Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Is Virgin Atlantic’s Texaco deal better for earning Flying Club miles than via a Tesco garage?

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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.

Texaco Star Rewards

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

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (May 2024)

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

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 18,000 Virgin Points and the free card has a bonus of 3,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

3,000 bonus points, no fee and 1 point for every £1 you spend Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 Virgin Points

(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.)

Comments (21)

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

  • Roger says:


    Any advanatge of prepaying my July 2018 self assessment tax before 13th January credit card deadline. It is only few grand though but still would prefer to earn some points on it.

    • Alex W says:

      You would be losing out on 7 months of interest on the cash. I would wait til July and pay with a Tesco debit card.

      • Roger says:

        Sound info, Cheers Alex.

        • Peter K says:

          Also depends on whether you need the points for a redemption before July or you need the few extra thousands to hit say an IHG Black card 10k target.

  • Cate says:

    Thanks for this Rob, I’d never thought of Virgin as a transfer partner as we only passively save their points.

  • the real harry1 says:

    apologies – thought it would be 1.39 by now

  • Travel Strong says:

    If collecting virgin flying club miles, then the Virgin Black card (not open to new members) is surely still superior to all other CC spending options?
    2 miles per £1 spent, plus you can still collect tesco/texaco/etc on top.

    • Rob says:

      Not in Tesco garages, where the debit card or Premium credit card earn 2.5 Virgin per £1. Agree elsewhere.

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T Compo.

    The good news is that from my enthusiastic reading of various EC/261 threads & cases, you are well-advised in 2018 to take your [justified] case to MCOL or CEDR with BA, if they refuse to settle.

    They program their customer service team to give robot answers dismissing your compo claim – & I guess it works for them, ie Mr & Mrs Shy just walk away, never to be heard from again.

    Most of your compo claims will be legit, so the lesson is to persevere past the robot answers.

    Then, it seems, BA give in fairly easily. Not surprising, as the cost of defending any claim will often be more than the cost of handing over some compo.

    • the real harry1 says:

      it’s what classes you as ELITE 🙂

    • the_real_a says:

      Or if you are not confident / and or there is some ambiguity in your case have Bott and Co do it for you… (they do take a cut of course).

    • G Flyer says:

      Hi all, I’d welcome any advice/tips on whether I should pursue following comp claim or not? I was flying from ORD>LHR with BA in J, but got stuck in ORD for 48hrs due to engine failure. BA ground staff in ORD said I’d have to wait a further day to head back to LHR (would have made me 72hrs late), but offered me an alternative flight back to MAD instead (which I took as I had a meeting in Spain the following day). Now BA are refusing to give me EU CASH compensation as I didn’t fly back to LHR. They have however offered me a BA VOUCHER for same value EUR 600 (but I’d prefer the cash, plus EUR 600 feels low for 48hr delay and all associated hassle). Should I just accept and move on, or worth taking case to MCOL/CEDR? If it makes any difference, I’m Exec Club Gold. Thanks for your views!

      • the real harry1 says:

        status doesn’t matter

        you qualify 100%, very clearly

        just asking for it more insistently should be enough

      • Rob says:

        I assume you were already ticketed on BA to Madrid? Presumably not on the same ticket though – if it was, you’re due nothing as you got to Madrid as scheduled.

        I would say you have a valid claim otherwise, yes.

  • the real harry1 says:

    So – Raffles – you reckon you got enough moving on this site so that you could sell it?

    Is Gary Leff interested?

    I think the advertising could already be worth a fair bit.

    • Rob says:

      Already retired, involuntarily, once and got bored with it ….. selling this only means that I would have nothing to do again! Ask me when I’m 50.

  • Hasan says:

    Not to mention fuel at Texaco cost more than in Tesco.

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

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