Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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I last wrote about this topic 18 months ago, but that article is now out of date due to the launch of the Tesco Premium Mastercard, the excellent earning deal now offered on the Tesco Bank debit card and a 20% rise in the petrol price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

Esso petrol station

Part 2:  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)

What is the best combination of garage and card?

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.


British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

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 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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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 (48)

  • 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.

  • Polly says:

    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..

  • AH says:

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

  • 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 ?

  • 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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