Tesco now imposing the 30,000 points per quarter cap on Clubcard points

Love Clubcard, don’t collect Avios?  You should be reading our sister site, Shopper Points (www.shopperpoints.co.uk), which covers the latest Clubcard and Nectar offers without any distracting frequent flyer talk!  Why not check it out now?

A couple of years ago, Tesco changed the rules of their Clubcard scheme. A cap was brought in, with the maximum number of points you could earn per quarter capped at 30,000 (so 72,000 Avios or 75,000 Flying Club miles).

This cap was never enforced, though. Everyone assumed that Tesco had brought it in to cover its back if it discovered abuse of the scheme, so that it could strip people of points if it wanted.

This quarter, though, it IS being enforced. Not for everyone, but for some people. There are a number of reports on paidtoshop and Flyertalk of people having their balances reduced to exactly 30,000 points and receiving just £300 of vouchers.

Frankly, this is a bit of a poor show by Tesco, since the rule has never been imposed in the past. It is difficult to know if you would have any recompense against them, given that the rules do state this clearly.

There is at least one lesson to learn here, though: do not transfer TopCashback cashback to Clubcard until it is nearly at the end of a Clubcard quarter.

Tesco Clubcard

A number of people have had TopCashBack funds removed from their Clubcard account. This seems very wrong – Tesco is effectively taking real money away from you in this scenario, as you could have cashed out that TopCashBack money for real cash.

(Read this post if you are not familiar with how to earn Clubcard points – and thus very cheap Avios points – by transferring TopCashback cashback to Tesco Clubcard.)

If you are considering moving TopCashBack money to Tesco, leave it until late in the quarter. If a great Tesco promotion comes along to earn Clubcard points very cheaply, you can fill up your account to 30,000 points that way and hold off from doing a TCB conversion until next quarter.

(You should, though, do a very small TopCashBack transfer to Tesco as soon as you can, since it starts the clock on the one year anniversary at which point the £50 cap resets.)

Even weirder, there are examples of Tesco taking away ‘change’ from Clubcard vouchers issued in a previous quarter! (If you redeem a £20 voucher for a £5 redemption, the £15 ‘change’ is credited back to your account and reissued next time.) This seems even crazier, since these points were clearly originally earned in a different quarter.

It will take some time before the dust settles on this and we can be clear about what is going on. At the moment, though, go above 30,000 Clubcard points at your own risk.

Love Clubcard, don’t collect Avios?  You should be reading our sister site, Shopper Points (www.shopperpoints.co.uk), which covers the latest Clubcard and Nectar offers without any distracting frequent flyer talk!  Why not check it out now?

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  1. Sideysid says:

    I personally think Tesco will tighten their belts in regards to the Clubcard, at the end of the day, their favourite type of Clubcard user are those that accumulate points through their weekly shop. I think the days of Clubcard points opportunities (i.e. the ink cartridge recycling) are seriously numbered.

  2. I’ve had my account close entirely.

    • What reason did they give? Are you the chap on paidtoshop who reported this happened to them?

      • I am, Can’t believe it communicating with them at the moment to try and get a resolution.

  3. Nodrog says:

    I have 3 cards. I appreciate they could combine them but until they do that do you think there is any danger they will impose the limit on a per person basis?

  4. JimmyG says:

    Tesco use the value of the club card vouchers issued in their sales figures, effectively over stating them even before people have spent them.I don’t think Tesco can afford to stop all of the opportunities to earn points.
    The previous quarter I had earn’t over the £300 and had no problem, however the most recent quarter, I have gone a little mad with the “Diablo 3” glitch and had earn’t £430.
    £130 worth of points have been removed and now have the problem, as I have cancelled the orders their system is taking the points off again, spending my current total into negative!
    I have called Tesco and they cant seem to work out how I earn’t over £20 worth of points for a £40 game in an attempt to get the points added back to the account.
    I am certainly not going to go over the quarter cap anymore.

    • Mr Bridge says:

      KEEP COMPLAINING! as you point out their customer service don’t even understand.

