The reason for the post? I saw the above headline as a suggestion in my google news feed and thought, that ain’t me.
Let’s start with this simple premise: something very good doesn’t have a loyalty program. Why would it, it’s very good and that alone is enough. Be it a hotel chain, a fashion house, or even an airline. The reason companies have a loyalty program is because the product they offer clearly doesn’t cut the mustard and they have to compensate you for that fact.
Don’t believe me, let’s look at:
- Hotels, Marriott, Hilton, Radisson – huge loyalty program, hotels aren’t the best. Aman Hotels, Rosewood, Four Seasons – no loyalty program, some of the world’s best hotels…
- Airlines, British Airways, Virgin, Delta- Massive loyalty program, often ranked outside the top 10. NetJets, no loyalty program, considered to be one of the best airlines in the world.
Fed Up With Loyalty
A few weeks ago I had an AmEx 2-4-1 Companion Voucher expire with BA. I had asked them several times within the space of a week to extend it. My reasoning was as follows, they aren’t flying to anywhere near the number of destinations they were before the pandemic. The number of flights they have going to the destinations they serve are way down. They now charge close to £1000 each (The majority of that being BA’s surcharge which goes straight into the pockets of BA) so they’d still be making a hefty amount of money off me when I cash it in.
That’s what they came back with. What’s the point of collecting all these points to just have them sit there not being used for anything because availability sucks or it costs a fortune to use them.
It wasn’t that long ago that BA sacked Tesco off and partnered up with Sainburrys, thus allowing you to transfer your Avios to Nectar points. They transfer at a rate of 250 Avios to 400 Nectar points, there’s a catch though. The maximum you’re allowed to transfer each calendar month is capped to 50,000 Avios or 80,000 Nectar. That works out to £400 a month to spend at either eBay, Sainsburys or Argos. Over the last 4 months, I’ve been putting the leg work in and by that I mean I’ve basically been going on the nectar app once a month and transferring the full 50,000 Avios to Nectar (Kids these days would probably classify that as “proper graft”).
Spend, Spend, Spend
Do you know how nice it is to go to the petrol station and instead of watching the fuel and price go up as you fill your tank, look around and see what’s going on in the world right next to you? Waiting for the fuel pump to click, knowing it doesn’t really matter how much it is per litre as you’re paying with points so it’s effectively free. There’s been a few times now where I’ve had £90.01 tanks and I’ve just paid 1p and the rest has been on points (You have to do multiples of £2.50) and the people behind me in the queues have been amazed. One woman even asked how I just paid 2p for a full tank.
I converted close to a grand’s worth of points to eBay vouchers so I could buy a new Samsung washer dryer from the Samsung eBay store (mainly for the fact it had WiFi so it fits perfectly into the home automation I have set up, that and you can add extra things mid-wash).
This next one is stupid but for the last few months, all of the food I’ve purchased has been from Sainsbury’s and it hasn’t cost me a penny. The reason it’s stupid is because I’ve worked out that if I was paying cash, it would be costing me roughly ~40% more than it would cost me in Tesco (Where I used to do my shopping). I’m not paying cash though so in essence it’s costing me nothing.
Food, Fuel and random splurges, all free! Don’t get me wrong, it would be nice to be at the pointy end of the plane but the value proposition isn’t there at the moment.
It’s the run-up to Christmas and I plan on paying for as much of it as possible using nectar points. Yep, that’s decorations, presents, food, drink, fuel; in fact the only thing I plan on paying actual cash for is the huge real tree to go in the living room.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still keep 80,000~ Avios in my BA account with the view of upgrading a few cash flights from Premium economy (which cost circa £550, considerably less than what BA want to charge for a full points redemption) to Business but that’ll be about it. The rest is getting waxed before airlines devalue them even more.