Credit & Charge Card Reviews (14): Tesco Clubcard MasterCard

This is my review of the Tesco Clubcard MasterCard credit card.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page.

My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Equifax credit report and score. Your first 30 days are free then it’s £14.95 per month. You can cancel at anytime.

Key link: Tesco Clubcard MasterCard application form

Key facts: No annual fee

The representative APR is 18.9% variable.

About the card

The Tesco Clubcard MasterCard is issued by Tesco Bank, which is now wholly owned by Tesco following its acquisition of Royal Bank of Scotland’s stake a few years ago.

Tesco Clubcard MasterCard credit card review

What is the sign-up bonus?

None at present.

Any other benefits?

This version of the card offers:

  • 0% interest on purchases for up to the first 20 months
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 3 months (2.9% balance transfer fee, you can transfer up to 95% of your available credit limit)

There are other versions of the Tesco Clubcard MasterCard available, some with lower interest rates and some with good interest free or balance transfer deals.

This version (click) offers 0% interest for up to 30 months on new purchases

This version (click) offers 0% interest for up to 38 months on balance transfers

This version (click) offers a low interest rate of 5.9%

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You earn 1 Clubcard point for every £8 spent on the card on a ‘per transaction’ basis.

It is important that you understand what ‘per transaction’ means. At the most extreme, if you bought 100 items at £7.99 in separate transactions, you would earn zero Clubcard points. A £15.99 transaction would only earn one point, whilst a £16.00 transaction would earn two points.

Transaction in Tesco stores will earn double points.

How does that convert to Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles?

One Clubcard point is worth 2.4 Avios or 2.5 Virgin Flying Club miles, so every £1 spent on the card gets you up to 0.3 Avios or 0.312 Virgin miles.

You will receive a statement once a quarter containing your Clubcard vouchers, and you can convert these online to Avios or Virgin or redeem them for any of Tesco’s other ‘Clubcard Boost’ deals. You can even spend the vouchers in-store at Tesco at their face value, although this is a poor use of them.

This is the most generous free Visa or MasterCard card available for earning Avios. 0.3 Avios per £1 is better than you get from the Lloyds Avios Rewards card. However, my enthusiasm for the Tesco card has dropped since it halved its earning rate a couple of years ago:

the ’rounding down to the nearest £8′ rule has an impact on the points you earn. Unless you only use the card for major (£100+) purchases, you will find that your average earning rate per £1 spent is lower than the advertised 0.125 Clubcard points / 0.3 Avios.

if you get the £24 Lloyds Avios Rewards card (0.25 Avios per £1 on the MasterCard), your spend will also count towards the flight upgrade voucher issued at £7,000 of spending

The major virtues of the Tesco Clubcard MasterCard are:

it is free, whilst the Lloyds Avios Rewards card costs £24 per year

you don’t have to deal with Lloyds, which has a poor track record of customer service

if there is ever a return to regular ‘Clubcard to Avios’ transfer bonuses, your earnings rate will be better than you think

you can use your Clubcard points for something else if you change your mind about taking Avios – Uber is now a Clubcard partner, for example, and gives you 3 x the face value of your vouchers as Uber credit

If you meet the stringent wealth criteria for a HSBC Premier current account, remember that the HSBC Premier MasterCard offers an unbeatable 0.5 Avios per £1 and is free.

Any other quirks?

Yes. Your Tesco credit card doubles up as a standard Tesco Clubcard.

It is perfectly acceptable to hand over your Tesco credit card in a Tesco store and ask them to swipe it as a Clubcard. You can then pay for your shopping on a more lucrative credit card!

What is an Avios point worth?

This post outlines my view of what an Avios point is worth, based on some typical redemption patterns.

However, one key benefit of Tesco Clubcard points is that you do not have to convert to Avios.  Unlike dedicated airline credit cards, you have the option to convert to Avios or Virgin miles, but there is also the flexibility to use them for any other good Tesco deals that come along.  I used to use a large pile of vouchers to pay a regular Safestore bill and now I use them for Uber.

