Update on generating free Avios from 3V Virtual Visa cards

It is almost a month since my last post on the 3V Virtual Visa cards.  For those who haven’t come across them before, you can earn free Avios (360 per £50 purchase) by buying 3V Virtual Visa cards at Tesco (see here and here and here for example).

3V card

The last bit of news we had was that Tesco was – in theory – withdrawing 3V cards.  This was not a surprise, as Tesco is making a big splash of the Visa gift cards which carry a £3.95 fee.  It is just plain weird to cannibalise sales of these by selling the 3V cards alongside them, which carry no fee.

However, many people are still reporting finding stocks of 3V cards in stores, with racks still being replenished.

In the last couple of weeks, people have successfully managed to fund a National Savings account or Premium Bonds with 3V cards, and then make standard online withdrawals into their bank account.  This is clearly pointless for small sums, where you might as well use them for normal online payments (you can buy Amazon gift vouchers via our affiliate link for a start!).  However, if you can pick up large quantities of them then it is worth it.

Someone also posted that they had found 20+ 3V cards in three different branches of Homebase.  Now, buying 3V cards at Homebase does not earn you the bonus 150 Clubcard points per £50 that you would get from Tesco.  However, if you need to run up some spending on a new credit card to trigger the sign-up bonus, it is worth a look.  I still have £400 of tax to pay in July, and I’d be happy to put £400 through a miles earning credit card if I can find enough cards in Homebase.

Another popular way of laundering them is via High Street Vouchers.  Reports suggest they accept 3V cards for payment, which lets you redeem for, amongst other things, Waitrose, Asda and Sainsbury gift vouchers.

If you’ve got any recent experiences in buying or spending 3V cards, please post below.

(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to see our latest articles on earning and spending your points and click here to see our list of current Avios promotions.)

10% off sale bargains at Harvey Nichols with your BA (or other) Amex
Earning and redeeming miles across Delta and Virgin - details revealed
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. What's the Point says:

    Forgot to mention – Many thanks to Raffles and the other contributors on this website, I have earned £130 in Tesco CC points in just the last 8 weeks. For not doing any thing different in particular, other than paying off our Council Tax a year in advance!

  2. erico1875 says:

    Anyone used these for buying Groupon, kgb deals or living social type deals?

    • Yes, I’ve bought some Groupon deals without problems.

      • … And odd remaining balances can be redeemed for Amazon gift certificates and added onto your Amazon account for future use

        • stu6278 says:

          My local Council Tax allows £1 minimum payments so also great for getting rid of odd balances

  3. dannyrado says:

    Im sorry, and I know it’s a great oppurtunity and all that, but how much time are some of you spending on this? I mean entering each card number for verification, marrying that up with the expiry date, and security code, entering numerous credit card numbers online, or god forbid on the phone…..

    Those that are paying tax, are you paying off in £25 chunks, or combining balences first? I’d hate to think of the poor phone agent taking 100 x £25 payments…

    I got bored phoning my council tax automated system after 4 go’s!

    • Steve says:

      Copy & paste!!!!

      Takes me exactly 14 seconds per £25 to pay Council Tax online, so total time spent activating the card and paying £125 each month is less than 5 minutes.

      • Dannyrado says:

        You clearly don’t live in the same backwater as I. One payment at a time, over the phone, on a drawn out automated system. They don’t accept Santander bill pay either….

    • Paulie says:

      So far I have managed to buy and use £2,250 worth of these cards. That equals to 6,750 clubcard points to turn to avios plus the 2,250 extra avios from the Amex spend and £2,250 closer to my 2-4-1. How do you get you get bored getting FREE flights? Granted, it can take a bit of admin, but unless you are Richard Branson, your time is worth it.

      Many thanks Raffles.

    • When you paid your council tax – did you already have a direct debit payment set up for it?

      I’ve just found another couple of 3V cards, and used one towards my CT, but won’t find out for another 4 weeks what will happen to my DD payments.

      • Louie says:

        I did. If it’s the same as my council, they just deduct the 3V payments from the next DD due. So if your DD was normally £200 but you had used 5 3V cards, the next month’s DD would be reduced to £75.

