When does it make sense to transfer Avios to Nectar?
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This week, British Airways and Nectar launched their new partnership. With it, you can transfer your Nectar points — earned from purchases with Sainsbury’s, eBay, Argos and more — to Avios and vice versa.
Ultimately, the new partnership is a great way for travellers to boost their balance of Avios by earning points from everyday purchases. With it, you can transfer 400 Nectar points to become 250 Avios — or vice versa. Essentially, with this new transfer option, you are “buying” Avios for a cost of 0.8p apiece, which isn’t necessarily a bad deal. In fact, that’s better than you will often find with BA’s buy Avios promotions.
To celebrate the new partnership, the two are offering a promotion wherein you can earn bonus Avios. The first time you convert 1,600 Nectar points to Avios, you’ll receive a one-time bonus of 500 Avios. In other words, if you convert 1,600 Nectar points, you’ll end up with a total of 1,500 Avios. Based on TPG U.K.’s most recent valuations, those Avios are worth about £17. Additionally, customers will get 2x Nectar points at Sainsbury’s until 19 April.
We’ve detailed the earning potential that you can get with your everyday shop from Sainsbury’s, but what about if you want to transfer those points in the other direction? When does it make sense to do that?
When might you want to transfer Avios to Nectar?
To clarify, this does not make sense for everyone. In fact, for the vast majority of points and miles collectors, you’ll want to convert your Nectar points to Avios in order to extract the most value. However, we know that for some, there is little value in continuing to earn Avios.
For some Executive Club members, they have huge Avios balances and no clear way to use them — especially in the ongoing pandemic. Rather than risking them expire or continuing to build up with no clear use for them, some Avios collectors may seek value in other redemptions — even if they’re not getting the most value from those points.
For someone in that scenario who has a slew of Avios in their account with no plans to use them, this new partnership could be even more valuable. Let’s take a look at some of what you could get from those Avios if transferred to Nectar.
Note first that the partnership has maximum transfers. As detailed in the terms and conditions, members will be able to manually convert a maximum of 80,000 Nectar points or 50,000 Avios per calendar month. The cap is separate for both debiting and crediting — as in, 80,000 Nectar points debited and 80,000 Nectar points credited — per calendar month. Additionally, members can automatically convert a maximum of 40,000 Nectar points or 25,000 Avios in a calendar quarter.
For example, say you have 1,200,150 Avios sat in your Executive Club account. Based on TPG U.K.’s most recent valuations, those Avios are worth a staggering £13,202. But, say you wanted to convert some of them for a Sainsbury’s shop. Given the maximum on the amount of Avios you can convert to Nectar points in one month, you can only transfer 50,000 of those Avios in the calendar month, which will become 80,000 Nectar points.
The benefit of those Nectar points is that they can be used at a variety of retailers. Take, for example, the following partner and conversion rates:
- Sainsbury’s — 500 Nectar points are worth £2.50;
- Argos — 500 Nectar points are worth £2.50. You can use a maximum of 40,000 points (worth £200) on a purchase;
- eBay — 500 Nectar points are worth £2.50 to use towards vouchers. You can use a maximum of 40,000 points (£200) per voucher, but there’s no limit to the number of vouchers you can purchase;
- Eurostar — 2,000 Nectar points are worth £10 off your Eurostar bookings; and
- Caffè Nero — 350 Nectar points will get you one hot or iced drink.
Let’s say you want to transfer the maximum Avios to Nectar points for the month to use at Sainsbury’s. The 80,000 Nectar points are worth £400 at Sainsbury’s. You can elect to save in store or online — just be sure to follow the specific terms in order to make sure your purchase is eligible for Nectar point savings.
Over the course of one year, by manually transferring Avios to Nectar points, you could walk away with a total of 960,000 Nectar points — or 600,000 Avios. Note that you’ll manually have to convert the Avios to Nectar points every month. But if you do, you’ll be able to take advantage of a total of £4,800 in Sainsbury’s savings for the entire year.
To be clear, transferring your Avios to Nectar only makes sense in an extremely limited number of scenarios. For most, collecting Avios to use for free flights is the way to extract the most value from your everyday spending — including that done at Sainsbury’s, Argos, eBay, Esso and more.
For example, if you were to use the same 600,000 Avios for the year that you transferred to Nectar for Sainsbury’s savings, you could get £6,600 worth of value on British Airways flight redemptions, based on TPG’s most recent valuations of 1.1p per Avios. That’s a 27% decrease in value.
When else might it make sense to transfer Avios to Nectar?
Another example of someone who might find it useful to transfer Avios to Nectar is if you don’t travel very frequently and only have a small number of Avios in your Executive Club account. Your Avios may not be enough to redeem for a flight, but they could earn you a nice — albeit potentially small — savings at Sainsbury’s.
For example, say you have 3,000 Avios in your Executive Club account. You’re not planning to earn more anytime soon and you’d rather not let them sit there. You could transfer them all to 4,800 Nectar points. In total, that would give you £22.50 in Sainsbury’s savings.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that the value of Nectar points could increase with special promotions. One of the most well-known features of the programme is that it often runs promotions that increase the earning — or redeeming — possibilities.
In the past, the programme has run promotions with Vue Cinema, for example, that allow you to garner double value on your Nectar points when you redeem for Vue vouchers. We’ll keep on eye on these promotions and let you know if one comes around that may make sense for an Avios transfer to Nectar.
If the pandemic has you rethinking travel and you don’t foresee yourself on a plane any time in the immediate future, you may find you get more value out of saving on your weekly shop. Ultimately, how you spend your points is up to you. If you’re looking to extract the most value, we recommend transferring from Nectar to Avios. But, if you’re looking for savings on everyday spend, that can also be had from this new partnership.
Featured photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images.
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