How to max your rewards points following the Avios and Nectar tie-up

Last month, having ditched its tie-up with Tesco's Clubcard Scheme, Avios announced it was partnering with the Nectar scheme instead. Along with this came a new innovation — you can trade points both ways. So you can both swap Nectar points for Avios and Avios points for Nectar. This blog looks at how the new tie-up works, and how to max your Nectar points.

What are Avios and Nectar points, and how does the new tie-up work?

Avios is British Airways' rewards scheme currency. You collect points from a variety of sources, which you can put towards flights, hotels and car hire — helping you cut the cost of your holidays. For example, around 4,000 Avios can get you a flight to Amsterdam, though you'll still pay taxes and charges. Check out our Avios guide for full info. 

Nectar is the reward scheme from Sainsbury's — you can earn Nectar points every time you shop there or at other retailers such as eBay and Argos. Generally, you earn one point per pound, although occasionally Sainsbury's will run double points promotions. Check our our Loyalty Points Boosting guide for more info on how the Nectar scheme works.

Avios partnering with a supermarket points scheme isn’t anything new. This new partnership with Nectar comes off the back of Avios’ partnership with Tesco Clubcard, where customers could convert their Clubcard points into Avios — 250 Clubcard points got you 600 Avios.

The conversion rate in this tie-up is 400 Nectar points to 250 Avios, which means that if you're converting Nectar points to Avios, it's less generous than the previous scheme. But crucially, this new partnership with Nectar lets you swap points in both directions, and you won’t lose any points value in doing so.

This means that Avios now have a set monetary value of 0.8p when converted to Nectar points. For example, if you’ve got 1,000 Avios, you can convert them to 1,600 Nectar points. These points are worth £8, which you can spend at several retailers including Sainsbury’s, eBay and Argos — see the Nectar website for the full list.

How to convert Nectar points into Avios, and vice versa

To convert points, you'll need to link your Nectar and British Airways Executive Club accounts, which can be done on either the Nectar or British Airways Executive Club website. 

Normally, the next step is to select the 'Convert your points' option on either site. However, British Airways is currently having technical issues, so in order to swap Avios for Nectar points, you'll need to ring British Airways' points swap helpline on 0344 49 333 03. You can still swap Nectar points for Avios online. You can also choose to convert your points automatically in either direction, so if you have a preferred points scheme, you won't need to manually switch points over in the future.

Plus, if you convert 1,600 or more Nectar points before 11.59pm on Sunday 14 February, you'll get a bonus 500 Avios (on top of the 1,000 from the conversion). Plus, anyone who does the conversion can also get double Nectar points (and therefore twice as many Avios) when shopping at Sainsbury's until 19 April 2021, which is a nice added boon. Don't want to say goodbye to your hard-earned Nectar points? Don't worry, you can swap them back after 14 February and still keep the bonus. 

What are the best credit cards for me to max the points I collect?

We have to look at Amex cards here. American Express has a longstanding partnership with British Airways meaning any Amex Membership Rewards points you earn can be swapped for Avios. These can then be swapped for Nectar points.

Below are the top four cards to get your Avios or Nectar points fix - though we've mainly looked at which are best to collect Nectar points, as Avios aren't as useful while travel is restricted.

Which you go for will depend on whether you're new to Amex or not. If you've had a personal Amex in the last two years, you won't be eligible for the introductory offers, which changes the best option - we've analysed this in greater detail below the table. The links below take you to our Rewards Cards guide, where you can read more about the cards and check your chances of getting them with our eligibility calculator. 

Card Intro bonus points Points per £1 spent Annual fee
Amex Gold
32,000 Nectar pts - worth £160 or 20,000 Avios
(min £3,000 spend in first three months)
1 Avios/ 1.6 Nectar No fee in year 1, £140 after
Amex Nectar 20,000 Nectar pts - worth £100 or 12,500 Avios
(min £2,000 spend in first three months)
1.25 Avios/ 2 Nectar No fee in year 1,
£25 after
Nectar Reward Card 10,000 Nectar pts - worth £50 or 6,250 Avios
(min £400 spend in first two months at Sainsbury's, Argos or Tu) 
0.16 Avios/ 0.2 Nectar (1) None
Amex Rewards 8,000 Nectar pts - worth £40 or 5,000 Avios
(min £2,000 spend in first three months)
1 Avios/ 1.6 Nectar None

(1) If spent in Sainsbury's then 1.8 Avios/ 3 Nectar points with a Nectar card.

If you've not had an Amex in the last two years... to max out either Avios or Nectar points:

  • The Amex Gold is the best way to go, as long as you'll spend the £3,000 in the first three months to trigger the intro bonus. The 20,000 Avios or 32,000 Nectar points you get as a bonus trump the extra Avios you get per £1 spent on the Amex Nectar.

    And don't forget you'll also have the points from your £3,000 spend (3,000 Avios or 4,800 Nectar worth £24). So, you could have a total of £184 in Nectar points in three months' time - easily enough for a free weekly shop!

    This card is fee-free for a year — any longer and you'll be hit with a hefty £140 fee, so if you don't want to pay it, make sure you cancel the card before then.

If you have an Amex or have had one in the last two years... You won't be able to get the intro bonuses on any of the Amex cards, so there's two main options here:

  • The Sainsbury's Bank's Nectar Mastercard offers you 10,000 Nectar points (worth £50) for spending £400 in the first two months at Sainsbury's, Argos or Tu Clothing. Or, you can swap the points for 6,250 Avios. However, the ongoing points aren't great unless you're spending a lot at Sainsbury's. If you're not, have a look at...
  • The Amex Rewards card. Yes, we know it's an Amex, but while you won't be able to get the intro bonus, you can still get one point for every pound you spend — and with no annual fee. Spending more than £10,000 a year? Look at the Amex Nectar as the extra points you get (2 Nectar per £1) offset the £25 annual fee above this.

For all of these cards, make sure you pay off the balance in full each month to avoid paying interest.

Is there a way I can boost points further?

Using these cards is the best way to boost your Avios and Nectar points. But on the Amex Preferred Gold, you can max this even further. Refer your partner (and any interested friends/family/colleagues) and pick up an extra 6,000 Avios boost for the Amex Preferred Gold card. They'll get boosted bonus points after the trigger spend too — 2,000 extra on the Amex Gold, making the total 12,000. This is on top of the usual points you'd earn for everyday spending. For more, see our 31 tricks to boost and max Avios.

For extra Nectar points, make sure you log in to your Nectar account regularly, on the website or the app, to check for new offers. Some require a spend, eg, 100 bonus points on your next shop at Sainsbury's. But on occasion you can find offers for bonus points without any spend required — you just need to log in and load it to your card. Check out our loyalty points boosting guide for many more tips and tricks.