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 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 – I successfully made a £25 payment to my account which will reduce my next direct debit:

BT, Talk Talk

EDF, Scottish & Southern, Ovo and E.ON

TV Licensing

High Street Vouchers – I ordered a £25 Waitrose / John Lewis voucher

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.

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 from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 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.

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

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable 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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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.

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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