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DEVALUED: Avios to Nectar points conversion rate cut (again) from 11th March

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In a ‘surprising but perhaps not surprising’ move, British Airways has announced a further devaluation of the ‘Avios to Nectar’ exchange rate.

This is the second devaluation since the partnership was launched three years ago.

This is NOT a two way devaluation. The ratio from Nectar TO Avios is not changing.

What this means is that you will now take a substantial loss if you move Avios back and forth between the two schemes.

Avios to Nectar conversion rate devalued

What is changing?

Emails announcing this change went out to auto-converters yesterday. It is not yet reflected at ba.com or nectar.com.

When the partnership launched, 250 Avios converted into 400 Nectar points.

Since a Nectar point has a fixed redemption value of 0.5p, it meant that there was a floor value on the value of your Avios. 250 Avios got you 400 Nectar points worth £2, so 0.8p per Avios.

If British Airways or partner flight redemptions started to look like bad value, it didn’t matter. You could move your Avios to Nectar and guarantee yourself 0.8p. To be honest, you struggle to get 0.8p of value on many flight redemptions, especially in long haul Economy, and for many HfP readers transfers to Nectar became very attractive.

From November 2022, the transfer rate moved to 300 Avios = 400 Nectar points.

To save you getting your calculator out, the floor value of an Avios dropped to 0.67p as 300 Avios = £2 of Nectar points.

And now …..

From 11th March 2024, the transfer rate will move to 400 Avios = 400 Nectar points.

The floor value of an Avios drops to 0.5p, as 400 Avios = £2 of Nectar points.

The rate is unchanged in the other direction

The rate when you transfer Nectar points TO Avios remains at 400 Nectar points = 250 Avios.

This means that you can no longer move your Avios backwards and forwards without penalty. You will effectively be losing a percentage if you reverse a transaction:

  • 2,000 Avios = 2,000 Nectar points
  • 2,000 Nectar points = 1,250 Avios

You will lose 37.5% of the value of your points if you end up moving your Avios to Nectar and then back again.

Avios to Nectar conversion rate cut

Why has this happened?

It doesn’t take a genius to point the finger of blame at IAG Loyalty / Avios and not Nectar. There are two issues, I think.

Too much money was flowing out of IAG Loyalty

When Avios moved from Tesco to Sainsbury’s, the aim was to increase the amount of money coming into IAG Loyalty from the supermarket niche. It wanted to become a major partner of a retail loyalty scheme, rather than being a bit part of the Clubcard universe.

Did it work out that way?

When you transfer Avios into Nectar points, IAG Loyalty has to pay real cash out to Sainsbury’s, which owns Nectar.

Because some IAG partners are paying close to 0.8p for their Avios, IAG isn’t making much money on many Avios partner transactions if it pays Sainsbury’s 0.67p per Avios sent over.

This wouldn’t be a problem if people were choosing to spend their Avios on flights. However, it is becoming increasingly clear to many people that this isn’t something they want to do. Cashing out to Nectar made sense.

It is also logical that, with the economy not in great shape, saving some cash by converting Avios to Nectar to pay for your weekly shopping makes sense. It is a lot better for your budget than paying out taxes and charge for two ‘free’ business class flights to North America.

It is also likely that Sainsbury’s shoppers, when facing a choice between redeeming Nectar points for hard cash or turning them into speculative Avios, were voting for the money.

I suspect that the contract between IAG Loyalty and Nectar has an ’emergency break’ clause if too much cash flows in one direction compared to the original plan, and that the break has now been activated again.

Avios to Nectar conversion rate cut

It is now easier to devalue the Avios programme

The other issue is that the 0.8p transfer rate meant that British Airways had to remain ‘honest’. There was a limit to how much it could tinker with Avios because any negative changes would lead to a dash to the (Nectar) exit.

This 2nd factor is now key. Moving from 0.8p to 0.67p to 0.5p of Nectar points per Avios gives BA a LOT more wiggle room to leg you over.

It would be fascinating to know what Sainsbury’s makes of this. It will now see a lot less money coming in, as people decide not to convert Avios to Nectar, but will still be paying IAG when people convert into Avios.

What should you do?

If you were planning on moving any Avios to Nectar, you should do it now. Make sure that you are firm in your decision, as you will lose 37.5% of the value if you later convert back.

Today, 50,000 Avios – the monthly cap – gets you 66,666 Nectar points, worth £333.

After 11th March, 50,000 Avios will only get you 50,000 Nectar points, worth £250.

(And, of course, back in 2021 50,000 Avios got you 80,000 Nectar points, worth £400. That’s some devaluation in three years.)

Conclusion

The two-way simplicity of Avios to Nectar transfers was the real charm of the scheme. The two schemes could operate symbiotically as one.

This has not been the case since November 2022, when the transfer rates started to deviate, and is definitely not the case after 11th March. You will only transfer to Nectar if you know that you have a firm plan to spend them, since transferring back to Avios will see you incurring a loss.

More importantly, converting to Nectar is now no better than any other ‘pseudo cash’ Avios redemption, such as using points for seat selection or ‘Part Pay With Avios’. From 11th March, you will be getting 0.5p per Avios either way.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 2024)

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

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.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year 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.

Comments (145)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Laura says:

    Sorry I know this is obvious but I’m not quite grasping this for some reason.

    I moved some avios to nectar before the last devaluation. I’ll likely move them back to avios to spend at some point as I have a Barclays upgrade and a companion voucher to use.
    Am I correct in my understanding that the devaluation is only one way so there’s not a rush to move my nectar points back over to avios?

    Cheers

    • Alex G says:

      Correct. As things stand, 400 Nectar will still buy you 250 Avios. It is only converting Avios to Nectar that is being devalued.

      • Laura says:

        Thank you!

        I read the article several times and I wasn’t sure whether to panic or not. Will leave everything as is for now then 🙂

  • Lady London says:

    Interesting that anyone forced to take a refund in avios now has lost the obvious exit route if they couldn’t or didn’t want to use the avios for flights.

  • Lady London says:

    Martin Lewis’s site is reading HfP? The millionz there have just been notified. If Nectat’s server is still up will the rush for the doors crash it? Anyone not wanting to take a hit on the Nectar value they receive in exchange for avios, may not turn out to have till 11th March to get their transfer of avios to Nectar done?

  • Meike Hokkenbaals says:

    They’re ripping us off!

  • cin4 says:

    Absolutely. Been the case ever since the first devaluation from 0.8p and definitely is the case now.

  • IanT says:

    How long does an Avios transfer to Nectar take to show up in your Nectar account?

  • ChasP says:

    while none of us can see the contract of course I wonder if this ‘devaluation’ was written in after an initial period
    After all Nectar points are pretty well always 0.5p now

  • Gaz says:

    I want to change up 150k avios points to nectar points. I am worried if I put through a transfer today on 8th March then it means the time it will take to convert means I’ll be taken pass the 11th march and will receive the new unfavourable rate of 400 avios points for 400 nectar points. Please can someone clarify?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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