150 Clubcard points per £50 Amazon purchase with 3V (and other uses)

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?

The easiest way to earn a lot of Avios points or Virgin Flying Club miles in 2013 was with 3V Virtual Visa cards – as long as your local Tesco sold them.

They look like this:

3V card

and, as with all non-Tesco branded gift cards, you earn 150 Clubcard points for every £50-worth you buy.  This meant 360 Avios or 375 Virgin miles.  Because Tesco accepts American Express, it was also an easy way to increase your spending if you needed to hit a sign-up bonus on a new Amex card.

The deal was so great because you could use 3V cards for financial transactions.  Most blatantly, you could pay them into certain bank accounts so you got your entire £25 per card back immediately!  The only limit to the number of free Avios you could earn via this route was the number of 3V Virtual Visa cards stocked in your local Tesco.

The wheels came off the bus in December 2013.  Overnight, 3V changed their acceptance rules.  The cards are now rejected if you attempt to use them for a financial services transaction.

However, Tesco is still selling 3V cards at face value.

And you still earn 150 Clubcard points for every £50-worth you buy.

(If you use an Amex Gold to buy them, you would also earn 100 Membership Rewards points as it is a supermarket purchase which earns double points!)

Where can you still use them?

I saw my first 3V cards for at least a year whilst on holiday last week.  I bought £50-worth and redeemed them for Amazon gift certificates at £25 each.

This is the easiest way, for most people, to redeem 3V cards.  You can order Amazon gift certificates for yourself and pay them into your Amazon account.  You then have a credit balance which you can work through for future purchases.

(If you do this, please consider using our Amazon affiliate link by clicking here or clicking the Amazon logo in the right-hand margin.  We earn a small commission on each gift card purchase.  You cannot earn cashback anywhere else for buying Amazon gift cards so you don’t lose anything.)

There are some other places that still take 3V cards.  If you have regular monthly payments to any of these companies then it is something you should take a look at:

Sky

Vodafone

BT

EDF, Scottish & Southern and E.ON

TV Licensing

Parent Pay

Virgin Media

Apple Store e-gift cards bought direct

You can also purchase gift vouchers via TopGiftCards, High Street Vouchers and Love2Shop.

If you have a direct debit for bill payment with any of the above, you can use a 3V card to make a partial payment onto your account.  The next direct debit will then be adjusted.

Some merchants may put a £1 block on your card when you attempt to use it as a security check.  The maximum you can then pay is £24.  The remaining £1 will be released within 7-10 days and can be used to buy an Amazon gift voucher.

Some merchants will also restrict the number of different card numbers that a single customer can use to 2+ in a 24 hour period.  Do not expect to be able to use up 10 3V cards with the same merchant on the same day.

Any updates to the above list are welcome.

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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Comments

  1. Who are Topgiftcards please?

  2. You can use 3V card to buy Caffe Nero gift cards online. There’s £1.5 delivery charge but you get £3 bonus if you register your card with at least £15 balance, so not a bad deal. Online top-ups afterwards are without any fees.

  3. there is 10.5% cash back on M&S (maybe) on TCV at present too

  4. biscuiteer says:

    Put in Visa DEBIT, not visa credit card. You don’t get charged handling fee and it should work OK.

  5. I got the same message on my first purchase?

    REJECTED – The transaction was failed by your 3D-Secure or AVS/CV2 rule-bases

    • thanks Mark tried another card and it worked. going by other comments i should leave this for a couple of days before i load on more to this card?

    • chris cox says:

      well ive now 2 tried and had 2 failed.

      all get the same error message “REJECTED – The transaction was failed by your 3D-Secure or AVS/CV2 rule-bases.” so im a tad stumped now as i only bought the cards to exchange into m&s cards.

  6. Raffles, do you get commission on the gift cards + stuff I use the gift cards to buy? :)

  7. I have just had to visit three Tesco stores to find 12 cards, although the last one had loads. Good job that I had just got my 20p per litre off!
    I did manage to find someone fairly sensible to ask whether they had any more cards and they explained that all of the cards are loaded onto the racks by an outside merchandising company. Tesco have no involvement until they go through the till.

