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‘Avios to Nectar’ online transfers return at 9am Wednesday

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Here’s some exciting news, at least in the context of the rest of the news so far this week.

Online transfers of Avios into Nectar points are due to return at 9am, Wednesday 21st.

Here is a ba.com screenshot to prove it:

'Avios to Nectar' online transfers return at 9am Wednesday

Let’s fill in the background here for the benefit of new readers.

In January 2021, Avios launched a new partnership with Nectar. This followed the termination of the existing deal with Tesco and its Clubcard scheme.

We were initially a little underwhelmed, because Nectar had historically been a little dull with few opportunities to earn and little scope for gamification. What appeared, however, was more interesting than we anticipated.

Avios and Nectar set up a two way transfer option:

  • 250 Avios got you 400 Nectar points
  • 400 Nectar points got you 250 Avios

You could move points, instantly, online, in either direction, as many times as you wanted.

Here is the key. 1 Nectar point is worth 0.5p. This is what you get if you spend them at Sainsburys, Argos, eBay.co.uk or any other partner. So ….

  • If 250 Avios get you 400 Nectar points …..
  • ….. then 250 Avios are now worth £2 cash, as long as you spend it in Sainsburys, Argos, eBay.co.uk etc
'Avios to Nectar' online transfers return at 9am Wednesday

Avios suddenly got a ‘floor value’ – and it was very high. You could now collect Avios knowing that you could get at least 0.8p for them. If you struggled to get the flights you wanted, there was an easy way out.

Of course, creating a 0.8p floor value created a lot of issues for British Airways. There are plenty of Avios redemptions which only get you 0.5p per point – redeeming for car hire, wine, ‘experiences’, BA seat selection, luggage fees, hotels etc. If you are based in the UK, you’d be pretty dim to redeem for any of those things at 0.5p per Avios when Nectar offers 0.8p.

A lot of HfP readers, faced with a lack of long-haul travel, began to empty out Avios balances into Nectar. It helped that Argos increased its transaction limit, letting you redeem £500-worth of Nectar points in one go.

There were security problems, however

Unfortunately, there were security holes in the Avios to Nectar transfer process. You could link any Nectar card to any Avios account, with no requirement for the name, address or email to match. You could even link and unlink the same Nectar card from multiple Avios accounts.

I don’t want to say ‘I told you so’, but I did tell you so. I wrote this article – “Is your Avios account now at greater risk from hackers?” – on 1st February. On 6th February, the first Head for Points reader reported Nectar fraud. On 20th February, The Sunday Times followed up with this story (paywall) featuring various HfP readers. Online transfers from Avios to Nectar were suspended.

There are a lot of British Airways Executive Club account numbers and passwords for sale on the dark web, as we reported here. Historically they were not hugely useful.

Only a fool books a flight with stolen Avios, using their own credit card to pay the taxes and risking arrest at the airport. Some fraudsters had success using stolen Avios to book hotel rooms, but it only really worked if you booked for an immediate (same day) stay which could be completed before anyone noticed the points were gone.

Nectar changed the game though. You could create a new Nectar account online, link it to a hacked British Airways account and drain the Avios, subject to the 50,000 points monthly cap. You could immediately redeem the points in Sainsburys, buy a high value item for resale from Argos or, even better, use it as eBay credit to buy an item from yourself or an accomplice.

Anyway ….

Let’s hope that we can now put all this behind us. Hopefully, from Wednesday morning, we can transfer Avios back and forth to Nectar without having to call BA and wait for 10 days. I am assuming that 2FA (two factor authentication) will be in place.

You can convert your Avios into Nectar, or vice versa, on this page of ba.com.

Thanks to Tim for this.

PS. If you have moved Nectar points into Avios this month to enter the current competition, do not initiate a move in the other direction before 29th July. It will invalidate your competition entry.

Comments (49)

  • BSI1978 says:

    I’d love to see/know the number of Avios ultimately transferred out on August 1st or 2nd….

  • CarpalTravel says:

    “Only a fool books a flight with stolen Avios, using their own credit card to pay the taxes and risking arrest at the airport.”

    You’d think that, makes sense. A few years back my friends debit card got stolen and used to pay for the thief’s vehicle tax. An easy case to close you’d think, no. No interest from the bank or the police. Mental and I really, really hope that lethargic, indifferent attitude has changed.

    • John says:

      More likely they use a stolen credit card and sell the ticket to another fool

      • Rob says:

        … who themselves would have to fly within a few hours of ticketing, because the Avios theft may be spotted and the booking details would be in the original holders account.

        Not saying it doesn’t happen – it does – but there are easier ways to make money. I think Laithwaites has been the biggest beneficiary of Avios fraud historically.

  • Mike says:

    Do we think that there will be bonus periods when increased AVIOS to NECTAR are offered

    • Genghis says:

      Given the potential for a positive feedback loop of generating unlimited points, I think not.

      Unless it coincides with a decrease in the nectar to avios ratio.

    • Rob says:

      No, because logically every Nectar holder would convert, get the bonus then move back.

  • Mark LLL says:

    Hope this working for others.
    Pesky transfer page is just giving me the message ‘We are sorry!
    We are improving our website at the moment. Please come back later.

  • Laura says:

    Hello!

    Thanks for this.

    Extra steps seemed to be entering the account holder’s date of birth and then clicking on a link in an email.

    Still ten days wait for transfer though!

    Any ideas of what to do with an orphaned 228 avios? It’s my grandad’s account and he only accidentally earnt avios through his Lloyd’s credit card, so unlikely to earn more, unless there’s an easy way I can earn 22 avios for him.

    Thanks!

  • James says:

    Annoyingly the monthly limit seems to apply to the month the transfer actually happened, not the month it was requested in, which is a real pain given the 10 day turnaround. So a request made at the end of June but only actually actioned in July means a new request can’t be made until August.

    I’ve seen other comments suggesting the process of calling was easy – it wasn’t. I once gave up after 50 minutes waiting on hold and when I did manage to speak to someone on another call it took 40 minutes to get through.

  • PaulH says:

    great! attempted to exchange avios to nectar.. asked for DOB which I duly entered… says ‘it does not match” – (but it does!) max attempts used and cannot try again for 72 hours!,,,, anybody else had this problem …

    • Frances says:

      I have had this problem as well….makes you wonder how safe your data is with BA if they can’t get your DOB right.
      I did double check in my profile and it is correct there.

      • PaulH says:

        …. ditto… DOB is correct on my exec — my OH transfer went thru fine and DOB was accepted….

    • Andrew Mc says:

      +1. What a shambles.

  • Richard says:

    Same problem here with them claiming my DOB doesn’t match when it’s correct on my exec club profile and I’m now locked out for 72 hours. A shambles, and I’m not convinced entering a DOB is a particularly strong bit of extra security anyway given how long its taken them to come up with it!

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