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I last wrote about this topic 18 months ago, but that article is now out of date due to the launch of the Tesco Premium Mastercard, the excellent earning deal now offered on the Tesco Bank debit card and a 20% rise in the petrol price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

How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 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.

Until 18th July 2022 there is an astonishing special offer on these cards. You get 50,000 Avios on the Avios Plus Mastercard and 10,000 Avios on the free Avios Mastercard. You can apply here. We strongly recommend getting the Avios Plus card whilst this offer is running.

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

50,000 Avios for signing up (A CRAZY SPECIAL OFFER!) and an upgrade voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (SPECIAL OFFER) 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.

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

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 (48)

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

  • Nigel Eaton says:

    I tend to stick with Shell. They run regular bonuses, I recently got 1000 bonus shell points for 5 x £20 V-Power fill’s.
    They also regularly run bonus 100 points when filling with £20+. Also a large Costa Express can get you 60 Shell Points when swiping your drivers club card.

    • Nick says:

      Pretty much the same Nigel, but I’ll usually switch to the local Tesco when I can’t get any bonus points from Shell, either on the app or on a promotion. I like Shell V-Power for my car, but Tesco Momentum is pretty good too. I also grab a sandwich from the Shell garage most days a week, as it’s just 100 yards up the road from the ofice, and get 50 Shell points (25 BA Avios).

    • lev441 says:

      I haven’t had a bonus offer for shell in MONTHS! Used to get them a couple of times a month but not since the summer…

      • Nick says:

        Same here, apart from one of the usual 100 bonus points that popped up on the app a few weeks ago for 20+ litres of V-Power. I did though get, via email on the 14th December, a ” Fill up with a minimum of 5 litres of Shell V-Power between 14/12/2017 – 11/01/2018 and you’ll get 500 bonus points as a thank you.”. So it may be worth checking if you didn’t see it.

      • Fenny says:

        Ditto. And as I now use so little petrol, I don’t need enough at the time they send the offers when I’m near a Shell station. But I do buy coffee at Shell and get 40 shell points a go.

  • Zamfir says:

    Also worth a mention… When paying for fuel at a Tesco Petrol Station, you collect 1 Clubcard point per £1 of fuel if you use your Tesco Credit card as a Clubcard (regardless of how you actually pay). Regular Clubcards only attract 1 Clubcard point per £2 of fuel.

  • JP says:

    Does using the Pay+ app stop the 1 point per £1 mastercard rate, as you log into you Tesco account for Pay+ which then has both your normal and mastercard clubcard linked.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Yes, can’t use the app if you have vouchers.

      However I give them my card as a clubcard or tap my club card an use vouchers and then just pay with pay+.

      Defeats the purpose of the app though if it’s all about quicker checkouts.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        *Yes, can’t use the app if you have vouchers either.

      • RichS says:

        Just link the Clubcard number on the back of your Tesco debit card or credit card as your Clubcard on Pay+, then you will still get 1point per £ on Clubcard and 1point per £ on payment card. No need to mess about scanning one card then paying with Pay+.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          I made that switch very early on and still didn’t get 1 per £1. Maybe they have fixed something since I’ll give it another go.

        • Alan says:

          @TGLoyalty – switched my Pay+ Clubcard number to my Tesco debit card last night and can confirm I received the correct 1 pt per GBP rate at Tesco petrol station today.

  • Chris says:

    Don’t forget the Esso app right now! 200 bonus Tesco points for first 30 litre purchase

  • Will says:

    Paying via the Esso app currently attracts bonus Clubcard points on top of the standard: 200 extra for first fill and then another 200 after five fills. I think fills over 30 litres count. So 960 bonus Avios for 5x fills paid for via the esso app on top of the standard Clubcard points per litre.

    • Rob says:

      That is only at a small number of garages though if you look at the list.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Plus £5 credit from Paypal until end of today. Used it the other day. Very cool

  • Liz says:

    I didn’t realise they had extended the extra Clubcard pt promo for using Pay+ from 14/1 to 28/2.

    • Alan says:

      Ditto, only just started using it too as had a massive backlog of Tesco vouchers from Zeek!

  • René says:


    This is brilliant, thank you.

    Does anyone know what the story is with Clubcards doubling of the mir redemption for Avios? I have collected around £80 of clubcard vouchers and was advised by a friend to wait for Tescos to do the inevitable annual double avios promotion…. its been approx. 18 months and Ive yet to see one… there was a kind of raffle to win points if converting a few months back. I have a holiday booking looming where we’re very close to the Business class threshold for points and we’d like to get it across the line 🙂

    • the real harry1 says:

      it’s normally +20% (not doubling) – fat finger their end gave some very nice free points 🙂 , not as good as Roberto’s free million but no point being sniffy about 24K points gratis

      last bonus conversion Tesco —> Avios was November 2015 – it was unlimited but there were maxima in place for individual conversion totals

      may or may not get repeated

      Tesco —> Virgin: Virgin offered 20% bonus conversion twice in 2017, last bonus period ended 13/12/2017 istr

      so there’s hope for Tesco —> Avios

      • Nick says:

        BA is not (yet) desperate for ancillary cash so there won’t be another bonus for a while. My guess is that the next will be shortly after brexit when the economy crashes and we have uncontrollable inflation caused by tariffs imposed by the ‘harder the better’ brigade.

        • Callum says:

          Is extra revenue from a 20% Tesco bonus ever going to make any kind of meaningful impact on a company taking in many billions of pounds a year?

          I’ve always assumed it’s more of a marketing expense as opposed to BA being desperate for a few thousand quid!

          • Rob says:

            You’ve clearly never worked for a company bleeding cash. Every employee is told that they have to do whatever is necessary to retain or gain cash, this will include pushing out supplier payment periods and, for airlines, sales to bring in short term cash. It would also include encourage points transfers from partners in order to get cash out of them – because you can always devalue the points later anyway ….

  • Navara says:

    There is a promotion at Shell 200 points if you Register a new card currently. 100 easy Avios

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