The Wine Flyer, the new British Airways Avios-earning wine shop, is now live. The website is here. The Wine Flyer replaces the old British Airways / Laithwaites wine partnership.
We covered The Wine Flyer in this article. In summary, if you pay cash for your wine, you will earn:
- 5 Avios per £1 spent for one-off purchases
- 10 Avios per £1 spent on subscriptions
A special introductory offer will be available until 31st December 2022, significantly boosting the Avios earning rates. In total, you’ll earn:
- 10 Avios per £1 on one-off purchases
- 15 Avios per £1 on subscriptions
Pricing isn’t bad compared to the supermarkets, at least when they are not running multi-buy offers, but there is a £7.99 delivery charge if you spend under £125.
You can now part-pay with Avios
It wasn’t available on the launch day, but the ability to part-pay with Avios is now available.
It’s not that simple, however. The ‘pence per Avios’ rate is not fixed and appears to have been set differently for each product. There is no way of seeing what the rate is without doing a dummy order.
The good news is that you will still earn Avios on the cash element. For security reasons, BA does not allow you to pay for your order with 100% Avios – it wants to see a credit card being used for a small part of the payment. This is likely to reduce fraudulent transactions using hacked Avios accounts.
What value do you get per Avios?
It’s fair to say that the website is still clunky.
As I said above, for security reasons, you are obliged to pay something with a credit card – you can’t use 100% Avios.
However, this is really screwed up:
- the slider lets you select a range between using 0% Avios and 100% with Avios – but when you try to pay 100%, you get a message saying it’s not allowed! See:
- the message – which appears to have been written by someone using Google Translate to get to English – says “You can’t spend full amount of redemption, since you need to pay the deliver (sic) fee, please reduce the redemption points”
- …. except that, when you spend over £125, there is no deliver(y) fee, which is confusing because you would therefore expect, based on the message, that you could pay 100% with points
This can be tidied up quickly although it really should have been dealt with pre-launch. Based on my dummy order for a £130 Wine Flyer White selection case of 12 bottles, the savings are:
- 17,105 Avios to save £117 = 0.68p
- 15,205 Avios to save £104 = 0.68p
- 13,305 Avios to save £91 = 0.68p etc
On this selection, you’re getting 0.68p per Avios, irrespective of how many Avios you use.
But it gets weirder
Normally I would have left my investigation there. However, a reader had sent me an email late last week saying that he had got 0.8p per Avios when he used some Avios at The Wine Flyer.
I was confused. I decided to start looking at other products.
This is what I found. The ‘pence per Avios’ rate varies depending on what you buy.
- Aviation American Gin gets you 0.65p per Avios
- Brewdog Jet Stream pale ale gets you 0.70p per Avios
- Prosecco Selection (12 bottles) gets you 0.80p per sale
I cannot see the logic here. It’s not as if the prosecco is in a sale or is marked as being on any sort of special offer. It’s just that, for no obvious reason, you get almost 20% more value for your Avios if you buy 12 mixed bottles of prosecco instead of 12 mixed bottles of white wine.
So …. is it worth using Avios at The Wine Flyer?
Since IAG Loyalty isn’t using a fixed value per Avios, there is no clear answer. There may be products which offer better value than 0.8p per Avios or worse value than 0.65p – let us know if you find any.
However, we can say this:
- it is a better deal – between 30% and 60% better – than the old Laithwaites wine deals, which used to get you around 0.5p per Avios
- it is a better deal, in almost all cases, than converting Avios to Nectar at the new rate (from 16th November) of 0.67p per Avios and buying wine at Sainsbury’s – although you will get better pricing at Sainsbury’s if you buy promotional bottles
- it is a worse deal, in almost all cases, than the old Avios to Nectar rate of 0.8p per Avios – if ‘Avios to Nectar’ hadn’t devalued, The Wine Flyer would be dead in the water
- it is a worse deal than using Avios for a premium cabin flight redemption, where we would be aiming for 1p+ – here is our reference article showing typical Avios redemption values for flights
You also need to factor in the fact that buying wine for cash via The Wine Flyer earns 10 Avios per £1 until the end of 2022. This makes a redemption even poorer value since you are giving up the additional Avios.
In general …. it’s not an appalling deal if you have a few dormant Avios sitting around, perhaps in the account of a family member, but it won’t be much better than converting them to Nectar – especially if you convert before 16th November and get 0.8p per Avios.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.