If anyone ever tells you that they know a lot about Avios, ask them how you should maximise your Avios earning when buying petrol. It is such a painfully complex calculation that most people will collapse in a gibbering heap before getting to the answer.
Even now, I am not convince that the answer I offer below is correct. Howeer, I have given it my best shot!
When buying petrol, you have various permutations of garage and credit card to choose from!
Garage options, presenting either a Tesco Clubcard or a Shell Drivers Club card:
(Ignores the potential of higher Avios per £1 from Tesco during a Tesco to Avios conversion bonus, ignores Clubcard Plus, ignores those grandfathered onto a higher Tesco to Avios conversion rate)
1.2 Avios per £1 spent at a Tesco-branded filling station (technically 1 Clubcard point per £2 spent)
2.4 Avios per £1 spent at a Tesco-branded filling station when you use your Tesco credit card AS A CLUBCARD (technically 1 Clubcard point per £1 spent)
2.4 Avios per £1 spent on Tesco Momentum fuel at a Tesco-branded filling station (1 Clubcard point per £1 spent)
4.8 Avios per £1 spent on Tesco Momentum fuel at a Tesco-branded filling station when you use your Tesco credit card AS A CLUBCARD (1 CC point per £1 spent)
0.8 Avios per £1 spent at an Esso filling station which has a Tesco convenience store attached (1 CC point per £3 spent)
1 Avios per £2.60 spent at a Shell filling station (technically 10 Avios per 20 litres)
2 Avios per £2.60 spent on V-Power fuel at a Shell filling station (technically 20 Avios per 20 litres)
Credit card options when paying for your petrol:
(Ignores cards no longer available to new applicants and cards paying under 0.5 Avios per £1)
0.6 Avios per £1 spent on Tesco MasterCard (technically 1 Clubcard point per £4)
2 Avios per £1 spent on Amex Gold (technically 1 Membership Rewards point per £1, but this is doubled on petrol transactions)
1 Avios per £1 spent on Amex Platinum, Starwood Amex, Lloyds TSB Duo American Express
1.5 Avios per £1 spent on British Airways Premium Plus American Express
1.25 Avios per £1 spent on Lloyds TSB Platinum Duo American Express
The most difficult thing to get your head around here is using your Tesco credit card as a Clubcard. If you have a Tesco credit card, you can use it as a Clubcard as well – you don’t need to carry around two cards.
Usually, a normal blue Clubcard gives the same points as a Tesco credit card used as a Clubcard. However – when buying petrol – the Clubcard element of the Tesco credit card gives you double points.
So, what is the answer? What is the best way to earn Avios when buying fuel?
Based purely on standard fuel (not V-Power or Momentum) the answer is:
Buy standard fuel at a Tesco-branded garage. Use your Tesco credit card as a Clubcard but use your Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card to pay!
For every £4 spent on petrol, you would earn:
4 Clubcard points (earning rate is 1 per £1 when using a Tesco credit card as a Clubcard) = 9.6 Avios
8 American Express Membership Rewards points (2 per £1 when buying petrol) = 8 Avios
That is 17.6 Avios points per £4, or 4.4 Avios per £1.
You may earn even more. Sometimes, when using an Amex Gold at Tesco to buy fuel, you will actually receive triple points. This is the 100% bonus for buying petrol and the 100% bonus for visiting a supermarket! In this scenario, you would earn 5.4 Avios per £1.
(Amex Gold is odd, though, but in a good way! One person I know receives 4 Membership Rewards points (= 4 Avios) per £1 when he uses his Amex Gold at any Shell garage!)
If anyone disagrees with my maths, feel free to post below. I happily admit I could be wrong as well!
Here is my full review of the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold if this post encourages you to get one!
(PS. Until 3rd July, as Clive recently emailed me to say, Shell is offering double Avios when you buy fuel there. This is not factored into the calculations above. Simply swipe your Shell Drivers Club card every time you fill up and your double Avios will be calculated automatically.)