Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Free Avios with 3V Virtual Visa – our list of places where you can use the card

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My article last week on buying the fee-free 3V Virtual Visa giftcard in Tesco has attracted a huge number of comments, over 170 at the time of writing.

(If you missed the original post, you can buy 3V Virtual Visa cards in Tesco for £50, earn 150 bonus Clubcard points – 360 Avios points – and then use the cards to pay off online bills where only debit cards are accepted.  My main 3V Virtual Visa article is here.)

3V card

I have been through all of your comments on 3V cards.  Here is a list of places where they definitely can and cannot be used online:

Works fine:

Amazon (Amazon sells online gift vouchers from 10p.  Ordering a voucher to be sent to yourself is a great way to empty your 3V card if you have a small balance left.  You can then add your gift voucher to your Amazon account as a credit, and it will be used next time you order.  If you use our Amazon link here, Head for Points gets a commission when you order a gift voucher.)

Barclaycard (works to settle Priority Club and Hilton HHonors credit cards, does not appear to work with standard Barclaycard bills)

Council tax (varies by authority, of course, but most accept debit cards these days)




Hargreaves Landsown (lets you use the cards for a wide range of vouchers eg John Lewis)

HMRC (treated as a debit card so no 1.4% fee to pay)

Next (to pay off account balance, although you can also use Next gift cards from Tesco for this)




Sky (Sky also lets you prepay online, using that balance up before recommencing your normal direct debit)

South West Water


Virgin Media

With caveats:

Scottish Power (will take it but treat it as a credit card with a 1.4% fee)

TV Licence (cannot split payment, so would need to pay the £1.75 per card transfer fee to move £150 onto one 3V card)

Does not work:

American Express (to pay bill)

British Gas

MBNA credit cards (to pay bill)

Scottish Gas


Tesco online shopping (surprised by this, any other reports?)

Tesco savings account (when depositing using a debit card)

Please continue to add your own experiences with utility companies, credit card companies etc.  We know that they should work as ‘normal’ with online retailers so that is less important unless there is a special tweak involved.  Other ideas apart from Amazon for cashing out very small remaining balances are also welcome.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

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

40,000 bonus 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.

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

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 9th April) and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

Huge 60,000 points sign-up bonus (until 9th April) 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 (129)

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

  • Londonbus says:

    Does 3V work on BT – there’s an option on the BT website to make a payment to your telephone account,

    • Ed E says:

      Yes, it works fine on BT so you can build up a positive balance and they take that before the Direct Debit.

      • Ed E says:

        I will let you know when my next bill comes out and see what happens. I still elect to pay the whole bull by DD but I just happen to have put some credit in the account!
        Learning experience I suppose – Ed

      • Londonbus says:

        Not in my experience, no.

  • Jovan says:

    Got this response from HHonors Card people:

    We are constantly looking at ways to improve the security of both our customers and the Hilton Hhonors Platinum Visa card. One of the ways we look to do this is to place some limits on the debit card payments you can make in a month. At present these are limited to no more than 5 payments or 2 different cards within a 30 day period, up to a maximum of £3000 in one transaction. If our customers reach these limits we will allow an alternative payment method from the information on the back of your statement or the online FAQ facility.

    So, it is 5 payments, but only 2 different numbers.

  • What's the Point says:

    Visited another Tesco Extra today in Manchester (Gorton) and they had 20 on the shelf, so picked half of them up. That’s the most I can stomach processing in one sitting before going a bit stir crazy.
    What’s the most anyone has activated and spent in one sitting?

    • Michael Christie says:

      Ive put through 2 x 20 & 1 x15 batches for hmrc….around 2 mins per card. hrmc blocks anymore payts after 20 in one day – so had to call up to get it lifted.
      Used bmi card for these….so well over 10000 avios for a few hours work 🙂

  • Jimmy says:

    Travel Republic paying for a hotel with 8 3v cards

  • ringingup says:

    Any stock updates in Central London? I couldn’t find any in Tesco Metro Tooley Street.

  • Roger says:

    It works on Scottish power but treats card as credit card.
    So you end up paying 1.5% surcharge but still in profit as you also get 10p per litre off coupon from Tesco.
    Not a bad deal IMO.

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

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