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A recent message from a reader in the comments section reminded me to take another look at Avios to Nectar transfers. Back in March, this was the screen that would pop up when you tried to make a transfer online:
…And that’s still the screen you get now at the end of May.
It’s therefore (theoretically) impossible to make a transfer from Avios to Nectar on a weekend or evening, because you have to ring the call centre during standard business hours. You may be able to find a sympathetic agent on a different phone number who can help, but don’t bank on it. Transfers in the other direction – from Nectar to Avios – still work fine and can be easily completed online.
What’s going on here?
Previously, I was willing to file this as a temporary technical issue, which would hopefully be resolved soon. Unfortunately, given that nothing has changed in the last 2.5 months, it looks like there is a significant issue.
I have wondered about the security of the new system, given that Avios can now effectively be redeemed instantly (and basically anonymously) for cash-equivalent products via Nectar at Sainsbury’s/eBay/Argos. That’s surely a lot more interesting to a potential scammer than booking flights or hotels with Avios. It’s possible that by requiring phone call that risk can be reduced.
I think we can rule out something more nefarious (eg. planning to change the value of transfers). I am concerned that the 0.8p valuation of Avios may be too high in the long run, but would be very surprised to see any changes in the first year.
This is no longer a ‘temporary’ issue. If you want to make a transfer from Avios to Nectar, understand that it takes 10 days to be processed, and it might not be possible to initiate a transfer during weekends and evenings, so plan accordingly.