        • Thanks – I called the Council this morning, and they “thought” that’s the way it would work too.

  4. shaya says:

    Sorry for being a bit of target but racking my brains for a solution. First and foremost thanks to Raffles for feeding my avios habit! I am looking to buy a phone in o2 that for some reason dont accept amex, Im looking for a prepay mastercard or visa that can be bought online. Any Ideas?

  5. Mark B says:

    It was me that made “game over” posting in Raffles previous blog after being informed by Tesco after an enquiry about stock at my local store, only to be told the agreement with 3v was at an end.

    Anyway after reading stocks were still being replinished I tried again at an extra store I where I had orginally found some to find 20 on the shelves. I took the lot but 5 failed to scan and a supervisor in his wisdom when I told him it wouldn’t work he voided the entire transaction to start again, meaning the 15 that were okay couldn’t be re processed so he took them away. The 5 failed ended up being re- scanned and that’s all I ended up with. Very miffed at losing the value of 15 cards.

    Then on the way home I tried another store, to my delight another 20, this time 3 failed, the supervisor was called over, said they were the last 3, tried 1 sgain but it failed, so I took the 3 away and I ended up with 17.

    Then when I got home after checking the activation receipts about 4 hours later, I saw that I had been given the r failed cards and 3 live one’s were missing. So I went straight up to the store armed with the receipts hoping the same staff were still there, they were and my 3 cards were retrieved from a bin!. what a palarva…it transpires in the last case just because the 3 failed were at the bottom of the receipt the supervisor assumed they were the last 3 scanned, so be warned.

    Overall I suppose I should be grateful with 22 cards when i’d all but given up, but it should have been 40 if it wasn’t for the incompetence of two tesco supervisors.


    • Mark B says:

      Excuse the typo’s, this was today btw

      • I had 5 that failed last week out of a batch of 20. I was intrigued and asked the cashier to run them again in a new transaction after I had paid for the first 15.
        She did, and they worked fine.

      • Simon says:

        I’ve been having quite a few problems buying these recently as well at Tesco, tried to buy 10 today, all went on ok then the till voided 1 and then another 3, the person on the till then voided the whole transaction but the ones that were okay couldn’t be re processed as you found.

        The tills voided 2 out of 12 of another set I tried to buy 2 days ago and I tried to buy 4 yesterday and the till said all 4 couldn’t be activated. If I find a lot again I’ll get the purchase split over a few transactions. My assumption was if I went back to the store they would have sorted out the 10 that I couldn’t buy with 3v and they would be back on shelves not thrown in the bin!

    • Mr Bridge says:

      yes be warned, go for 4 or 6 at a time, that way you can double check the receipts with the actual cards if you get a fail, also if you have 2 clubcards switch between the 2, it stops the fails for some reason

      • Mark B says:

        I think there is something in what you say, When I’ve bought 4-6, my usual purchase because that is usually all they’ve got, I’ve never had a problem. Larger numbers like today seems to generate failures, I suspect it’s programmed that way, as both cashiers appeared to do everything right and all looked good up until the end of the transaction when it came to pay

        • Yozza1977 says:

          I’ve managed to buy a few thousands of pounds worth of these cards. I remember reading previously that 8 is the maximum in one transaction – I’ve stuck to this most of the time and never had a problem. Both times I’ve tried to buy more the till has failed to activate some cards either the first 2 or the 2 after the first 8. So my advice is to stick to 8 at a time. In response to how long it takes to spend them I reckon it takes just over 1 minute a card using Santander bill pay for tax and the free Kinoni barcode scanner mentioned in a previous post.

        • Dannyrado says:

          Thanks for this.

          Kinoni saved me time, thankyou. However my stupid council aren’t on Santander bill pay, I’m no longer self employed, could’ve payed Welsh water last week, but wasn’t aware and payed payments through their website, one at a time.

  6. Louie says:

    Get the cashiers to press sub-total after they scan every card. It would solve the problem of identifying failed cards but cards failing never seems to be a problem anyway if they do it that way.

