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Is it worth spending your Avios on wine and champagne via ba.com?

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Wine delivery company Laithwaites is an Avios redemption partner.  With Christmas on the horizon and your flying potentially still symied until next year, you may be tempted by the idea of cashing in some Avios for a few bottles.

Should you use Avios to buy wine?

To redeem your Avios for wine or champagne, you must go to this page of ba.com. This is what you will see:

Avios for wine

The majority of options are wine cases, but you are also able to use Avios to buy a variety of single bottles and spirits.

The good news is that the alcohol is genuinely ‘free’.  You don’t need to pay a penny of postage.  Simply order online and your alcohol will be delivered to your door “within 7 days”.

Does wine represent good value for your Avios?

Now, of course, the question you should ask is : “Is this good value for my Avios?”.  And, to be honest, the answer is usually “No”.

You may think that this is not the point. If you are Avios-rich, trading in a few for a nice treat is a good way to go.  Last year one of our readers, with far more Avios than he needed, cashed in a large number for a LOT of champagne – the photo below is only part of it – to hedge his bets over BA not surviving coronavirus:

The mixed cases differ from those offered on ‘The Wine Flyer’ so it is difficult to compare prices.  However, it is easy to compare single bottles. For example:

This is Laurent-Perrier Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature champagne.  It costs 13,300 Avios or £70.  This works out at 0.52p per Avios which is roughly what you would expect from an Avios partner redemption.

A 70cl bottle of Sipsmith Gin sets you back 7,100 Avios.  Sipsmith is heavily discounted by the supermarkets, however, and is available for £22.50 at Amazon (click here).  This works out at just 0.32p per Avios, although the Avios option does come with delivery.

You also have the option to reduce the Avios component with a cash supplement as you would on a flight redemption. Taking the Laurent-Perrier option above, the choices are (based on a cash price of £70):

  • 10,000 Avios + £20 = 0.5p per Avios
  • 7,300 Avios + £35 = 0.48p
  • 5,300 Avios + £45 = 0.47p
  • 4,000 Avios + £50 = 0.5p
  • 1,300 Avios + £65 = 0.38p

It doesn’t get any better if you mix and match.

Nectar Avios light

Nectar has changed the game, however

From 21st January, British Airways Avios points have been freely transferable into Nectar points. You can find out more and link your accounts on ba.com here.

The transfer rate is 1 Avios to 1.6 Nectar points.

In 99% of cases, a Nectar point is worth 0.5p when you redeem it. This is what you get if you spend them at Sainsbury’sArgos or eBay.

This means that 1 Avios is worth 0.8p (0.5p x 1.6) when redeemed for Nectar points.

You are GUARANTEED to get 0.8p of value per Avios if you transfer them to Nectar, and then spend them in Sainsbury’s, Argos or on eBay.

There is virtually no reason, at all, to spend Avios on anything via ba.com that gets you under 0.8p of value. Not wine, not hotels, not seat selection, not car hire.

You shouldn’t be redeeming Avios for wine via ba.com at all. If you really want to get a few decent bottles from your Avios, move them to Nectar and pop down to Sainsbury’s.

Comments (28)

  • cinereus says:

    Bet that champagne-rich reader is kicking themselves now. Although, if they had that many Avios, hedging a little was probably wise.

    • James says:

      It also depends on how much your time is worth to you. Sainsbury is a little more to redeem then the wine on ba.com

  • Dogger 10 says:

    ……and why not wait until Sainsbury’s is doing 25% off six or more bottles too?😊

    • AspirationalFlyer says:

      I was thinking that too. Personally not a champagne snob or expert so the sub £25 bottles with a further 25% off is a strong deal for me!

  • Samuel says:

    That Champagne guy will regret it, not only for the Avios he now cannot redeem anymore but also because Champagne does not stay good for that long. Unless he drinks virtually every day a bottle, that champagne will lose its taste.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      How long does it normally keep for? I have a bottle in the cupboard, perhaps I should put it in the fridge and have it tonight

      • Cambridge Dad says:

        >5 years non-vintage. >10 years vintage, or so the producers say. However, take that with a large pinch of salt. Guess who says change mattresses every 8 years? Mattress companies. Guess who says replace tyres, even if legal and not particularly worn, every 5-6 years? Tyre companies and Halfords.

        • Rui N. says:

          Tyres should be changed every 4 years even if they would never were driven on. That’s why there are regulations mandating that the manufacturing date is impressed on the tyres themselves.

          • Cambridge Dad says:

            You’re entitled to your opinion. But kindly explain why under EU rules (which presumably UK hasn’t changed yet) tyres are considered ‘new’ (and can be sold as ‘new’) for the first 5 years after they were produced.

            There are many thousands of people driving limited miles a year in very old tyres on prized vintage vehicles. Perfectly safely; the only certain way to know if a tyre needs replacing is to examine it for wear, not just the tread but the sidewalls as well.

