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.

  • Benge says:

    Is there any way to redeem the value of stamps? Postal orders etc?

    • Trevor says:

      Not sure how else to redeem other than use, or sell. And considering in 2011 the 1st class stamp price went up by 12%, in 2012 it went up by 30%, you could do far worse than an “investment” in stamps at a 6.7% discount price. If you seldom use stamps, then you’d be using them way into the future when they’d be valued at even more, so your ROI would be greatest, though if you kept and sold them in a few years, you’d get a better ROI than any other standard investment, and it couldn’t be more safe.

  • Rocky says:

    Picked up £300 worth from the tesco store in clapham south london they had over 30 in stock (yes i counted them all) but they did not know how to scan it, total nightmare i had to explain to them what to do. Cause it was taking a long time to process the check out team leader (what it said on his badge) said he would give me only four, i then said to him let me speak to the store manager the team leader then smiled at me and said ‘on this occasion you can have them all’……………i won’t be going back there.

  • Alan says:

    Another data point – 3V accepted without a problem by the DVLA for renewing a tax disc. Handy as they charge £2.50 for using a credit card! Off to spend the remaining £5 of this card on an Amazon voucher 😉

  • Toddy says:

    I went to FIVE Tesco Extras today and couldn’t find a single 3V card. Stores visited were Stockport, Northwich, Swindon, Gloucester and Cirencester.

    A productive day at work :p

  • Brendan says:

    I picked up 4 in Belfast last night. Got a packet of sausage rolls on offer for £1 so that my £7 off £70 coupon for this week might work….and it did!

    £100 credit + sausage rolls =£94 + 301 Clubcard points + 188 Amex points + 10p per litre off petrol

    Not bad!

    • Toddy says:

      Brendan, did Belfast have many in stock?
      Thanks

    • Rob says:

      The T&C’s actually mean to say ‘can’t be used for Tesco Gift Cards’ – and if you try that, the till automatically blocks it.

      I have never had a problem using a conditional spend coupon for other gift cards and I’ve probably done 6-7 purchases this year with them.

  • ME2 says:

    Hi

    Please advise if anybody has found these in N London in past few days ? None at Colney Hatch and a sad lonely one at Tesco Brent Cross !

    I know that earlier they were spotted at Brent Park Wembley and I can make a trip there tomorrow if that is still the case

    thank you

    Mark

  • takke says:

    Just thought that I’d let you know a couple of things I found out today:

    The physical Visa Prepaid cards (i.e. not the 3V ones) can be used in Tesco to pay for other gift cards. I tried this using Cineworld and Pizza Express gift cards but I presume that you could use them to pay for the Visa cards as well. Of course, this is not a very cost-effective way of getting Avios…I only happened to try it out with one £50 card as the first store I was in didn’t have any 3V ones.

    Secondly, and this could be more useful to people: I applied for an NS&I ‘Direct Saver’ using one of my 3V cards. This accepted my payment, which has come out on my 3V online statement. You can only use one card to set up the account, but more funds can be added from a card later. The account will take a few days to set up for ID checks before I can add the extra money, but according to the website, money can be withdrawn from the account to a UK bank account free of charge. I’ll keep you updated on how this goes but it could be a way of getting the cash out without 3V’s bank transfer fees.

    • Ed E says:

      Hi Takke,
      This is the same as I have been doing and have got a fair whack on my ISA (which I will leave with them as hadn’t started on this year) and a contingency in the Direct Saver account in case I actually need any ready money in the near future and don’t want to have to withdraw from my ISA allowance.
      Someone mentioned Premium Bonds at the very start and that got me thinking about my NS&I accounts and as soon as they paperwork was done, they have been going through.
      Are yours now showing as withdrawable? Only £24 of my initial £25 deposit is showing as withdrawable, the remainder is showing on the balance, just not cleared.

  • Sinizter says:

    When I can get the cards, I use the Kinoni Barcode Reader app on my mac and iphone to get the card number read quickly. Cut and paste the relevant digits from the card reader.

    If you leave the relevant digits selected, and scan another card, the same digits on the new card will remain highlighted making it even quicker to copy.

    Once set up, I find this a lot quicker than reading the number off the card and typing it in.

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

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