Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Can you earn cheap Avios points buying Tesco Visa gift cards with a £3.95 fee?

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I ran an article on 3V Virtual Visa gift cards recently, the first one for a while.  These are the £25 Visa gift cards which you can buy for £25 in Tesco, earning yourself Tesco Clubcard points and generating some American Express spend.  Unfortunately, the uses for 3V cards are now limited as they are no longer accepted for ‘financial’ transactions.

Tesco still sells a different sort of Visa gift card, which carry a fee.  The fee is £2.95 when you buy a £25 card and £3.95 when you buy a £50 card.

Why could buying these cards make sense?

For a surprisingly long time now (over a year) Tesco has been offering 150 bonus Clubcard points when you spend £50 on gift cards in-store.

Here is the Tesco webpage which outlines the deal.

Whilst you do not receive the bonus Clubcard points if you buy Tesco’s own gift cards, all other gift cards qualify – including the Visa ones.

These Visa gift cards come with a huge list of terms, conditions and fees. However, there are only four things you need to know:

A £25 card carries a £2.95 fee, a £50 card carries a £3.95 fee

Tesco limits you to £2,000 of purchases per year (you can get around this relatively easily) and 5 cards per transaction

You need to register the card before you can use it online or by phone, presumably to put a name on file to match up with the card details the retailer enters, but for face to face transactions it can be used immediately. (When you have registered one card, adding additional cards is very quick and painless.)

It is treated as a debit card when you use it

How can I benefit from this?

Let’s assume that you have payments for which debit cards are accepted but credit cards or Amex cards are not.

When you buy a £50 Visa debit card, the maths looks like this:

Fee paid: £3.95

Avios points earned from Tesco: 150 Clubcard points = 360 Avios

Avios points earned with an American Express Gold* = 106 Avios

Total Avios points earned = 466 Avios, or 0.85p per Avios

(* Amex Gold – reviewed here – offers 2 American Express Membership Rewards points per £1 spent in supermarkets for the first year you have the card.  These transfer 1:1 into Avios points.)

0.85p per Avios point is a good but not amazing deal.  It is, of course, far cheaper than buying them directly from British Airways.

You will also get more than 0.85p per point when redeeming, especially if you are using a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher, so you are unlikely to lose money buying these Visa cards.

There is an extra benefit – you can use it to put additional spend through whatever American Express card you use in Tesco, which may help you hit a target for a sign-up bonus or your BA Amex 2-4-1 voucher.

You may be able to buy them below face value for free Avios

Occasionally, Tesco sends out ‘conditional spend’ vouchers in the post or with till receipts.  These are often ‘£5 off £50 spend’ or similar.  Whilst the small print of these vouchers says ‘not valid on gift cards’, it really means ‘not valid on Tesco gift cards’.  The voucher WILL scan at the till if you buy any other gift card.

Some cashiers, not unreasonably, read the small print of the voucher and don’t let you use them.  In these circumstances, the best you can do is to ask them to scan it and see if it works.  To avoid this issue, it is best to buy a few grocery items along with your gift card and put the gift card through first.  The cashier has normally forgotten about it by the time you come to pay.

You would also get an even better deal if you saved the Tesco Clubcard vouchers for an Avios or Virgin Flying Club conversion promotion.  Avios bonuses have been thin on the ground recently but Virgin does offer regular ‘20% bonus’ promotions.

How can I use these Visa cards?

They can be used for all sorts of transactions, including all the companies discussed in my last 3V article.  However, if you are going to use them for one of those companies then you should be buying the 3V cards directly and avoiding the £3.95 fee.

The difference between the fee-charging Visa cards and the ‘no fee’ 3V cards is that you can still use the former for ‘financial’ transactions.

If you pay the Inland Revenue directly, they work just fine – I have done it myself.  You can also pay them into National Savings Direct Saver accounts and they may well work with other bank accounts which accept debit card payments.  Note that there may be a limit to how many different cards you can use per day when paying in.  You cannot do this with 3V Virtual Visa cards now.

If you think that you have an easy way of liquidating these cards, you may find it worth adding a couple to your basket every time you are in a Tesco which stocks them.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

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

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) 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 BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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 BA Amex American Express card

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.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of 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 10,000 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 card

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.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (89)

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

  • Mark2 says:

    Just used my £10 off with £100 voucher with £40 of groceries and £100 of 3V (put through first).
    I gave the girl the voucher with a lot of others while talking to her and she just scanned without looking at them. The another 12 cards 4 at a time.

    • scottydoobuy says:

      hi where did you get the voucher for £10 off ??

      • Mark2 says:

        We got a set of coupons/vouchers for various periods in the post.
        This happens every so often at seemingly random intervals for one particular ClubCard.

        I later discovered that in another batch she had put one of the cards through twice and one not at all so I had to return to correct this.

        • scottydoobuy says:

          Ok thanks i did get one of them voucher books but just sill get money off items in it =(

          • Mark2 says:

            Yesterday I bought £5 of groceries and £100 off 3V at Tesco and used one of the ‘£10 off when you spend £100’ vouchers so paid £95.
            When I got home I discovered that among the activation slips the till had spat out a ‘Save £15 when you spend £100’ voucher so that in the next two weeks I can save £35 (2x£10 + £15) when I spend £300.
            This will be handy to pay our JL Home Insurance and the saving will more than cover the cost of amalgamating the 3V cards into one (£19.25) so breakeven without the extra £15.
            I also get £300 spend on Amex, 2610 Avios and 12p per litre off fuel.

            Thank you Tesco .
            Thank you Raffles for pointing me in this (slightly OCD) direction.

  • squills says:

    4 @ a time seems to work OK

  • squills says:

    Oops 10W

  • Jason says:

    Do you just print them off?

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

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