PhD Avios: Which is the best way to collect Avios when buying petrol?

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If anyone ever tells you that they know a lot about Avios, ask them how you should maximise your Avios earning when buying petrol. It is such a painfully complex calculation that most people will collapse in a gibbering heap before getting to the answer.

I last wrote about this topic 18 months ago, but that article is now out of date due to the launch of the Tesco Premium MasterCard, the excellent earning deal now offered on the Tesco Bank debit card and a 20% rise in the petrol price which impacts the earning from Esso and Shell.

When buying petrol, you have various permutations of garage and credit card to choose from:

You will some points based on how you pay

You will earn some points based on the loyalty scheme of the garage you use

To maximise your Avios you need to pick the best option on both sides of the equation.

Part 1:  Maximising your loyalty scheme points:

There are three options here:

You can earn Tesco Clubcard points at a Tesco garage and convert those points to Avios

You can earn Tesco Clubcard points at an Esso garage and convert those points to Avios

You can earn Shell Drivers Club points at a Shell garage and convert those points to Avios

This is what you would earn (excluding Avios points from your payment card) by handing over either a Tesco Clubcard or a Shell Drivers Club card when buying petrol:

1.2 Avios per £1 spent at a Tesco-branded filling station by handing over a Tesco Clubcard (you earn 1 Clubcard point per £2 spent on Tesco Petrol and that converts to 2.4 Avios per £2)

2.4 Avios per £1 spent at a Tesco-branded filling station when you use your Tesco credit card or debit card AS A CLUBCARD (Tesco credit or debit cards, when swiped at a Tesco garage as a Clubcard – not for payment – earn 1 Clubcard point per £1 spent).  Note that the Tesco Bank website no longer lists this as a benefit although I asked around last week and it is still working.

0.8 Avios per £1 spent at an Esso filling station which has a Tesco convenience store attached (you earn 1 Clubcard point per £3 spent and that converts to 2.4 Avios per £3).  Full details of the Esso earning rates are here.

1.0 Avios per £1 spent at any other participating Esso filling station (you earn 1 Clubcard point for every 2 litres of fuel purchased and I have used a typical price of £1.20 per litre of unleaded, so 1 Clubcard point = 2.4 Avios per £2.40 spent)

0.41 Avios per £1 spent at a Shell filling station (you earn 10 Avios per 20 litres and I have used a typical price of £1.20 per litre of unleaded).  You need to join Shell Drivers Club and choose to convert your points to Avios.

0.8 Avios per £1 spent on V-Power fuel at a Shell filling station (technically 20 Avios per 20 litres, based on a typical £1.25 per V-Power litre)

The best option in terms of which loyalty card you show (ignoring how you pay for now) is to visit a Tesco filling station and have them swipe your Tesco MasterCard or debit card as a Clubcard.  You can pay on another card if you wish.

Tesco Esso

Credit and charge card options when paying for your petrol:

These are the Avios points you will earn when using the main Avios-earning credit and charge cards to pay for your petrol.

2.4 Avios per £1 spent on Tesco Premium MasterCard (you earn 1 Clubcard point per £1 as this is treated as a Tesco purchase)

2.4 Avios per £1 spent on a Tesco Bank debit card (you earn 1 Clubcard point per £1 as this is treated as a Tesco purchase, this earning rate is guaranteed until 1st April 2019)

1.5 Avios per £1 spent on British Airways Premium Plus American Express

1.25 Avios per £1 spent on Lloyds Avios Rewards American Express

1 Avios per £1 spent on Amex Platinum, Amex GoldStarwood Amex, British Airways American Express, Amex Rewards Credit Card

0.6 Avios per £1 spent on Tesco MasterCard (you earn 1 Clubcard point per £4 as this is treated as a Tesco purchase)

So, what is the answer? What is the best way to earn Avios when buying fuel?

Based purely on standard fuel (not V-Power or Momentum) the answer is:

Buy fuel at a Tesco-branded garage. Use your Tesco MasterCard as a Clubcard and pay with either a Tesco Bank debit card or Tesco Premium MasterCard.

For every £1 spent on petrol, you would earn:

1 Clubcard point (earning rate is 1 per £1 when using a Tesco credit or debit card as a Clubcard) = 2.4 Avios

1 Clubcard point for paying with your Tesco Premium MasterCard or Tesco Bank debit card = 2.4 Avios

If you only have the free Tesco credit card, which only earn 1 Clubcard point per £4 spent in Tesco, then the best option is to pay with a British Airways Premium Plus American Express card whilst using your Tesco credit card as a Clubcard.  This gets you 3.9 Avios per £1.

