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Update on generating free Avios from 3V Virtual Visa cards

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It is almost a month since my last article 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).

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.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2022)

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

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £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 UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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 £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

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 unbeatable travel 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

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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 (105)

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

  • 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

      • Rich says:

        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.

  • 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.

  • Mark B says:

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

    • Rob says:

      Not beyond the usual, ie 150 for buying £50-worth and 1 per £4 on the credit card

  • erico1875 says:

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

  • 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?

  • takke says:

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

    • John says:

      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.

  • 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.

      • Jules Verne says:

        Thanks for the confirmation; now just to find some more.

    • 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.

  • 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.

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