  8. Hi,

    Anyone had any joy using at Sky? I have just tried but rejected.

    • Yes. I use 3v to pay each month. Just go to the make a payment on your account section and make payments accordingly. Sky will adjust your direct debit accordingly. Make sure you pay by the 28th or thereabouts each month though as sky will request the money from your bank account by then. If you are having problems paying online just ring them up and do it over the phone

    • Yes, i too do Sky each month with no problems.

  9. Thank you, at least I know it should work!

  10. Has anyone paid EE by 3V? I know they charge 50p per transaction.

    • No they won’t accept it on line nor by phone , but orange do, and they are supposed to be the same company! But they do accept you paying in advance with your amex, I usually load credit that way and earn MRs instead of wasting it on direct debit, which earns nothing….

      • Ok thanks, shame.

        I’ve sent some to Scottish Power and waiting to see if it shows on my account in 3 days or returned as they charge 1.5%.

        • Make sure you subtract the fee from the £25 and submit maybe £24.50 or whatever it works out to be. Calculate it down to just under the £25. Try another card this way with scot power it might work.

          • Steve B I think that Scottish Power only charge a fee if you choose “Visa (Credit)” online – after asking the same question here in recent weeks I was advised to choose “Visa (Debit)” which charges no fee … and goes through fine. I’ve yet to see what happens Direct Debit wise – mine is due on 1st Sept … we’ll see!
            I’ve upped my DD to £151 and paid in £150 … hoping they’ll only take £1 … but my nerve is wearing a little thin so I might call & check this week!

          • How do you change your DD please? I do not seem to be able to change the amount.

          • There was no option to select visa debit, just enter the details. So I’ve tried the full £25 and they Emailed to say it went through but would take 3 working days to show on my balance. Time will tell I guess.

  11. OK … here are the steps once you’ve logged in:
    Go to my account
    Manage my payments
    Manage my Direct Debit
    Change your payment amount
    Increase / reduce (limited scope, depending on estimated annual usage)

    Hope that helps!
    P

    • Thanks. I had tried that, but the change amount was lurking off the bottom of the screen.
      It made me read the meters than said that I could not reduce the amount. In fact the system had automatically reduced the mount recently.
      It did, however, say that if I made a one off payment it would reduce the amount claimed, so fingers crossed.
      I have a quarterly direct debit for BT so I can pay that and I have cancelled the direct debit for council tax. I cannot cancel the direct debit for Scottish Power as a) the terms and conditions say it must be paid by DD and b) we need at least two DDs on each of our multiple Lloyds Club accounts to get 4% interest.

      • Ring them up and see if you can leave your dd at £5 per month to satisfy the criteria. Try also paying into your BT bill on line, as soon as you receive your on line bill. they do allow a small amount of credit I top mine up as much as it lets me, then it sent take the d d. Good luck! Once you get into it , it can work really well, but it is an ongoing project, amazing watching those avios pile up with utilities, takes the pain out of some of the bills!

  12. Hey guys, here’s my recent experience in Tesco for buying 3v, just thought I should share it.
    So went Sat night to purchase 4 3V cards (didn’t want to overdo it).
    Person at the till was having trouble scanning the correct barcode on one of them but didn’t think much about it. But after paying (still standing at the checkout) I noticed that there was a duplicate and one wasn’t activated at all!
    So I asked that they do something about it, and was brought to customer services desk and they claimed they can’t do anything as it’s already late on sat (9.30pm) and asked me to return on sun.
    Came back on Sun and was waiting at desk even before it opened, and got a refund for £50 and they took my tesco cc no. and the 3v card that was activated twice (was really worried!). I did tell them that the card will not contain £50 on it as they claim and they should just activate another card for me and we would be done but they wouldn’t bite.
    Today I checked and got deducted 50 points (phew!) so all in all I’m up 100 points for all the trouble!
    Was there anything I could have done differently based on your experience?

