How to earn Avios or Virgin miles via a Tesco current account

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Since June 2014, when Tesco launched its current account, it has been possible to earn Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles with your day-to-day banking.

As of 19th October, Tesco Bank has tweaked its rules and – for new account holders – is no longer threatening to cut your interest rate in April 2019 as long as you pay in £750 per month and have three direct debits going out.  I thought it was worth taking another look on this basis.

The main reason we don’t cover it much is that Tesco never offers bonuses for moving your banking across.  M&S Bank and First Direct have long standing offers of £100+ bonuses for new customers.  The current M&S offer is £185 if you keep your account for 12 months.  It seemed logical to me that Tesco Bank could afford to offer 10,000 Clubcard points (24,000 Avios or 25,000 Virgin miles) at some point.  But, apart from a couple of very tightly targeted trials, there has never been an incentive to sign up.

Tesco current account

Here is the Tesco Bank website promoting the current account.

If you haven’t looked at this account for a while, you may not know that the £5 monthly fee for paying in less than £750 per month has been removed.  The account is now free for everyone.

How do you earn Avios with the Tesco current account?

You will earn Clubcard points on all of your debit card transactions:

1 point per £1 spent in Tesco (2.4 Avios per £1 / 2.5 Virgin miles per £1)

1 point per £8 spent elsewhere (0.3 Avios per £1 / 0.31 Virgin miles per £1)

The ‘1 point per £1’ spent in Tesco is a very generous benefit.  If you are spending £100 per week in Tesco, which includes Tesco Fuel, you would earn 12,480 Avios or 13,000 Virgin Flying Club miles per year if you put all of this spending onto your debit card.  That is on top of the base Clubcard points you would receive irrespective of how you pay.  This is a pretty attractive deal.

Even the ‘1 point per £8 spent elsewhere’ is attractive.   Whilst you would be better off in most circumstances using a loyalty credit card instead, it is not always possible to avoid using a debit card.

There is ‘small print’ attached to the ‘1 Clubcard point per £8 spent on the debit card’.  All payments to ‘banks and financial institutions’ are exempt.  This means that you cannot pay your mortgage, pay off a credit card bill or pay money into a savings account.  It DOES work with payments to the Inland Revenue but that is not something that most people can benefit from.

As with the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard, it is worth noting that debit card spending is rounded down to the nearest multiple of £8.  A £7.99 lunch payment will earn you exactly zero Clubcard points.  This is a major deterrent unless you are using the card for large transactions.

And a generous interest rate

Current account holders receive 3% interest on the first £3,000 in the account.  

To earn this interest rate, you must pay in at least £750 and have at least three direct debits paid from your account per statement month.

Whilst there is no sign-up bonus, the 3% interest paid on sums of up to £3,000 is – given current interest rates – an incentive to get an account.  You would receive £90 of interest per year, double the rate of a decent instant access savings account.

Foreign exchange use of the debit card incurs a 2.75% fee.

Conclusion

The Tesco Bank current account was not competitive when it launched four years ago.   Dropping the monthly fee for low earners and introducing the new Tesco earning rate has improved it.  If we’re honest, it has also benefited from competitors reducing the benefits on their products.

The lack of a moving bonus remains problematical.  If you are fed up with your existing bank, turning down £185 from M&S in order to earn a few Avios in the future is not necessarily a great deal.

Curve Card has also changed the game a little.  Curve Card is a free debit card (in fact, they pay you £5 for trying it) which recharges your purchases onto a linked credit Visa or Mastercard.  In a few weeks you will also be able to recharge Visa or Mastercard debit card transactions to some American Express cards.  Making your debit card payments, such as HMRC or council tax, with Curve allows you to earn points on whatever Visa or Mastercard you wish.  You can find out more about Curve and how to get your free £5 sign-up credit in this article.

Is it worth the trouble of moving your current account to Tesco Bank?  For me, I’m not sure.

