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Within my Amex credit card armoury, I invariably hold a “free” card. With the heavy restrictions now on sign-up bonuses, I’m simply not churning the cards as much as I used to (if at all, really). I therefore find that having a free card on the go gives me the reassurance that I’ll always have a “point-earning” option available, without wasting money on annual fees that I’m not getting value from.
To date, my free card of choice has been the BA Amex. You earn a straightforward 1 Avios per £1 spend, and there’s zero fee at the outset or on an ongoing basis. Therefore, having the card sat in your wallet, even if it’s doing very little, is not a waste of money.
However, that has all now changed…
I will be the first to admit that I’ve been banging on a lot about Nectar recently. However, it’s not without reason. The new 400 Nectar points to 250 Avios conversion opportunity has really given both Nectar points (and indeed Avios) a new dimension. In addition, it’s changed my view on which free card to hold.
My new go-to free card is the Nectar Amex Card.
Why the Nectar Amex card?
The first point to make clear is that the Amex Nectar card is not, technically, a free card as it comes with a £25 annual fee. However, it’s free for the first year, so for the purposes of this article I’m considering it a free card. When the charge kicks in in year 2, I may well switch back to my trusty BA Amex.
The maths for my change to the Nectar Amex card are simple. You earn 2 Nectar points per £1 spend on the Nectar card, which converts to 1.25 Avios points with the 400/250 conversion ratio. That, quite simply, is why I’m switching!
In addition, if you do qualify for sign-up bonuses, the Nectar card is more generous. The BA Amex card will give you 6,000 Avios on sign-up, while the Nectar card will give you 20,000 Nectar points, convertible to 12,500 Avios. However, the BA Amex card does only require a £1,000 spend in the first three months, compared to the Nectar card’s £2,000.
So there we have it. If you’re looking for a straightforward, free credit card that offers you Avios on your spend, the best option is no longer an Avios-earning card, it’s the Nectar Amex card – for the first, free year at least!
Note that the BA Amex does include certain benefits that the Nectar card does not, including access to the Avios 241 redemption. However, if you’re going for the 241, you are far better off, economically, doing it via the Premium Plus paid-for card (£195 a year, but with a better Avios rate, a lower 241 threshold and a higher sign-up bonus). Obviously, the paid-for card is not a free card, so that rules it our entirely for the purposes of this article. However, it would make perfect sense to hold the BA Premium Plus card, and the Nectar card as your “free” card.