If you need to use Esso, note the odd disparity.  You actually earn fewer Avios at an Esso with a Tesco convenience store (1 Clubcard point per £3 spent on fuel) than you do at non-Tesco Esso stations (1 Clubcard point per 2 litres of fuel, roughly £2.40).

Finally, it is worth noting that Shell Drivers Club often makes generous bonus point promotions available which can make Shell a good deal.  Some of these are exclusive to its app.  It is worth downloading this and seeing what offers are selected for you.

PS.  Until 28th February, you earn extra Clubcard points at Tesco petrol stations when you use the Tesco Pay+ app, to which you can link your BA Amex or other payment card.  You get 1 extra Clubcard point per £4 spent which is an extra 0.6 Avios per £1.  I haven’t factored this into the analysis above because it is only a temporary offer, but if you use Tesco garages regularly you really should be using Pay+.  Full details are on the Tesco website here.

(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.)

Here’s the full HFP index of articles for December 2017
How to get a one-way Europcar UK rental for just £1!

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  1. We typically save via Shell but keep forgetting to show the card so miss out. They don’t have a key chain fob version. On the plus side if you spend £30 on petrol in one go at Shell with a Waitrose attached you get a free coffee if you show your Waitrose loyalty card.

    P.S As an aside, I mentioned earlier this year that we had put the cost of our free Waitrose coffee to one side. We saved enough to buy 25, 000 SPG points with the bonus!

  2. Great article. I currently swipe Tesco credit card and pay BAPP. I know a lot of Tesco filling stations very close to motorways to bag extra points and avoid being ripped off by motorway service station pump and food/drink prices. is also useful for collecting bonus club card points buying at Tesco Direct. I bought a couple of competitively priced new fridge/freezers for rental property before Christmas and got an extra 4 avios/£1. I’m looking at getting a Tesco debit card. I can see the benefits from buying fuel or shopping at Tesco. It says 1 point per £8 spend on purchases outside Tesco so 0.3 avios/£1. Anyone know of another debit card with a better avios reward?

    • No. It’s the best free one out there for the moment. Apart from the hsbc premier card..but eligibity criteria is high. But worth a try.p

  3. I just go to wherever is most convenient which for me is Shell. 2 very close to where I live and drive past all the time. Tesco is a few miles out and out of my way as is Esso.

  4. the real harry1 says:

    not quite as good as £15 statement credit wyb £50 @ Esso 🙂

    particularly when £40 is Royal Mail stamps lol

    don’t think we’ll be able to wangle that one again, ramsy

    • I had lunch with ramsy and heard about your luck! Was jealous! Until SS came along…

      • the real harry1 says:

        heh heh! here’s a New Year’s secret – we run 5 cars!

        they’re not all Bugattis – well, only the one

        and that’s not a Bugatti either lol – it’s the only new one, though – my wife’s Audi, company car – so that does cost about £7K in personal allowance so you could argue costs us about £1500 pa; her company foots the depreciation

        the other 4: 3 are fully depreciated so no cost there, just the insurance & tax so not much more than £300 each, BMW, Volvo, badass Toyota 4WD

        # 5 the newish BMW I use – depreciating @ £2000 pa, insurance & tax another £300

        so running 5 useful cars (2 centres) is about £4500 or thereabouts

        I prefer to see the £2000 pa BMW depreciation as a sunk cost (of course I do) – so in reality it costs us about £2500 pa to run them

        now, how much do you Londeners pay for season tickets/ TFL?

  5. Better at Sainsbury’s cheaper petrol/Diesel get Nectar points plus Avios with BA Amex plus.

  6. RussellH says:

    Morrison’s is best value fuel here – 9p less than Esso!!

    Tesco is further away and 1p or 2p more. Asda and Morrison’s usually the same these days, but Morrison’s still give a few points on fuel. Plus they are much more convenient.

  7. On that note…petrol!.happy hunting down avios in 2018! Hope this is a good and productive year for all our forum. Happy New year Rob Anika and all..

  8. Esso quite often has double clubcard points promotion on your next spend

  9. FrequentDriver says:

    Just to be clear, when I fill up at my local Tescos and pay with my Tesco credit card, does it automatically credit points for the Clubcard plus points for the cc spend ?

  10. Vasco Alves says:

    Will petrol bought at an Esso station count for the £5,000 threshold to trigger the yearly bonus on the Tesco Premium MasterCard?

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