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I last wrote about this topic 18 months ago, but that article is now out of date due to the launch of the Tesco Premium Mastercard, the excellent earning deal now offered on the Tesco Bank debit card and a 20% rise in the petrol price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

  • John says:

    I buy fuel at Sainsburys and ASDA since they are consistently 2p/L cheaper than the Tesco, which is also half a mile in the wrong direction and involves making right turns off a main road which means an extra 2-3 minutes of waiting for a gap.

    Plus Sainsburys sends me 20% off vouchers regularly while Tesco ones have dried up.

  • Drnash78 says:

    For me the best way is to swipe my Tesco MasterCard as club card but pay with my amex platinum. Avios from both sources 🙂

  • Nathan says:

    Off topic but can anyone make use of 7,735 Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles points?

    They expire today and i don’t really need a keyring from their ‘shop’. Reply here by all means but I am likely to be out and about so nathanheywood [at] hotmail.com might be the better option.

  • Cate says:

    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!

  • Simon says:

    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. Avios.com 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?

    • Polly says:

      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

  • Tilly says:

    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.

  • 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

    • Genghis says:

      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?

  • Bass says:

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

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