Shopmium and £300 from GreenJinn.

  • Cuchlainn says:

    Nectar MC CCs and Curve :
    ( If and when they ever fix my Curve card, four months later and 4 weeks since last communication via app !! ) are there any charges for forex purchases or ATM withdrawals using Curve with one of the Nectar MC Cards underneath ?

  • The uncivil servant says:

    Make hay while the sun shines. What price a nectar devaluation in the next 6 months?

    • Rob says:

      Unlikely because it will annnoy the 90% of Sainsburys customers who have no interest in Avios.

  • Tomasz says:

    I will finally be able to use my 10 years old bag of Nectar for something 🙂 and I am switching from Tesco groceries and petrol to Sainsbury 🙂

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