Yesterday afternoon saw one of those crazy moments in the miles and points game.
It started at 3.36pm, when a poster on Flyertalk callyed Richyo said that he had just redeemed 4,000 American Express Membership Rewards points for a £100 Tesco gift card. This was a 2.5p per point value – at least 250% more than you would expect to get from MR on a good day, and 500% more than you usually get for gift card redemptions.
It turns out that someone at Amex had made a big mistake.
Tesco gift cards are a new offering this year from American Express. As an introductory offer, they were meant to be offered at a 16% discount. The £100 card, for instance, should have been reduced from 24,000 points to 20,000.
However, someone somewhere read their instructions wrong. Instead of reducing the price to 20,000, they reduced it by 20,000! You were getting an 84% discount!
The gift cards shot out of stock very quickly. By 4.57pm, just 80 minutes after it was posted on Flyertalk, it was dead. Tesco gift cards disappeared from the Amex website.
I placed a tentative order for £550-worth, for 22,000 Membership Rewards points. I don’t shop at Tesco, but I figured out that this was enough to get myself an iPad 5 when they appear later this year.
Amazingly, as I type this (8pm Wednesday), there are STILL some other products on offer at huge discounts. There is a Dyson DC34 handheld vacuum cleaner, reduced from 38,450 points to 3,990. They sell on eBay for £120.
They are also still offering 12 bottles of red wine from Laithwaites for 2,920 points instead of the usual 19,540.
I have passed on both of these. We don’t drink much red wine at home and becoming a Dyson reseller is too time consuming. By the time you read this these deals might be dead as well.
However, I have an e-mail confirmation for my £550 of Tesco gift cards. Let’s see if Amex choose to deliver.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – October 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.