So I’ve been looking at rewards vs cashback cards recently. I held some form of point-earning American Express card for over 2 years now, and put most of my spend through it with the goal of flying in first class one day. However, looking at the redemption options made me realise how slow points are accruing.
At the moment, my hard-earned points would get me 1.5 nights in a Hilton or a couple of off-peak first-class tickets to Central Europe. That’s it. Even my Tesco vouchers do better than that!
So, is it even worth collecting points these days? Or would I be better off switching to a cashback credit card and taking the measly £60 a year (approx)?
Oh how I would love US-style rewards and benefits
Have you contemplated moving to the US then?
We are not gonna get any rewards like that in the UK any time soon, if ever.
Even as straight up cash my Amex points are worth more than my 0.25% rbs rewards card. And that’s the worst case scenario for exchanging points.
The rbs card does get 1% back at supermarkets though which is reasonable.
The key to the points as I understand them is to take advantage of deals when your looking at those flights or holidays. I’m not sure you’d get a better Cashback card? Maybe you would?
I’ve thought about going the other way… swapping my Amex cashback card for one that accrues reward points. At 0.5% cashback, you’d have to spend £10,000 to get £50 cashback. I’d probably be better off just letting the points add up and use them next time I travel long-haul.
What’s stopped me from switching is that I won’t qualify for the initial points bonus, as I’ve held an Amex card previously. I think you need to have not held one for two years before you’re eligible for sign-up bonuses again.
Yeah I wasn’t sure about this. I heard some people suggest that you may get the offer if you’ve not taken out a new card in two years. But I don’t know if that’s true.
I get MR from Amex, and cash back from RBS. The rbs is mainly for supermarkets for the 1%
I think it’s safe to say it’s complicated - in principle, you need to have not held an Amex card in your name (as opposed to being an additional cardholder) for 24 months, but there are some exceptions. I think this (Head for Points) is the best summary of the situation.
In my opinion points are 100% the way to go. There are so many ways to earn bonus points on top of the base earning rate too that to me they’re a no-brainer.
Plus as long as you can get the points into your BA Executive Club account, then you have the option to transfer them to Nectar points and spend them at a variety of places, including Sainsbury’s and Argos.
That means every AMEX Membership Rewards Point or Avios you earn is worth 0.8p when spent at a Nectar retailer, so even if you don’t use them for flights, they still have a decent amount of value.
Wait, so you can go MR > Avios > Nectar? If so, that’s great and would be 0.8% cashback if my maths is right
MR to Avios is 1:1 with the caveat that a minimum of 1000 MR points are transferred and the transfer is done in multiples of 500.
Then Avios to Nectar, 250 Avios = 400 Nectar Points
1 Nectar Point = 0.5p
That means 1 Avios = 0.8p
You can also transfer Nectar Points to Avios if you need an extra points boost.
What’s the nectar to avíos conversion rate?
I imagine it’s the same, just the other way around
Oh and also just to add, whenever Sainsbury’s run their annual double up promo your one Avios becomes worth 1.6p.
So say you’ve got the BA premium card earning 1.5 Avios per £1 - you’re suddenly seeing 2.4p cashback per pound spent (assuming my maths is right).
I know it’s not that simple, and there are spend limits and stuff, but all in all it’s a really good deal.
Avios also does £1=1 avios at Argos, so if your collecting nectar points you can potentially collect 1 nectar, 1 MR, and 1 avios per £1 at Argos, and if needed convert the MR and avios into nectar points. If I’m not missing something there?
And of course you can get avios points at other retailers as well (though mainly online I think)
Yes you’re right. They’re on BA Shopping https://www.shopping.ba.com/retailers/argoscouk
So you’ll get 1 nectar / £1
Plus 1 avios / £1
Plus your card’s earning rate.
Assuming you earn 1.5 avios /£1 then you’re earning a minimum of 2.5p / £1 (and 5p / £1 if you spend the points during the double up).
Not a huge bonus (but then again any bonus is a good thing)
If you have a Monese account, you can link that to Avios too and score even more points