Conclusion

Assuming you convert your Clubcard vouchers to Avios points, the earning rate of 0.3 Avios points per £1 is as good as it gets if you don’t qualify for HSBC Premier.

Whilst you rarely see conversion bonuses from Tesco to Avios these days, conversion bonuses to Virgin Flying Club from Tesco are more common. You may rate the card higher if you collect Virgin miles.

The application form for the Tesco Clubcard MasterCard can be found here.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

My great value reward stay at The Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Desert resort in Ras Al Khaimah
BOOKABLE THIS AFTERNOON: New IHG PointBreaks list of 100 x 5,000 point hotels
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Comments

  1. No comparison to the Tesco debit card? 1 cc / £8 on purchases and 1 cc / £1 in Tesco until 1 Apr 19.

  2. Michael C says:

    So this would be a good card to take out to pay Corporation Tax with?
    (thanks in advance!)

    • You’d be better off with the Tesco debit card

      • Yep, I’m a big fan of the debit card. 3% interest on both my accounts (snuck in before DD and funding requirements), ability to pay in cheques and cash at Tesco store (very handy for Curve ATM withdrawals!), petrol 1 point per £ feature and decent earnings rate at Tesco. Must confess have been needing to hit Amex targets recently though so not using it to pay in-store much (and no extra amount for using it as Clubcard in store, only at petrol stations).

        • If you offset the card fee against your business profits it is OK, but I would strongly suggest IHG Premium (2 IHG points per £1) as the best points option for paying tax, especially with the free night voucher for spending £10k.

  3. It’s time to remind everyone about the ‘pay at pump’ trick. Using your Tesco Credit Card as the club card, then paying with another higher yielding card, gets you a club card point per pound rather than per litre (or whatever the rate is nowadays) – a better earning rate.

  4. Worth using Rich and Mike’s suggestions (i used my Clubcard, Amex and 20p off voucher yesterday) but also using the Tesco pay app linked to your chosen payment csrd as they seem to have some promotions with that at different times for first uses …. i got an extra 500 this time last year.

  5. OT but credit cards: It looks like both the Virgin and United cards have disappeared from mbna site during the last 24h.

  6. Roger I* says:

    Virgin Money still promoting the MBNA cards:
    https://uk.virginmoney.com/virgin/cards/vaa.jsp

    • Something is up.

      Etihad has pulled its MBNA card from its website although, as of last night, it was still on MBNA.

      • Etihad still on mbna this morning at time I pasted above link but United gone in addition to Virgin at that page at least.

        • Wally1976 says:

          Yes looking at the MBNA site now I can see Emirates, Etihad, AA and Miles & More. Appreciate it might still be possible to access other cards via other links.

          Not surprised re the Virgin cards – tried to apply for wife and I a week or so ago and we didn’t even get past the eligibility check (mind you, we have both cancelled such cards in the last few months so that could be why).

      • I speculate if Etihad is just coincidence – as they are doing website works at present I believe. The guest website only has a single global version.
        I’d further speculate about the United card possibly converting to a Visa only product shortly?

        Virgin, goodness knows.

        • No it’s not, I asked the boss!

        • Lets see what happens then. New month begins tomorrow.
          Regarding United, in the past November has been the month of big signup bonuses (on the rare occasions they have been offered, and by the standards of the united card e.g. 15k max).

        • United card has gone from the MBNA and United sites so I think we can assume that is dead.

        • Ah, while it had disappeared from the MBNA site yesterday morning, it was still listed on the United Airlines page here until at least 3am this morning:
          https://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/Marketing/CustComm/Promotions/Pages/CreditPartners.aspx

          Agreed, dead (at least with MBNA)

        • Click that link now and it’s not there!

