Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Earning free Avios points with virtual Visa gift cards (Part 2)

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In Part 1 of this article today (click here), I looked at what cards are and how you can buy them. This part looks at how to use them.

You can, obviously, use your card anywhere online for making an online purchase of a physical item.  They are not meant to work for purchases of services or the payment of bills.

If you have some money left over on a part-used card, the easiest way to redeem it is by purchasing Amazon gift e-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.

Here is a screenshot of one I redeemed yesterday to show that it works OK:

Amazon screenshot

Here are some of the other places – not online retailers – which are known to accept cards and hopefully still work.  If you have regular monthly payments to any of these companies then it is something you should take a look at:

Vodafone – if you are on direct debit, there is a time window between your bill being generated and the direct debit being taken when you can make a direct payment online.  My timing is out and I cannot demonstrate this, unfortunately.

Sky – as you can see below, I successfully made a £25 payment to my account which will reduce my next direct debit:

Sky bill

BT, Talk Talk

EDF, Scottish & Southern, Ovo and E.ON

TV Licensing

High Street Vouchers – here is a receipt for a £25 Waitrose / John Lewis voucher which I ordered yesterday (free postage):

John Lewis screenshot 2

Parent Pay

Inland Revenue – you can pay your self-assessment income tax using cards.  However, you must use the WorldPay payment site and not the Santander one.  Here is a test payment I made:

HMRC screenshot

Virgin Media

Apple Store e-gift cards bought direct

Council Tax – varies by local authority but they are often accepted as Visa Debit cards

Some merchants – PayPal, I think, for a start – 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.

Please let me know if you have any updates to this list.

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 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. 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 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.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) 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 Visa card

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 (227)

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

  • Lloyd says:

    Using cards for the first time today with HMRC using the worldpay login that Raffles posted. I’m getting ‘Invalid Card Number’ even though carefully quoting the 16 digit number carefully. Wonder whether the HMRC worldpay method has been pulled, or does it take a day or two for the cards (or my account as a new customer) to work?

  • pointsarb says:

    Lloyd, wondering what you are doing to put them through successfully that I’m not?! I’ve tried everything from manually entering everything for each card (for each £25 payment) to copy pasting from an excel spreadsheet to using the google chrome auto fill feature for completing each field to speed things up but it no longer works for me. All I get is a transaction declined message when I hit the final button to process the payment.

    Any insights from your success today would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

  • pointsarb says:

    Thanks for the response Lloyd, tried all of that already but still no joy for me. Glad it works for you though!

  • Jay27 says:

    Can you buy 4 of these if one transaction and get 300 points or do you have to buy 2 at a time?

    • Polly says:

      You can buy 4 at a time. If you go to customer services you can probably buy 8. The points show immediately. Always pay by amex etc and just use clubcard or tesco credit card for points only. If that’s how you work.

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

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