            I reluctantly changed some 14YO tyres this summer: they were perfectly legal and would have gone on for a few more years (limited mileage vehicle) – but they were winter/ snow tyres and the bit of the tread that crunches through snow was getting a bit worn and I didn’t fancy sliding about this winter. I was very pleased to find 4 heavily discounted 205/60R15 Continental CONTI TS860 made in 2017 – discounted for ‘your’ reason, ie dot 2017 & certain people don’t like the idea of driving on slightly older tyres, whether they are safe and legal or not. My 2017 tyres would have been stored perfectly in the warehouse according to manufacturer’s instructions – and indeed they were absolutely pristine and had the new tyre smell once unwrapped.

          • the_real_a says:

            I thought over time the rubber goes brittle? Certainly found that older tyres are far more prone to side holes/damage from curbs and punctures from screws etc. Having said that, i would imagine most drivers only use 20-30% of the tyres rated envelope – so for most people they could safely drive on old tyres even if they are heavily degraded from their factory specifications.

          • Ken says:

            4 years?

            That’s nonsense.

            Even tyre manufacturers don’t recommend that (they suggest ten).

            Tyres can be manufactured and sold as new up to 5 years after they have been produced.
            The dot code was introduced to allow recalls where there was a manufacturing problem.

            It’s only since this year that HGV tyres must be less than 10 years old

          • TGLoyalty says:

            That’s not true when on a car. believe they only just made it a law that trucks can’t have tyres old than 10 yrs old on the front steering axle

            From 1 February 2021 Construction and Use Regulations will not allow tyres aged over 10 years old to be used on the front steered axles of HGVs, buses, coaches or all single wheels fitted to a minibus (9 to 16 passenger seats).

          • R01 says:

            Had to check I wasn’t on the autotrader message board for a minute

          • Cambridge Dad says:

            Are you a car owner, R01? No problem, please keep posting your stuff, it might give us food for thought.

    • Jonathan says:

      Disagree completely with this. Most decent non-vintage (Bollinger, LP, Veuve etc) will improve for 2-3 years then reach a nice plateau for another 3-4 years if you keep it somewhere dark & with a reasonably stable temperature that doesn’t exceed 18-20 degrees.

      • Jonathan says:

        That was a response to Samuel. I buy my NV champagne 2-3 years ahead of anticipated consumption (although I’m lucky enough to have somewhere suitable to store). If I serve a “fresh” bottle alongside a 2 year old of the same brand the aged always gets better feedback. The acidity will mellow slightly & it develops a richer taste profile. Google it & you’ll see all the experts agree.

    • MD says:

      Absolute nonsense Samuel. Even if not stored in optimum wine cellaring conditions, as long as he keeps it in a cooler, reasonably constant temperature part of the house (and it looks like he has it in a cupboard or part of the garage) champagne will last for at least a few years.

      Even basic NV champagne will not just last, it will actually improve with 3-4 years extra bottle aging by becoming more rich and complex (depends on the style of champagne you like I guess). There is a sweet spot of course and it will fall of a cliff eventually. Good vintage champagne will evolve, mostly favourably, over decades. So, even if he has double that amount or more, he has years to get through it, it’ll be fine.

      • Lou says:

        I had a bottle of M&C that I got for my 21st… Some time ago… Ahem… It was dated 1998 and eventually drunk in 2017. Didn’t taste anything like champagne, but it was very tasty, very much like a dessert wine

  • DeB20 says:

    Are you certain that Nectar Points can be used to pay for champagne at Sainsburys? Three times in the last month, it hasn’t worked for me.

    For example, normal grocery shopping basket £25 and a bottle of £50 champagne added in on top of that. The maximum redemption allowed was Nectar Points worth £25. My points balance was worth £275+ at that point of time.

    Several supervisors came to the till and couldn’t figure out what was going on. They took photos of the screen and sent it back to their IT team.

    When I contacted the Nectar support team, they said try again. Tried two more times over a period of two weeks, the results were the same, except that the supervisors and duty manager were physically scratching their heads each time.

    The champagne cuvées were Laurent Perrier Millésimé 2008 and Taittinger NV rosé. Also tried with a bottle of cheap Sainsburys NV in the presence of the supervisors. Same result ie points could not be used for the champagne, but could be used for the basket of groceries.

    • Rob says:

      Are you in Scotland? The rules on paying for alcohol are different there.

      • DeB20 says:

        No Rob, I’m in your neighbourhood! Sainsburys Cromwell Road is where I’ve had my adventures.

        They even made me change self-service tills, use a manned till, use the customer service desk. Same story.

        • BSI1978 says:

          Self service checkout won’t let you use more than £25 of Nectar points, but you absolutely can use more than this for booze at the manned checkouts. I’ve done so a few times when availing of the wine 25% offer but also on beer/gin.

  • Martin says:

    It’s based on a law where the champagne comes from, like sherry.
    Which means it can’t be sold below a minimum cash price unless the name is changed and where it is produced.
    Hence you can’t use vouchers, even Nectar points legally to purchase it.
    Sainsburys have been challenged in court from producers over the Nectar double up as port and sherry is included but legacy can’t discount it

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