        • I have the Virgin MBNA Black Amex – if this is being pulled along with other MBNA Amex card, what happens? Will the card just resort to MBNA as the mutterings seem to be that Virgin Money will launch a Virgin Atlantic card? Surely they can’t transfer the card from MBNA to Virgin Money as they are two different companies? So lots of people who have been using the Virgin card to get Virgin miles will find they just have a bog standard credit card with probably no rewards?

        • That’s what happened to holders of the Barclaycard-issued IHG card.

          On the upside, you’ll get a new sign up bonus when you apply for the new card.

        • Agreed United is dead (at least with MBNA) – as I said below the link when posting it!

  7. Wally1976 says:

    Don’t think anyone else has mentioned – you can usually get around £30 cashback from the cashback sites when applying for these cards. £50 or so for the premium card (I’m guessing Rob’s review of this to come tomorrow).

    • Wally1976 says:

      PS – if I name the cashback sites my comments won’t post so if you don’t know what they are just Google it!

  8. Scottydogg says:

    I don’t like the idea on not earning if you are spending under £8 (if ive read this correct)
    I often use non Amex cards in smaller shops that don’t accept Amex like pubs and corner shops , a lot of the time the spend will be under £8 , i like to know that i am earning all the time and don’t feel pressured into perhaps buying more stuff to bring it over £8 ! 🙂

    Also , i don’t want a card in my wallet with strawberries on it !

    • Wally1976 says:

      Yes you’re right re no points when spending under £8.

      There is an alternative card design, however (or at least there was when I got the no fee and 0% balance transfer version not too long ago)!

    • RussellH says:

      No points for spending under £8 is a killer for me too. I got my card because of a 1000 clubcard points promotion for taking it out (learned about this here, of course). I have only ever used it at Tesco; even a minuimum of £4 is bad enough. These days it just sits in the drawer.

      And remember that Amex and IHG M’Cards also round down to whole pounds. For small purchases, unless they happen to be a whole number of pounds I stick to my Hilton Visa, as they give two points per whole pound on the final bill, not per transaction.

      • The way to make the Tesco credit cards work better is to opt for a 0% zero fee long term balance transfer version. Transfer a balance into it and pay the minimum payment each month. Save the fuhds you would otherwise pay off in a regular saver at 5% and use the balance to pay off the credit card before interest free period ends. Tesco will offer a second card soon after taking out the first card so then by opting for a long term 0% purchase card it becomes possible to earn points on spending at 0% and repeat the savings orocess with a second regular saver or high interest current account. This strategy is ofcourse dependent on not already exploiting such regular savers or bank accounts.

        • BA Premium Amex does strict mathematical rounding, useful where you have lots of small purchases. My £2.40 coffee always appears as 4 Avios.

  9. Scottydogg says:

    Any idea if Tesco are going to run another deal on converting Clubcard points to Avios or is that a thing of the past ?
    Im been saving them up for a while now hoping for a deal

    • No mention yet. Our Tesco vouchers landed yesterday along with the Xmas saver (and bonus vouchers).

      • I got 9x bonus point coupons with mine, a huge surprise as it’s the first coupon I’ve received in any shape or form since early 2014. They must have seen me shopping at Sainsbury.

  10. One thing that isn’t mentioned is that not everyone gets the rates/interest free periods advertised. I applied for the 6.9%Apr card and got 10.9%, which makes me far less likely to use it. (I know you shouldn’t pay interest on credit cards but 6.9% isn’t that much if you need to spread the cost of a large purchase over a few months, and means I wouldn’t have to apply for more credit to get an interest free period)

    • If you “need to spread the cost of a large purchase” then you should wait until you can afford it or get a 0% purchase/BT card.

      You can also get personal loans for 3-4%.

  11. Do you know if it is possible to ‘downgrade’ my normal credit card to low-rate card? Like with AMEX – switching the black one to blue. I have a balance to repay on my current card by would like to have lower APR if not on this then at least on future purchases