    • Don’t be greedy James Youhave had plenty of points in the past

  5. Mr Bridge says:

    Tesco are watching the pennies.
    I am a very savvy shopper, i split my shopping into 3 transactions, cheaper at tesco, cheaper at asda and cheaper at sainsburys. , this is to benefit from their price promise.But i have caught them out several times, where they compare incorrectly, or multibuys don’t get included when they should. (i could write weekly blog on tesco price promise). Customer service has always put things right financially, but sometimes they quote their t+cs, which they obviously don’t understand themselves QUOTING THEM INCORRECTLY!!
    So if you have a scenario as in the main post….COMPLAIN…COMPLAIN..COMPLAIN.

    • Sir Stamford says:

      Given that there is opportunity cost to my time (I value them highly), I must admit that the thought of having to split my shopping and going to different supermarkets just to save a bit of money does not appeal to me.

      Sir Stamford

      • squillion says:

        Fair enough but I actually quite enjoy it.

        I must have made a few thou out of the savvy episode – plus I’m paying less for food shopping now than we were 3 or 4 years ago with no difference in quality.

        It does help having a few different outlets within 10 mins.

        Plus the online resources naturellement 😉

  6. squillion says:

    And get double the difference for misprices. DTD policy still valid, on display in all/most Customer Service desk areas.

  7. Are these the same people that have been bragging on PTS about cancelling the Diablo orders after the points have been awarded.. If so I have no sympathy.

    • Mr Bridge says:

      tesco always remove points from cancelled orders, that is at least the case with cd and dvd

      • People have been opening dummy Tesco accounts then using that card for returns, thus sending that card into negative points whilst keeping the points on the actual card used.. seems the game is up for them now. cant say Im upet for them . PTS has examples of this practice.

        • Raffles’ post about Diablo 3 even warned people off trying to get more than one, since tesco will lookd for oddities and cancel points if they think you’ve abused the system.

          I seem to have inadvertantly got points for a pre-order I cancelled – I did a pre-order for Diablo 3 and Iron Man 3 at the same time, and then immediately realised I’d ordered the DVD when I wanted the Blu-Ray, cancelled it and started again, expecting to only get one lot of bonus points for each product. The points for the cancelled order posted and I have received my vouchers now. But then, I only earnt £60-odd worth of vouchers this quarter, so doubtless Tesco focus on the people that have earn hundreds per quarter and look for discrepancies in their acounts.

          If Tesco later realise the glitch and take £20,000 points off my account, sending me into a negative balance, then fair enough – I’d still regard it as a bonus as I’ll have the vouchers to hand should an avios conversion bonus come along in the next quarter.

        • They were offering 25,000 for a mobile phone contract recently, so its not so hard to legitimately go over 30,000.

        • Wow, will have to keep an eye out for one of those when my contract expires in January!

        • Sir Stamford says:


          Have a look at this excellent post from November 2012:


          Sir Stamford

    • Stephen says:

      How does one obtain membership for PTS? Mine has been pending approval for a while.

  8. Mr Bridge says:

    hope this is ok raffles:

    tesco managing director:

    [email protected]

    • Perhaps a better one for the top is :
      [email protected]

      I had an issue a couple of years ago. This reached CEO’s complaints / communications team (as I imagine would the direct email to Mr Clarke) and after a bit of chasing, they were very professional with resolution.

  9. Mr Bridge says:

    but of course the best option is to have a clubcard in your partners name, effectively giving you 60000 ccp

  10. Arabmoney says:

    30k points in a quarter? thats something like 400000 avios a year if you gather them up and convert them in bonus. i seriously doubt the people, who have time to collect that, travel more than a few times a year.

    i think if you legitimately go over 30k in a quarter through normal spend and promotions then there is no reason why you cant argue to get your points back. Personally i think tesco would credit back any points gone over in the next clubcard statement.

    • squillion says:

      Hmmm…mum, dad, 3 kids, 4 return flights a year to our place abroad = 300,000 Avios.

      We seem to get through that lot easily enough.

      And that’s with depriving me of my rightful place up front 😉

  11. Jeepers says:

    If you make a valid purchase, expect the product, the discount, the points – all of it, don’t settle for less. If the Clubcard points was a factor in your purchase – push for it to be rewarded – don’t accept a reasonable request been ignored. On the Diabalo3 orders, they made no advertising around exclusivity or one per person, etc. If you ordered 50 separately, you made a legitimate purchase. It is no different than walking in and out of your corner shop 50 times. They would not refuse your service, and Tesco should not either. If they made an error they should have corrected it on the spot and communicated that to you – not do so at a later date and leave you unaware of the change. If you have a bank product that results in points (e.g. Insurance via the Aviva or a Tesco Credit Card), you are entitled to make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman – as the points may have been a determining factor in your use of the product. The 30k points limit might be in the T&C’s, but with so many GENUINE ways now to earn Clubcard points, from Mortgages to Groceries – Complain, Complain, Complain – especially if you’ve had it wiped out without any prior notice. If they don’t budge, take your business elsewhere – and still complain, complain, complain.

