A couple of years ago, Tesco upgraded some of its credit card holders to the Tesco World Mastercard. World Mastercard is a premium product which comes with some elite benefits along the lines of those offered by American Express – see the website.
Tesco even bribed people to accept the upgrade. They received some bonus Clubcard points, and the promise of a further 650 Clubcard points for every year they kept the card. If you upgraded your card, you should have received your 650 points for 2013 in the last week or so.
And yet, if you look at the Tesco website today, the Tesco World Mastercard is nowhere to be seen.
The story behind this decision is outlined at Retail Insider. And a fascinating story it is, which shows another example of how Tesco has been operating like a headless chicken in recent years.
World Mastercards have higher fees to retailers than standard Mastercard products. This is presumably because retailers are told they are held by ‘premium’ customers who will spend more.
But where were Tesco World Mastercard holders doing a large percentage of their shopping? Well, erm, in Tesco. No big surprise there.
Tesco’s UK retail business started to take a big financial hit because of the extra card fees taken by Mastercard on the World product. Some of this increased fee went back into Tesco Bank as commission, but some did not. And in any event, it made the financial performance of the UK retail business look poorer than it was.
With other parts of the Tesco empire struggling, the company was desperate that the UK arm continued to show good performance.
The Tesco World Mastercard was therefore withdrawn to new cardholders. It is ironic, though, that Tesco is still paying existing cardholders 650 Clubcard points every year for keeping it.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2023 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current 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:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on the Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard is doubled to 30,000 Virgin Points if you apply by 2nd October. You receive 15,000 Virgin Points with your first purchase and a further 15,000 points if you spend £3,000 within 90 days. Apply here.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
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
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
30,000 bonus points (SPECIAL OFFER TO 2ND OCTOBER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
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
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.