Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

150 Clubcard points per £50 Amazon purchase with 3V (and other uses)

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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?

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 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.

And 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:

Sky

Vodafone

BT

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.

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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