Tesco favours Virgin as Avios moves to Sainsbury’s

Tesco has ended its long-running Clubcard partnership with Avios. Tesco has instead gone all-in with its existing Virgin Atlantic Flying Club partnership. In a separate announcement Avios and Sainsbury’s announced a new partnership for the Nectar loyalty programme. Before you switch supermarkets, you might want to dive into the detail of the Tesco switch to Virgin and the Avios move to Sainsbury’s.

Avios ends its relationship with Tesco

UK supermarket giant Tesco and Avios announced they would end their partnership on 18th January 2021. Tesco said Clubcard points should be converted to Avios before this date.

This brought to an end a miles-earning route that we’d been using for several years. Through that time, we saw a number of bonus promotions that inflated the number of points we earned when we chose to convert Clubard points to Avios.

Tesco goes all-in with Virgin Atlantic

Those familiar with converting Clubcard points to airline miles may be mourning the loss of Avios. Virgin doesn’t offer much of a short-haul route network, so redemptions that only cost 10k or 20k miles are rarer than with British Airways. Virgin largely focuses on long-haul transatlantic routes, though Tel Aviv might be an attractive “cheap” redemption.

All that said, the conversion rate for Virgin Atlantic remains the same as before 625 Flying Club miles for a 250 points (or a £2.50 Clubcard voucher). If your average weekly grocery spend was £100, you could expect to accumulate 13,000 Flying Club miles per year).

Sainsbury’s launches Nectar to Avios conversion scheme

From 25th January 2021, you can convert Nectar points to Avios. 250 Nectar points will be converted to just 156 Avios. The conversion rate is much lower than was offered by Tesco Clubcard. Until the scheme ended, Tesco were converting 250 points into 600 Avios.

BG1 Verdict

Virgin Atlantic 787
Virgin Atlantic 787

After a lengthy relationship and much trouble in the travel sector, it’s unsurprising that Tesco and Virgin struck an exclusive deal and Avios moved across to Sainsbury’s. On face-value it looks like Avios valued Clubcard points far lower than Tesco did.

After the golden years of Tesco Clubcard, the Nectar valuation of Avios is too low in our opinion. Although we sometimes shop at Sainsbury’s, this weak partnership isn’t enough to switch us away from Tesco. Had the conversion rate been better, we may well have been swayed. Alas, we’re going to give Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club a go. We may also combine what we earn at Tesco with Amex Membership Rewards and by flying routes on the new Virgin/Air France/KLM partnership.

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