Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Get 150 Clubcard points per £50 Amazon purchase with 3V cards

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The easiest way to earn a lot of Avios points or Virgin Flying Club miles in 2013 was with 3V Virtual Visa cards – as long as your local Tesco sold them.

They look like this:

3V card

…. and, as with all non-Tesco branded gift cards, you earn 150 Clubcard points for every £50-worth you buy.  This meant 360 Avios or 375 Virgin Atlantic miles.  Because Tesco accepts American Express, it was also an easy way to increase your spending if you needed to hit a sign-up bonus on a new Amex card.

The deal was so great because you could use 3V cards for financial transactions.  Most blatantly, you could pay them into certain bank accounts so you got your entire £25 per card back immediately.  The only limit to the number of free Avios you could earn via this route was the number of 3V Virtual Visa cards stocked in your local Tesco.

The wheels came off the bus in December 2013.  Overnight, 3V changed their acceptance rules.  The cards are now rejected if you attempt to use them for a financial services transaction.

However, Tesco is still selling 3V cards at face value.

You still earn 150 Clubcard points for every £50-worth you buy.

If you use an Amex Gold to buy them, you would also earn 100 Membership Rewards points as it is a supermarket purchase which earns double points.

Where can you still use them?

I saw my first 3V cards for at least a year whilst on holiday last week.  I bought £50-worth and redeemed them for Amazon gift certificates at £25 each.

This is the easiest way, for most people, to redeem 3V cards.  You can order Amazon gift certificates for yourself and pay them into your Amazon account.  You then have a credit balance which you can work through for future purchases.

(If you do this, please consider using our Amazon affiliate link by clicking here or clicking the Amazon logo in the right-hand margin.  We earn a small commission on each gift card purchase.  You cannot earn cashback anywhere else for buying Amazon gift cards so you don’t lose anything.)

There are some other places that still take 3V cards.  If you have regular monthly payments to any of these companies then it is something you should take a look at:




EDF, Scottish & Southern and E.ON

TV Licensing

Parent Pay

Virgin Media

Apple Store e-gift cards bought direct

You can also purchase gift vouchers via TopGiftCards, High Street Vouchers and Love2Shop.

If you have a direct debit for bill payment with any of the above, you can use a 3V card to make a partial payment onto your account.  The next direct debit will then be adjusted.

Some merchants may put a £1 block on your card when you attempt to use it as a security check.  The maximum you can then pay is £24.  The remaining £1 will be released within 7-10 days and can be used to buy an Amazon gift voucher.

Some merchants will also restrict the number of different card numbers that a single customer can use to 2+ in a 24 hour period.  Do not expect to be able to use up 10 3V cards with the same merchant on the same day.

Any updates to the above list are welcome.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)

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.

SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.

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 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 £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

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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.

Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.

American Express Business Platinum

Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) 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.

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