If two sightings of something are enough to be called a trend, we have a new trend in loyalty credit cards – the premium-priced Visa or MasterCard.
Last week I broke the news about the HSBC Premier World Elite MasterCard. This costs £195 but offers you 1 Avios per £1 spent and free airport lounge access. You must be a HSBC Premier current account holder to apply.
Tesco Bank is now jumping on the bandwagon. To be honest, I have no idea what they are thinking of. The offering seems pretty weak although full details are not yet available.
(EDIT: the card is now launched, full details can be seen here.)
You cannot apply for the card yet. This is the package:
Annual fee of £150
Earn 1 Clubcard point for every £4 spent (rounded down, per transaction, to the nearest £4)
Earn 1 Clubcard point for every £1 spent in Tesco
However you dress it up, this is poor. This is virtually the same deal – apart from the enhanced rate for spending in Tesco – that the FREE Tesco card offered until it was downgraded in December.
Let’s use the ASDA Money credit card, which pays 0.5% cashback as a statement credit, as a comparison. That card is free.
You would need to be redeeming your Clubcard points for a deal worth 3 x their face value to beat the ASDA card – and even then, it would be so marginal that the £150 fee would not be worth it.
Let’s look at it from an Avios point of view. You would be earning 0.6 Avios points per £1 spent (ignoring, for the now, the loss of value because transactions are rounded down to the nearest £4).
The free Tesco MasterCard gets you 0.3 Avios per £1 spent.
If you value an Avios point at 1p, you would need to spend £50,000 for the Premium card to be a better deal!
(50,000 x 0.6p per £1 of Avios = £300 of rewards, whilst 50,000 x 0.3p per £1 of Avios = £150.)
More astonishingly, just to recoup the annual fee in Clubcard vouchers – ie to get back £150 of vouchers at face value – requires £60,000 of spending.
It is totally bizarre and I cannot imagine what Tesco Bank is thinking. If they were offering 0.5 Clubcard points per £1 then I could make a case (just) for recommending it to high spenders. At 0.25 Clubcard points per £1 it is a dead duck.
Unless, of course, Tesco Bank offers a substantial sign-up bonus. 6,000 Clubcard points would get you 14,400 Avios or 15,000 Virgin miles for your £150 fee and you would get extra benefit from using the card for non-Amex transactions. That would be the lowest worthwhile offer I think. If the bonus was higher than 6,000 points I would recommend it without hesitation. There was, however, no mention of a sign-up bonus in the teaser email I saw.
There is also a promise of ‘travel benefits’ included. Perhaps we will be surprised here but there is no reason why Tesco should be spending money on benefits few customers would value. Let’s wait and see.
(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards? Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)