    • In my experience activation @ Tesco can be very fickle. Only once has it ever gone through painlessly. Watch the operator carefully, and match up the printed activation slips with each card so you know for sure its been done correctly.

    • As I said on PTS, I just buy two at a time but try asking them to subtotal each time after scanning. Sometimes it doesn’t activate properly, not sure why.

      • I have been lucky. I must have bought about 30 now and a few other types of card and have never had the slightest problem; except finding the cards. I have taken the advice on here and only put four or fewer through at a time preferably with at least one other item.

        • I only ever buy max 4 at a time.

          I have only once had a problem, where the checkout operator scanned the same card twice but luckily I noticed when 2 of the authorisation till spits had the same number on.

          Thankfully customer services sorted it out before I left the store, though it did take longer to get it resolved than it did to scan the cards in the first place.

          I had a feeling I was going to have an issue that time when the checkout operator kept scanning the card hanger instead of the card itself & wondered why the value kept showing up as £0.00 each time. My till receipt had 10+ “card hangers” on it in the end!

          • Yes some of them don’t seem to know that they need to (a) use the handheld scanner to (b) scan the long barcode on the 3V card itself and (c) press sub-total after each card – if they do this then there’s a much higher chance of success!

          • SingingDwarf says:

            Actually, they can swipe the magnetic stripe, which is more reliable in my experience.

          • One cashier that I used swiped the magnetic strip which worked better than scanning the barcode which does not usually work very well

  13. If I were to combine this and pay with a Tesco credit card, would I still get the 5 points per £4 spent in Tesco, or as I’m purchasing a voucher, would it be a lower rate?

    I have an original BMI Mastercard paying 2 points, so I’m trying to figure out if I could gain more Avios through a Tesco credit card or with the BMI card.

    • If the BMI MasterCard is awarding 2 Avios per £1 spent that is definitely better than the Tesco card or any other MasterCard. I thought my BMI card with 2 Avios per pound on Amex was good!

      • I should have mentioned that my BMI/Diamond Club card is no longer available to new applicants and there are other even better legacy cards out there.

    • Bare in mind that whatever credit card you use, you normally earn 1CC/£1 spent in Tesco so you are getting this anyway. The Tesco credit card therefore gives a further 1CC/£4, hence by using that card instead of others, you are gaining 1CC/£4, (ie 2.6 Avios/£4) but perhaps losing 4 or 8 Avios per £4 when using another standard or legacy credit card.

      When buying 3V cards, you get a bonus of 150 CC per £50. So again, you get this 3CC/£1 whatever you use to buy them – even cash – but you need to compare points earned on the various credit cards and ignore the base/bonus CC at this point so see how you can benefit from a double-dip further. And whether you are buying 3V’s in Tesco or meat in Morrison’s, your credit card earning rate is likely to be unaffected, hence you need to use whatever card is always best for you.

    • BD701, I would not use your tesco credit card to pay, BUT use your old BMI card to pay, gives you 2 avs per £ or whatever deal you have. Then, have them swipe your tesco credit card as your club card, that’s where the double dip comes. Tell them you want points only on your tesco cc.Then you get the 150 club card pts for every £50 spent on gift cards. Thus each £ should net you 4.4 avios. Your two from paying , and 2.4 for every clubcard point. Winning all the way then.

      • BD701, I would not use your tesco credit card to pay, BUT use your old BMI card to pay, gives you 2 avs per £ or whatever deal you have. Then, have them swipe your tesco credit card as your club card, that’s where the double dip comes. Tell them you want points only on your tesco cc.Then you get the 150 club card pts for every £50 spent on gift cards. Thus each £ should net you 4.4 avios. Your two from paying , and 2.4 for every clubcard point. Winning all the way then.

        I’ll make a suggestion, then 2 corrections. Firstly, if you aren’t using the Tesco credit card for anything, don’t carry it around. Just use your normal clubcard as this avoids confusion and isn’t a security risk. Unless buying petrol at Tesco, there is no benefit to using the credit card as a clubcard. As for the corrections, if you’re getting 2 Avios or whatever on your other credit card, then you’re making a total of 2 + 3 x 2.4 = 9.2 Avios per £1, since you’re earning 3CC/£1 per £50 of giftcards. The other correction is to my own post above where I mistakenly wrote “(ie 2.6 Avios/£4)” when it should have been 2.4 Avios/£4 from using a Tesco credit card.

