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 (June 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 – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. 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.

  • Nick says:

    Just to confirm- if I purchase 2 x £25 cards from tesco, I get the bonus tesco club card points.

    How many times can I do this? Will tesco only give the bonus points once per tesco club card account?

  • Alan says:

    As per the previous thread, didn’t work with O2 pre-pay for me.

  • Ian says:

    Managed to pick up 6 of these cards and have just paid off some of the next tax return – it’s a bit of a tedious process. Not sure it’s worth the effort, definitely not worth it if they drop the bonus clubcard points.

    Oh well – I’ll take some comfort from the extra 2220 avios I’ll get for my efforts (thanks in part to the generous legacy 800 avios per 250 clubcard points rate I get – and in part to the old school BMI mastercard I used).

  • Simon says:

    Managed to pay off my Council Tax for this year with these now, I’ve got a Priority Club Visa & HHonors Visa so I should be able to put some through those although I’m sure they will add them to the blocked list in the near future.

    Has anyone any experience with what’s required if you activate 3V cards with a total value greater than £1625 in any 365-day period? The FAQ online says you need provide sufficient evidence of your ID and home address, I’m sure one of the comments on one of the topics indicated if was complicated than simply scanning and emailing them some proof.

  • Londonbus says:

    On Scottish Power your payment should be for £24.64 – this rounds to £25.00 after SP take off the 1.5% handling charge.

  • Andy says:

    Top up GIiffgaff airtime works

  • Dan says:

    My local Tesco had run out of these after I cleared them out a few weeks ago. But I checked again last night and 20 had been restocked onto the shelf. I took them all to the till to buy. The cashier called a supervisor over as I was trying to buy lots of them, but the supervisor said there weren’t any restrictions as far as she knew and let me carry on buying them. Unfortunately, 3 of them failed activation at the till, so I could only buy 17 for £425. I got 1200 bonus clubcard points, plus my AMEX Avios, and got some way towards a target spend.

    I had a little system going when I got home, scratching all the panels off, typing the numbers into a spreadsheet, copying and pasting to activate them, and then paying onto my tax bill at HMRC in £25 chunks. I reckon it took under 3 minutes per card in total, and it’s easily done with a laptop while watching TV.

    • dan says:

      same here… didnt want them lying around to get lost cancelled……

    • Michael Christie says:

      Dan
      exactly how i do it – HMRC onyl allows 20 cards per day so ive prepaid £2200 onto paye for company for next month – like you i rub all number off – then one at a time activate then pay £25 to hmrc….takes around 2.5 mins per card.

      ive added 6600 cc points plus using BMI Amex at 2.5 points per pound is a fair wee number of avios for just a few hours extra work – PLUS no added 1.4% fee to pay to hmrc.

  • Ant says:

    I cannot find any in the City so I went to the Tesco Surrey Quays yesterday evening and they have loads.

    • ringingup says:

      I may go later today then! Please don’t buy them all! 🙂

    • Rob says:

      Excelllent – I promised my wife I’d go to Decathlon this week for something anyway!

      • Ant says:

        The gift cards seem to be all over the shop. There were no visa gift cards in the stationery section when you come in, though there were all others – so it was pretty disappointing. And then we saw some more gift cards at the end of the aisles on the side of the check out counters and that’s where they were. Easy to miss.

        • ringingup says:

          Ant, can you confirm which type of gift cards they were?

      • Rob says:

        Important – my local spy tells me that Surrey Quays only has the £50 gift cards with the £4 fee, not the 3V ones. Still OK if you’ve got a ‘spend £x, get £y off’ coupon.

        • ringingup says:

          It sounded too good to be true.

          • Ed E says:

            I can confirm that they only have the fee paying ones. I pop in every evening and most mornings on my way to and from work and they haven’t restocked them since they all went over 2 weeks ago.
            I was about to buy a £50 fee paying card with my £4 off coupon only to find it expired on Sunday and I am a fool. Will use this week’s to get one unless I see any more 3V ones.

          • Ant says:

            Last night at 20:30 at Tesco Surrey Quays i bought 8 visa 3V cards of £25 which I have activated this morning. They are exactly like the one in the pic above.

            As mentioned before in the stationery section they had others including the fee paying ones but no 3V ones.
            The ones I got where at the end of one of the aisles where they had at least another 40 cards.

          • London Andy says:

            I live very close to the Surrey Quays Tesco and when my wife went in last night there were about 10 left (thanks for not clearing them out Ant!). She bought 2, and I bought the last 4 this morning.

          • Rob says:

            That would be why then! There were definitely none there this morning.

          • Ant says:

            Thanks Andy – was starting to think i was going crazy.

          • Ed E says:

            Well, I think we know where we are going to have the first HfP meet up then! I didn’t realise there was such a concentration of us in SE16.
            Will do a full trawl of the shop on my way home again anyway. I am the one in airline high vis!

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