  7. Mark B says:

    Meant to ask, do you get any extra clubcard points when buying 3V cards with a tesco creditcard?

  8. erico1875 says:

    You can possibly recycle your money thru your local credit union if they accept debit card payments. Mine does.

  9. What's the Point says:

    Has anyone tried using the £3.95 fee charging Visa Debit cards to pay off their tax bill on line?

  10. takke says:

    Does anyone know if these work with Tesco double points coupons?

    • Yeah I tried it and they didn’t work 🙁 Wasted a perfectly good double points voucher!

    • Sinizter says:

      These points for gift cards are bonus points, which as John confirms, are not doubled.

  11. Jules Verne says:

    Last batch I bought I purchased only two at a time as I wasn’t sure if it was 150 CC points per £50 or per purchase of at least £50.

    Could someone please confirm if I buy £100 worth in one transaction I’ll get 2x 150 CC points?

    • Simon says:

      Yes if you buy £100 worth in one transaction you’ll get 300 points. I bought £250 in one transaction and got 750 points.

    • takke says:

      Yes, you will. You get 150 points for each £50 spent.

    • Sinizter says:

      Someone on FT even bought 26 of the 3V cards in one transaction.
      My personal best is £300 worth of gift cards (12 cards) or £250 (23 cards) depending on which way you prefer to look at it.
      The points were correctly credited as 150 points per £50 spent.

  12. Roger says:

    I mentioned in a previous discussion that the gift cards in Tesco were supplied by an outside merchandiser and not through Tesco’s normal distribution systems. It could be worth finding out when your local store has its merchandiser visit. 😉

    For Potters Bar Superstore, it looks like Thursday morning. For Hatfield Extra, it also seems to be Thursday. Certainly, the three occasions on which we have bought 3V cards have been on Thursdays at Potters Bar and Hatfield.

    I liberated 24 at Potters Bar on Thursday, in smaller transactions with different credit cards and Clubcards. There was an element of rejection which entailed a further visit yesterday but all now seems OK.

    I have paid our tax using these cards (apart from £3.40 on our bank debit card, didn’t want to break into a new £25 3V card). Council Tax and water bill were already paid using MasterCard, gas and electricity are paid by monthly direct debit, so no logical use for any more 3V cards. We have some left. They will incur £2 monthly charges in March, April and May which gives us a few months to redeem. If all else fails, we’ll buy shopping vouchers.

  13. ComeFlyWithMe123 says:

    This is getting seriously addictive. I hope I get them all activated and lodged into my NS & I account before the plug is pulled.

  14. Jules Verne says:

    One more question – do you have to use a cashier to buy and activate these – or is it possible to use the self-service checkouts, thereby avoiding the hassle of strange questions?

  15. Michael says:

    Just bought another 66 cards at the weekend in glasgow and Perth which will help with the new target for the 2-4-1.

    Cheers raffles

  16. Jules Verne says:

    I seem to have wiped out a local store as they’ve not replenished since I went in a month or so ago…fear not though, I found five other stores with varying numbers of cards in stock.

    Only trouble was the first store – had 10 scanned all at once, and it became a right palaver when one of them was activated but scanned twice (i.e double charged me) whilst on the second batch of ten, three failed to activate and a further one activated (charged) but the slip never printed…

    Took a while to get the non-activated ones identified and re-scanned and then some time to get the till to unfreeze…in the meantime some fools decided to join the check-out queue when there was an obvious problem and then got arsey about the wait (despite the neighbouring till being empty at the time).

    Then it was off to customer services to get a refund for the double charging and unactivated cards….took some time but got a cash refund for those and left…..only to realise I should have still kept hold of the activated card that I got double charged for…so back to the store and found someone to receive the said card and receipt.

    Didn’t put me off trying the other stores on my way home though! Took a good 2.5 hrs to get home..

  17. What's the Point says:

    Found some today at Tesco Solihull. Bought my fill and left 4 on the shelf.
    Went to two other Tesco stores on Monday and found a very lonely 1 x 3V card in each of them – how annoying!