Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Tesco Bank starts to treat pre-paid cards (but not Curve) as a cash advance – with a 4% fee

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Since the law changed in January to ban credit card acceptance fees, there has been a interesting miles earning niche available.

Some of the pre-loaded travel money cards, such as Revolut (we reviewed Revolut here, our special offer saves you the £5 fee), have been treated by some credit card companies as a purchase.  This means that you earn miles or points when you load up your Revolut, Monzo etc debit card.  There is no list of which credit cards treat Revolut etc as a cash advance and which treat it as a purchase – you need to try out the various cards you own.

Tesco Bank has now decided to take action.

From 1st June, Tesco credit cards will increase their cash advance fee from 3.0% to 3.99%.  More importantly, it will now treat payments to prepaid or virtual cards, such as Revolut, as a cash advance.

For clarity, this does not impact Curve.  If you have linked Curve to your Tesco credit card you may have received this letter.  This is because, for two days earlier this year, Curve transactions were incorrectly coded by Mastercard.  If you used Curve during those two days then Tesco thinks – incorrectly – you were loading a prepaid card.

Tesco also has other targets in its sight.  Wire or international money transfers, repayments of loans or mortgages, purchases of foreign currency except in Tesco stores, investments, share trading and spread betting payments will be treated as cash advances.  (I seriously doubt that any mortgage lender was actually accepting a Tesco credit card as payment, but who knows?!)

I get a feeling that, by the end of the year, it will no longer be possible to use any UK credit for a fee-free top-up of a prepaid debit card.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – November 2020 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are my November 2020 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:

American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.