(2019 edit: the Virgin Flying Club / Texaco Star Rewards partnership has now ended)
Yesterday I ran an updated version of one of the more complex posts I have ever run on Head for Points which discusses how to maximise your Avios points when buying petrol.
This is fine for earning Avios, but what about earning Virgin Flying Club miles?
Virgin has its own partnership with Texaco. You can find details here.
Texaco’s loyalty scheme is called Star Rewards. You earn 1 Star Rewards point for every 1 litre of fuel you purchase, and these can be transferred to Virgin Flying Club at the rate of 1:1, in multiples of 1,000.
Is this a good deal? For comparison, 1,000 Star Rewards points will also get you a £10 Texaco, Argos or M&S voucher. You are therefore effectively paying 1p per Virgin mile, so you need to value them at more than this for it to be worthwhile.
Texaco Star Rewards is, frankly, knocked into a hat by the Tesco petrol options.
Via Texaco, you are effectively getting 1 Virgin mile for every £1.20 spent on petrol (the average price of 1 litre of unleaded).
Stripping out the impact of how you pay, this is substantially poorer than the 2.5 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1 spent at a Tesco garage when you use a Tesco MasterCard or Tesco debit card as a Clubcard.
(If you want to know why you should use a Tesco MasterCard credit or debit card as a Clubcard – but not as a payment card – then you need to look at my piece from yesterday.)
It is also poorer than most of the other ways of earning Clubcard points on petrol:
1.25 Virgin miles per £1 spent at a Tesco-branded filling station (ie 1 Clubcard point per £2 spent, based on swiping a normal Clubcard and not asking for your Tesco credit or debit card to be treated as a Clubcard)
1.05 Virgin miles per £1 spent at any participating Esso filling station which does NOT have a Tesco convenience store attached (technically 1 Clubcard point for every 2 litres of fuel purchased, based on £1.20 per litre)
0.83 Virgin miles per £1 spent at an Esso filling station which has a Tesco convenience store attached (1 Clubcard point per £3 spent). Full details of the Esso earning rates are here.
And all of this ignores the fact that Texaco points can only be converted in chunks of 1,000 litres of petrol, which is a lot of trips to the garage. Using your Texaco points for retail gift vouchers only requires 500 points.
The bottom line is that, if you want to earn Virgin Flying Club from petrol, you are better off ignoring the ‘official’ Texaco partnership and buying your fuel at Tesco or Esso instead.
How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (November 2020)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
As well as the two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (see here, one has a bonus of 15,000 Points), you can also earn from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.
(Want to earn more Virgin Points? Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)