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It is that time of quarter again when both Avios / British Airways and Virgin Atlantic wheel out incentives to persuade you that you should convert your Tesco Clubcard points into frequent flyer miles.
The British Airways conversion incentive launches today, so I can now give you a full run down of what is available.
But should you …..?
Before I look at the offers, I want to remind you about the two new Clubcard deals that were introduced recently.
Uber is now a Tesco Clubcard partner. You can redeem your Clubcard vouchers for Uber credit at 3 x face value. Since Uber is rarely discounted, this is a ‘genuine’ 3 x offer. The Tesco / Uber page is here.
If you use Uber on a regular basis, think very carefully before choosing Avios.
£10 of Clubcard vouchers is worth 2,400 Avios or £30 of Uber credit. This means that you are effectively paying 1.25p per Avios. That is too much, in my view.
It is a more marginal call with Virgin Flying Club since, with the promotion below, £10 of Clubcard vouchers gets you 3,000 Virgin Atlantic miles. That means you are ‘paying’ 1p per mile if you would be able to use the Uber credit.
Hotels.com is also now a Clubcard redemption partner. See this page of the Tesco site. After a very confusing start, it is now clear that this deal can be used on any hotel on Hotels.com. You get 3 x the face value of your Clubcard vouchers.
This is not a genuine ‘3 times’ deal because you don’t get Hotels.com Rewards credit when you use Clubcard credit. You also have to pay the taxes element in cash and do not get any change if you redeem too many vouchers. Even adjusting for the loss of Hotels.com Rewards credit, you are still ‘paying’ 1p per Avios if you choose the miles over a hotel stay.
The Virgin Atlantic deal
It should appear in time. Virgin has emailed people about this deal and there was no mention of it being targetted. If you didn’t get an email and don’t want to risk the offer being targetted, wait a few days until we have formal confirmation via the website that it is open to all.
The promotion is very simple:
You will receive a 20% bonus on Clubcard transfers to Virgin Flying Club between 1st November and 13th December.
A 20% bonus, all other things being equal, should not be enough to persuade you to make a transfer to Virgin that you were not already considering.
There is also a second part to the promotion. You will receive 1,000 Flying Club miles if you opt-in to autoconvert your future Tesco Clubcard points to Virgin.
I do NOT recommend auto-converting your points, to either Virgin or Avios. You would miss out if a conversion bonus came along in the future, or indeed a better Tesco Clubcard offer for a non-travel deal. It is better to keep your Clubcard vouchers in a drawer until you need them, or until a good conversion bonus appears.
However, if you have a dormant Clubcard account, you should go for this. In your personal details you can elect to have future Clubcard points sent to Virgin. Even though your Clubcard account is empty, and will remain empty, you will still get the 1,000 miles.
Some people have managed to receive the bonus 1,000 miles for auto-convert on multiple occasions. There is some risk in this if you do not have a dormant account as you may not cancel it in time and your next set of vouchers may get sent over.
Why build up a Virgin balance?
There are good reasons to be picking up miles in Virgin Flying Club. You need fewer Virgin miles than Avios points for most destinations. More importantly, with Air France and KLM to become Virgin Flying Club partners within the next 12-18 months, there will be a far wider range of destinations for redemption.
You can top up your balance via American Express Membership Rewards, opening an ISA etc. Getting the miles is not an issue. The ISA currently offers 8,000 miles. The Virgin credit cards will relaunch soon via Virgin Money.
If you can live with the uncertainty over the continual changes to the Virgin route network and the fact that we don’t know the exact details of the Air France KLM partnership, having a Virgin balance is not necessarily a bad move. At the very worst, you can transfer out to Hilton Honors (at 2:3) or IHG Rewards Club (at 1:1). Transfers into IHG even count for status if you chasing Platinum Elite or Spire Elite.
The Avios.com deal
Avios has gone for something more prosaic – another competition.
It is mentioned on the Avios website home page but it isn’t mentioned on the Tesco to Avios page itself.
The email says: “For every £2.50 in Clubcard vouchers you turn into Avios before 30 November 2017, you’ll get 600 Avios plus one entry to win a share of 1 million Avios. There are 155 prizes up for grabs, so don’t miss out, turn your Clubcard vouchers into Avios today”.
It doesn’t say how the 155 prizes will be distributed. However, last time the competition ran it went like this:
Two people will win 50,000 Avios
Three people will win 25,000 Avios
150 people will win 5,500 Avios
You will only be entered into this competition if you convert into avios.com and not British Airways Executive Club.
The British Airways deal
BA has its own competition, to add to the confusion. This is for people who convert into BA Executive Club.
Convert between TODAY (8th November) and 31st December and you get 1 entry for every £5 of vouchers. Auto-converters receive two entries for every £5 of vouchers turned into Avios.
One winner will get “two return British Airways Club Europe flights to Vienna with a three night stay at a choice of 5* hotels on a bed and breakfast basis. The winner can choose between the following hotels: Intercontinental 5*, Gran2 Hotel Wien 5*, Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna 5*. All flights depart from London Heathrow.”
You must travel between 1st February 2018 and 31st March 2018.
Personally I would go for the Avios.com competition, purely because there is a prize pot worth about £10,000 vs £1,500 with the BA competition. It is up to you though!
Before converting to miles at all, do think carefully about whether Uber or Hotels.com would be a better deal, however …..
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)