    To quote George B Shaw – The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

    Persist, complain, be a nuisance – for the time it takes for you to write an email – it takes the recipient many many hours to respond. In the end, they will adapt to retain your business.

    • Blenz101 says:

      You seem to have missed my point – I agree if you take a mortgage, a mobile phone contract and any other reasonable bonus points they should be awarded and I suspect they all would be even if this occurred in a single collection quarter.

      What is not reasonable is 50 separate purchases of Diablo – and the corner shop example doesn’t stack up, they don’t run such a scheme. Even if they did, any sensible corner shop owner running a promotion for the benefit/enticement of his entire customer base and had a single identifiable customer visit his store 50 times in a short period would equally likely withdraw the offer without notice – where is his incentive to use his promotional budget/run a loss leader on a single customer at the expense of all others?

      And Tesco don’t need to put disclaimers around every single voucher or promotion, the T&Cs of the scheme are quite clear in this scenario …. “Any participation in promotional offers above and beyond what could objectively be considered consumer behaviour or personal use may be considered as abuse of the scheme”.

      Tesco have clearly considered some individuals behaviour ‘unreasonable’ and enforced the rules of the scheme. If the audit process has not been evenhanded and an individual feels all spend was legitimate then they can of course complain – if these complaints result in CS adding back large amounts of points that were legitimately removed due to abuse then this would likely become Tescos next focus – no doubt hampering those with legitimate complaints as I can see a situation where all points additions over some arbitrary level will have to go to management rather than be dealt with by staff.

      We all know Tesco will adapt to keep its reasonable customers happy. Those defrauding the scheme I fail to see any incentive for Tesco to do anything other than cap and close accounts…

    • I agree absolutely with this. Where there is clear abuse going on I’m not surprised that Tesco is enforcing the limit as a means of dissuading people from doing it in future. So far as I can see they are quite within their rights to do so.

      • ‘Abuse’ is a tricky term, though. Let’s say you bought 60 ink cartridges to flog on ebay to get 30,000 bonus points. No rule saying you can’t buy multiple ink cartridges to get multiple bonus points. It’s therefore not clear where the abuse is. It might not be ‘in the spirit’ of the scheme but that is something different.

  12. squillion says:

    Raffles: it’s back, I guess you already saw

    Buy Avios before 19 September and we’ll give you a bonus, supersizing whatever you purchase by up to 30%.

    The more you buy, the bigger the bonus. If you haven’t collected any Avios already this year, you can purchase 24,000 – and get 7,200 bonus Avios.

    It’s the smart way to boost your balance and enjoy a great getaway sooner.

    You buy, we’ll boost

    • AndyGWP says:

      Thanks for the nod Squillion…

      • AndyGWP says:

        Ah, this is for straight forward cash purchases – I thought you meant it was a 30% bonus for Tesco club-card conversion thing…

  13. Stephen Franks says:

    I am new to Amex (have Gold Rewards Charge Card and going through 2k 3 months MR bonus) and Clubcard Credit card is in the post. Can anyone advise if it is a good idea to have clubcard preferences set to “convert to Avios” automatically. I realise there are double up bonuses every so often but I quite like not to have to worry about converting vouchers and like the idea of just using Amex & Clubcard CC and getting the points there and then…

  14. squillion says:


    They’re in cahoots!

  15. Hello Raffles
    I must say I just discovered your website and it is excellent. Thank you very much. I have a question which might be silly for all the points experts here.
    But does Tesco sends out the coupons every three months so I have to convert the points before this into Avios? What if they are not running any deals I assume it is still better than losing them into coupons?

    Thanks for your help

    • The coupons have a 2 year validity. If you don’t need the Avios immediately, it makes more sense to keep the vouchers in a drawer in case a conversion bonus comes along at some point before they expire.

  16. squillion says:

    Can’t see why you wouldn’t get both if you satisfy the conditions.