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:
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 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.
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.
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.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 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:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:
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.)