Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

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It was two weeks ago that I originally ran a version of this article, discussing places which accept the 3V Virtual Visa cards.

(If you missed the original post, you can buy two £25 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 post is here.)

Head for Points automatically closes articles to new comments after two weeks.  I have therefore republished the list below, with the latest additions, so that people can continue to comment.

Here is a list of places (utility companies mainly, I have ignored normal online retailers where they will always be accepted) 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.)

BT

Charles Stanley (an investment group)

Co-Operative Energy

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

EDF

E.ON

Freemans

highstreetvouchers.com (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, maximum of 20 cards can be used per day)

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

Npower

O2

Orange

Oyster (Tube tickets in London)

Royal Mint (see this post on buying 50p coins for 50p!)

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

South West Water

TalkTalk

Virgin Media

With caveats:

Barclaycard (works to settle Priority Club and Hilton HHonors credit cards, does not appear to work with standard Barclaycard bills.  However, you cannot use more than two 3V cards in a day and no more than five in one month.)

First Utility (in your profile is the option to pay part of a bill, however once you have done this once the option disappears and further transactions must be done on the telephone)

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

Capital One credit cards (to pay bill)

Hargreaves Lansdown (an investment group – this was working but now seems to have been blocked)

MBNA credit cards (to pay bill)

Scottish Gas

Selftrade

T-Mobile

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 (May 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 £15,000 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

10,000 points bonus – plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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 sign-up 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 (106)

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

  • James67 says:

    Raffles, do the fees on these cards kick in 9 months after tesco purchase or 9 months after activation at 3V? Thx

    • Rob says:

      Good question, no idea

    • Ed E says:

      I am pretty sure that the purchase of them and the till spit saying “Activation Successful” is when the 9 months date starts, another way of 3V limiting the time on their liability.

      If you have any that you bought in one month and registered on the 3V website the following month, you will see that they show the month you bought them as the activation date and the expiry date is 12 months from the date you bought them.

      Ed

  • James Ward says:

    Ecotricity for gas and electricity with no limits (as far as I can tell).

  • Tangey says:

    Airtricity (electricity supplier in N.I.)

  • Roger says:

    [slightly OT but posted here because it’s the latest 3V thread; Raffles, please move if appropriate]

    Slightly bizarre experience. I had a call from somebody purporting to be from American Express from an 0800 number. I initially refused to give my card number/date of birth/mother’s maiden name to somebody calling out of the blue from an anonymous number – identity theft, anyone?

    Anyway, after we sorted that, it turns out that they had had suspicions about a transaction. Did I recognise Tesco Stores?? I had made 2x £200 transactions using my BA PP AmEx and 2x £200 with my Gold card and they were querying one of the Gold transactions. The transactions were purchases of 3V cards.

    A response to my subsequent e-mail included the gem that if I were to make a high risk transaction – Tesco high risk ?? – I should warn them in advance. The weasel words went on that they valued our relationship wince 2004. Make that about 1994, please. Oh dear.

    • Roger says:

      I forgot to say that the anonymous caller wouldn’t give a reason for the call as they needed to be sure who they were talking to. Er yes,me too.

    • Squillion says:

      Yep – calls from the relative fraud department are part and parcel of this wheeze, but I find that they are easily satisfied that nothing untoward is going on when you explain.

  • Brendan says:

    Anyone know if they work for Vodafone bills?

  • Jovan says:

    As I wrote in the previous thread – when paying for HHonors and Priority Club Rewards Barclaycard Visa cards, you can only use 2 cards/numbers in 30 days period [5 transactions allowed in the same period] – so if you want to make more than £50 payments, there will be some loss on 3V transfer between cards [£1.75 per transfer].

    • ComeFlyWithMe123 says:

      To get around the limit of 2 cards/numbers in 30days – use their automated payment system via the telephone. Workd a treat for me after being declined online for going over the limit. I have just checked my 3v account and payment has gone through successfully. This was for priority club black visa.

      Regards

      ComeFlyWithMe123

  • Rohan says:

    I bought a few of these a week apart. Used a couple when I first bought it to test the process, worked fine! However got some free time only a couple days ago so sat to use them all, to my horror 5 of them did not get activated . Error message that these numbers are not recognised . Emailed them and see their response
    “Hi ,

    Thanks for contacting us.

    So I can see that the 3V GiftCards with those Activation Codes were not marked as paid
    when purchased. It is the retailer’s responsibility to swipe the GiftCard through
    the Blackhawk Network terminal to mark it as paid before they complete the purchase.

    Unfortunately, it will necessary for you to return the GiftCard to the retailer with any
    receipt or proof of purchase to ask for a refund or replacement. Because the GiftCard
    was not marked as paid through a GiftCard terminal, the retailer sold you GiftCards
    that cannot be used.

    The retailer can verify that the cards were not marked as paid, by checking their records
    of GiftCard purchases through the terminal on the day it was sold to you. There will be
    a discrepancy between the record of 3V GiftCards sold that day through the retailer’s
    GiftCard terminal and the record of GiftCards sold through the retailer’s tills.”

    Unfortunately, don’t have a receipt but only my Amex credit card statement , I have also scratched the cards to unveil pins during activation process, and this Tesco store is nowhere close to me.
    Will be making a special journey to return these cards but I expect confusion on part of the store and a battle on my hands, any tips on how to approach this?

    • Jovan says:

      Beside general Tesco receipt, there should have been also number of individual receipts for each card where it would’ve said that activation is successful. I take it you didn’t check that before throwing them away? 🙁

    • Mr Bridge says:

      you probably didnt pay for them, because if they wernt attivated they wont charge, does the amount charged on you amex statement = the cards, if not try tesco customer services, then if not try amex refund protection.

      • Rohan says:

        Unfortunately I did pay for them… Going tomorrow to see how to sort this

        • Andy says:

          I don’t see how you could have paid for them. If the chit does not say activation successful then at the end of the transaction the Tesco receipt will automatically refund the ones that didn’t go through, I had this twice a week or so ago

  • Mr Bridge says:

    3 v does not work on national lottery.
    i belive you can register for the tv licence saving scheme:
    http://cashplans.tvlicensing.co.uk/
    “This is for people who have at least three months left on their current TV Licence before it expires and want to save towards their next licence. You can pay in small, manageable amounts from as little as £2.00.
    You can make a payment at any time, either online, by text, at any PayPoint outlet or over the phone.
    To join, call us on 0300 555 0281.”

    • Squillion says:

      Brilliant find Mr Bridge 😉

    • Squillion says:

      Easy enough to get yourself set up over the phone. Will tell you how soon it gets activated and payments can begin.

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