Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Tesco toughens up on earning points for ink cartridge recycling

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Back in October, I ran this article explaining how to earn some cheap Avios by buying used printer ink cartridges on eBay and sending them to Tesco for recycling, in return for Tesco Clubcard points.

Towards the end of 2012, some people found that Tesco was delaying the credit of cartridges to their account.  It was never clear what was going on, but I got the impression that someone was buying cartridges FROM Tesco’s recycling partner, putting them onto eBay for sale and then people were sending them BACK to the recycling firm in return for points!  (This is only my guess, let me be clear.)

Whatever the problem was, Tesco did eventually give people the points they were due and the recycling scheme continued (and still continues) as it always did.

The new 2013 list of applicable cartridges accepted for recycling has just been released.

Some of the most popular cartridges – especially the HP 364 model – have had their points value reduced from 100 points to 50 points.  This was the most popular cartridge to buy off eBay, unfortunately.

Cartridge recycling is still a great way of getting some value Clubcard points (and therefore Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles) for the cartridges you use at home.  It is not necessarily such a good deal for ‘trading’ them anymore.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous 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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

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

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (9)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • mrtibbs1999 says:

    I think that these changes, will, in the long run make things better. The fact that people were buying and sending 100 at a time was never sustainable. Looking on ebay, you can still get qualifying cartridges for less than a pound each, however, most of the good deals are now in smaller bundles. This will mean that it will take longer to collect the points, meaning the short term collectors will be put off possibly lowering prices further.

    From the POV of individuals, sending cartridges in to Tesco in smaller numbers will also look more organic , stop the risk of Tesco witholding to push you to a new calender year and will spread the points out over the 12 months.

    • inflationbusting says:

      What qualifying cartridges now cost less than £1 and are easy to buy in bulk?

      • Mrtibbs1999 says:

        Have a look on eBay. 175 350’s for 80 quid is a good deal and there are plenty more. I just got 300 cartridges for 170 quid so unless you have the devalued ones already bought, it is still on!

  • Zoe B says:

    I’d only just bought 300 hp364s from eBay so I’m pretty unhappy. Just have to remember we are trying to play the long game and keep my eyes open for the next opportunity.

  • Jason says:

    A nice money earner for Royal Mail, assuming they actually make a profit with their recent price increases.

  • DJ says:

    This is annoying! My printer actually uses 364 inks! BAH! This will explain why I received 200 points, rather than 400 the other day.

  • JP says:

    The empty ink cartridge prices have dropped quite a lot lately, so maybe this is the reason that Tesco have dropped their price.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.