A lucrative new partnership: You can now convert your Nectar points to Avios for free flights

Jan 25, 2021

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest information.

British Airways has a new partner. Last week, BA announced that it had inked a new deal with Nectar, allowing members to convert their Nectar points to Avios. And as of Monday, that partnership is live.

You can now convert Nectar points to Avios. You’ll be able to convert 400 Nectar points to 250 Avios. Alternatively, if you’re looking to build your stash of Nectar points, you can convert 250 Avios to 400 Nectar points. While you can manually convert the points one way or the other, you can also choose to automatically convert your Nectar points to Avios — or vice versa.

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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.

(Image courtesy of Nectar)

The announcement shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. As of 18 January, British Airways no longer partners with Tesco. As such, one of the best ways to earn Avios without flying by converting Tesco Clubcard points to Avios came to an end. It was only a matter of time before that was replaced.

And now we know that Tesco has been replaced by Sainsbury’s. Unlike the Clubcard programme, with the Nectar programme, you can earn points at nearly 300 different retailers — not just Sainsbury’s. The number of Nectar points you’ll earn per pound spent varies, depending on the retailer.

But, we’ll focus on Sainsbury’s, as it’s the dedicated supermarket partner of Nectar. In fact, in 2018, Sainsbury’s purchased Nectar. At Sainsbury’s, you’ll earn 1 Nectar point for every pound you spend in-store or online. You’ll also get 1 Nectar point for every litre of fuel purchased at Sainsbury’s fuel stations.

Linking your accounts couldn’t be easier. To do so, log in to your Nectar account and then head to the British Airways landing page and click the Link accounts option. You’ll then be redirected to log in to you Executive Club account with British Airways.

(Image courtesy of Nectar)

From there, you’ll then need to select which direction you want to transfer your points — either from Nectar to Avios or from Avios to Nectar. Then, select how many points you’ll want to transfer. Finally, confirm your transfer and the points will appear in your respective account.

(Image courtesy of Nectar)

Interestingly, as of Monday, we also know that the partnership will have 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.

The limits on both manual and automatic point conversion are independent of one another. So, you could transfer 40,000 Nectar points automatically each quarter and then an additional 80,000 manually each month.

As a real-world example of the earning potential here, let’s say that you spend £250 on your weekly shop for your family of five. At the end of one month, you’ll have spent £1,000 at Sainsbury’s — therefore collecting 1,000 Nectar points at the standard rate of 1 Nectar point per pound. You can then convert 800 of those Nectar points to a total of 500 Avios — worth nearly £6 based on TPG U.K.’s most recent valuations.

That, ultimately, is not as lucrative of an offering as what was on offer at Tesco. However, where the real value from this new partnership comes from is with its bonus offerings. If you take, for example, the limited-time offer of double Nectar points per pound spent through 19 April, that same monthly shop will earn you 2,000 Nectar points, which can be converted to 1,250 Avios — worth £14. Plus, if it’s your first conversion, you’ll get 500 bonus Avios for a total of 1,750 — worth £19.

Then, of course, you should also add in bonus points you’ll earn for spending with a cobranded credit card. If you have the Nectar Credit Card from American Express, you’ll earn 2 Nectar points for every pound spent on the card. For the month’s shop at Sainsbury’s in the example above, you’d earn an additional 2,000 Nectar points. Those would convert to an additional 1,250 Avios, worth £14.

Alternatively, you would find better value by you use your British Airways Premium Plus Card from American Express. You’ll earn 1.5 Avios per pound spent with the card. For the month’s shop at Sainsbury’s in the example above, you’d earn an additional 1,500 Avios. Add that to the equation and you’re suddenly at 3,250 Avios for the shop — worth £36, almost enough for a one-way flight to many destinations in Europe.

Related: Guide to British Airways’ Reward Flight Saver redemptions

In the above example, the bonus point earning is a limited-time offer. But, BA is confident that the Nectar partnership allows members to earn more Nectar points than what’s on the surface. By using the Nectar app and taking advantage of bonus point-earning promotions, members can lock in bonus Nectar points on everyday purchases. It’ll be worth keeping an eye out for targeted promotions that will unlock these bonus points.

Plus, keep in mind that you can earn Nectar points on purchases outside of Sainsbury’s as well. For example, you can earn Nectar points with retailers such as eBay (1 Nectar point per £), Argos (1 Nectar point per £), Expedia (2 Nectar points per £), Esso (2 Nectar points per £, 1 Nectar point for every litre of fuel) and more.

Nectar says that there are 18 million active members. It’s worth noting that Nectar has a stringent policy when it comes to expiration, which you’ll want to keep in mind. On the programme’s site, it details:

“There’s no automatic expiry date for Nectar points. But if you don’t collect or spend any points for a year, we assume you no longer want to take part in the Nectar programme and close your account.”

Keep in mind, too, that both the Nectar programme and BA’s Executive Club are transfer partners of American Express. So, if you’re close to a redemption with either partner, you can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards to the respective programme at a 1:1 ratio in both cases, though you wouldn’t get the best value by transferring those Membership Rewards points to Nectar.

Ultimately, this is an exciting add from British Airways. At a time when flyers are largely grounded because of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, adding the ability to earn Avios via Nectar at a number of retailers — including Sainsbury’s — is welcomed. While you won’t get the most value on your weekly shop at a 1 Nectar point per pound spent rate, the real value can be unlocked by taking advantage of bonus promotions.

Featured photo courtesy of Sainsbury’s.

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