Collecting Avios from Tesco – a beginners guide

Love Clubcard, don’t collect Avios?  You should be reading our sister site, Shopper Points (www.shopperpoints.co.uk), which covers the latest Clubcard and Nectar offers without any distracting frequent flyer talk!  Why not check it out now?

Tesco Clubcard is a major partner with British Airways and offers one of the easiest non-flying ways for UK British Airways Executive Club members to earn lots of Avios.  Historically, Tesco has been very generous with its Clubcard promotions, but over the last couple of years they have been tightening up.  It remains, though, a key part of your weaponry if you want to really pile up the miles – don’t worry, you won’t have to actually do all your shopping in Tesco unless you want to!

If you don’t have a Clubcard, you can sign up online – it is no longer possible to pick up temporary paper cards instore.  The basic scheme is very simple, in that you earn 1 point for every £1 spent in a Tesco store or on one of its websites.  Every quarter you receive a statement in the post, and if you have earned at least 150 points you receive these in the form of vouchers.  These can be used for money off in-store shopping (no!) or used for ‘Clubcard Deals’.

Tesco Clubcard

You can convert your Tesco Clubcard points to Avios in the ratio 1 Clubcard point = 2.4 Avios, or more simply put a £2.50 vouchers gets you 600 Avios.

(As of 2012, you can also earn Virgin Flying Club miles via Tesco at the rate of 1 Clubcard point = 2.5 Flying Club miles.  Virgin miles can be converted to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio so 1 Clubcard point = 5 Hilton points, albeit with a 10k minimum conversion from Virgin.  You can also go Virgin to Priority Club but the ratio is too poor to be worth mentioning!)

Slightly oddly, Tesco offers you the chance to convert to either BAEC or into avios.com Avios.  You input the code number on the voucher and points hit your BAEC or Avios account in 24 hours usually.  BAEC transfers ask for your account number, whilst avios.com transfers do not – they look for an account with your name and address and automatically drop the points in.

You are never going to earn huge number of Avios from your day to day shopping, though.  The real source of bumper Tesco points are the generous promotions that are occasionally run. In fact, there is no need to move your food spend to Tesco at all – you simply need to jump in when a particularly generous bonus points promotion appears, and then sell the goods on ebay! You will make a small loss in most cases but the thousands of miles will more than offset this.  In late 2011, HP ink cartridges and Duracell battery chargers, for example, came with enough bonus points to get the cost of an Avios down to 0.75p – and that is before any income from reselling the items.

As with the British Airways Amex credit card, you can only convert Tesco points to British Airways Executive Club accounts that are UK domiciled.  However, since the launch of Avios this is no longer a major restriction.  If your BAEC account is based abroad (and there is no longer any beneficial reason for doing so, as the tier point thresholds are now aligned), nothing stops you opening a separate Avios account at avios.com, converting your Tesco points via that account (there is no address restriction if moving to an avios.com account) and then transferring them across to your BAEC account.

It is possible to set up an auto-convert option with Tesco via the Clubcard website, which will automatically send your vouchers across to Avios each quarter.  However, this is NOT recommended.  If you don’t need the miles, it makes more sense to keep the vouchers in a drawer and wait until the next transfer promotion comes along offering 40% or so bonus miles.  There are also occasional promotions on non-Avios redemptions (shock, horror) which can be excellent value – for eg in 2011 you could for a time get 4 x face value in UK rail travel via redspottedhanky.com and you can also redeem directly for various hotel stays, including UK Hiltons.

Remember that Clubcard vouchers are valid for 2 years. If you do not need the Avios instantly, it makes sense to keep the vouchers in your drawer and wait to see if a conversion promo bonus comes along.  In 2010, a bonus of 100% was offered for first-time converters, for example – and anyone could take advantage of this by opening a new BAEC account under a new name (same surname), converting into that and then forming a BA household account to use the Avios.  There were also two promotions offering a 67% bonus in 2011 and early 2012.

Head for Points will keep you updated on the best Tesco special offers as they come along.  Click here and scroll down to the Clubcard logo to see our list of current promotions.

Love Clubcard, don’t collect Avios?  You should be reading our sister site, Shopper Points (www.shopperpoints.co.uk), which covers the latest Clubcard and Nectar offers without any distracting frequent flyer talk!  Why not check it out now?

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