  14. Is this the optimum solution.

    We are about to buy a new vacuum cleaner which comes with a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty so where we buy it is irrelevant.
    My present plan is to buy £250 of 3v cards at Tesco (750 CC points) with my Amex card (500 Avios). Then buy £250 of Currys vouchers from TopGiftCards so £12.50 back as 1250 CC points.
    Convert 2000 CC points to 4800 Avios + 500 from Amex giving 5300 Avios for a £250 purchase + some faffing. Is there an even better way (or have I got it wrong?).

    Boy am I glad I found this site. Thanks again Rob.

    • Seems like it should work. Not sure if TGC has a limit on number of different cards you can use per day.

      Of course, make sure Currys is good value in the first place, if you overpay then it is all a bit pointless!

      • Do you just get one card from TGC then re-load it 9 times to get the £250 balance or get separate cards?

        • I am planning on using nine 3V cards to load £25 onto the first card, but this is my first attempt at this so may come unstuck. If necessary I will get 9 cards which is actually no more work to buy them and will annoy the children working in Currys.
          There is no hurry: since we have moved from a bungalow to a house we apparently need one vacuum cleaner for each floor!
          Currys are charging the same price as John Lewis, but I would be prepared to pay a little extra for 3,000 Avios.

          • You clearly don’t do the vacuuming and lucky you don’t have a town house, sorry couldn’t resist.

            I have used 3 gift vouchers from my credit card points and the till operator, a young girl didn’t batter an eye lid or mind.

            Let me know how you get on as I fancy another Sonos.

    • TGC hasn’t been accepting 3Vs for the past week.

      • I bought a card from them on 25/8 using 3V

        • Same here. Both new giftcard purchase & topup.

          • Apologies, just tried one and it works! Off to buy more 3Vs then. 😉

          • Phew.

            I think I’ll get some 3V’s tonight whilst you still can as I do fancy getting a Sonos for the kitchen.

          • TGC pick occasional purchases for VerifiedbyVisa-type checks, which of course you cannot pass with a 3V card. Once that card is flagging as failing the check, you won’t be able to use it for a TGC purchase, but there’s a good chance that the next 3V card you try will work fine.

  15. Has anyone managed to use 3v cards to pay for their car tax online?

    • It does seem to be difficult to pay for a ‘purchase’ of more than £25 without amalgamating the cards at considerable expense. It seems to be mainly utilities and councils which accept random amounts.

    • No, but they now take amex, if you search hard enough you will find the option!

  16. hi i was wondering if anyone has added these to their paypal account?

    • I did couple of days ago and I still regret it…

      After adding 6 debit cards to my account and using them in <10mins, my account got suspended. I tried to explain them what had happened, but they still can't get it and request copies of my debit card statements (for each 3V ofc). Well, I decided to give them one more day to grasp the concept of VISA gift cards and will contact them again.

      It's a bit of shame because I found a way to use almost unlimited amount of these cards if only PayPal allows me.

      • Shuck, opal, bad luck. But really grateful that you’ve shared that so the rest of us are warned. I seldom use paypal so have never tried, and heard its a bit of a pain, but now definitely will stay away.

        • Let’s be fair here: similar actions should raise alarms. Registering six new cards and making six £25 transactions to the same merchant is certainly not a standard spending pattern.

          I haven’t given up all hopes in PayPal yet.

          • Nope, not normal, and as a “bank” I don’t blame Paypal for reacting that way. Just grateful that we haven’t faced similar issues when using the same spending pattern on council tax/utilities/giftcards/NS&I deposits/Amazon…

  17. Hear people over on PTS use to pay for paypal transactions and ebay fees so if you careful and not too many at one time it does work.

  18. I have not tried it yet, but I imagine that the vouchers referred to are those which give a further discount rather than gift vouchers which pay the bill.