I have VAT, PAYE and income tax payments but I can put some of these – not all, due to Curve’s transaction limits – through Curve and earn miles and points that way

I don’t spend a lot in Tesco – perhaps £5 per week at our Tesco Express – so ‘1 point per £1 on the debit card’ isn’t worth much

I would have no problem keeping a £3,000 balance on the account, but £90 of annual interest (which is £50 more than I would get elsewhere) – less income tax – is not a big enough incentive

For some people, however, this package may well stack up.  If you’re sick of your current account provider it may be time to switch – although, for clarity, you can keep your old bank account open and still take advantage of this deal as long as you move your salary and three direct debits across.

You can find out more about the Tesco Bank current account here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. The debit card attached to curve no longer treats business transactions as purchases. So no points. Anyone having different experience?

    • Thomas Howard says:

      I’ve topped up my II ISA with Curve and an underlying Tesco debit card and earned £25 in Clubcard vouchers. I worked out 6000 Avios v the 4,000 I’d get using my Lloyd’s CC – obviously convertible to other things too. I couldn’t see a better option in light of the recent Curve changes. The faf involved in trying to put a larger sum through in <£1000 transactions on other cards put me off experimenting too much.

    • Which card have you attached?

      • Thomas Howard says:

        Tesco Bank Current Account Debit Card, it might work without the Curve layer but I added it back when I had hopes of earning 25k of Aadvantage miles via Curve and MBNA and couldn’t be bothered to change it.

    • Same here. Was previously paying the Brighton based firm and other similar companies with a Tesco debit linked to Curve and getting CC points.

      Since the changes though no more points and i’m struggling to find a use for it. I suppose it would still be handy for debit card payments over my curve limit that can’t be split.

  2. Henry Young says:

    It’s just a shame I refuse to shop in Tesco because it is the scourge of the British High Street with its ugly styling, criminal accounting practices and oppressive treatment of suppliers. Seriously, what are a bunch of people focused on business class travel doing shopping for groceries at Tesco ? And call me old fashioned, but Tesco is not a bank !!!

    • Because until recently it was a good source of Clubcard points which appealed to points-collecting types. But yes, Tesco seems to have become even more useless recently, the last two grocery deliveries I had omitted to include the 10p off petrol coupon because a product had become unavailable and brought the total to a few pence under £60! I received the coupons when I complained but it seems their staff are incapable of the tiniest amount of common sense and discretion.

      • Spurs Debs says:

        Don’t be blaming the staff. My son has been threatened with redundancy 3 times in last 5 years. Most of long serving staff have had their jobs changed and have had to accept demotion or no job. The staff on shop floor are seriously demoralised with no signs of improvemts coming for them. You want to blame tesco staff start with the directors and the nonsense they send to their managers to implement.
        In fact your whole comment stinks of elitism, people who shop at Tesco’s shouldn’t want to fly business or first. Get your head out of your rear end and join the real world.

        • Genghis says:

          I find Tesco staff on the whole, excellent. The drivers bring the shopping in for my wife when she works from home. The packing could be better though as stuff always gets split but CSAs are helpful and refund / arrange replacements as appropriate.

          But I find, “people who shop at Tesco’s shouldn’t want to fly business or first” a strange comment. I don’t find these mutually exclusive. We shop at Tesco but want to fly business or first. Are you saying that people who shop at Tesco shouldn’t enjoy the finer things in life? Or should we start shopping at Waitrose instead?

        • That sounds like any unskilled job in a large company operating under a capitalist system to me…

        • They deal well with standard situations but fail when it comes to something more specific or bespoke. Every single time I try to top up my Tesco Xmas Saver, it causes a havoc at Customer Service. No one knows what it is and how to deal with that. Why the staff is not trained to handle the products the firm promotes, I don’t know…

        • Henry Young says:

          @Spurs Debs thanks for confirming that Tesco is just as bad from a staff point of view as a customer and supplier point of view. My comment is less about elitism and more about calling for direct action against the worst companies in UK. Firms that disrespect their staff, suppliers and customers deserve to be boycotted out of business. I recognize that those less well off may have little choice where to shop, but my point is those flying business class who are therefore likely to be more well to do can make a more discerning choice regarding which businesses to patronize.

        • Spurs Debs says:

          “ ut of business. I recognize that those less well off may have little choice where to shop, but my point is those flying business class who are therefore likely to be more well to do can make a more discerning choice regarding which businesses to patronize.“

          I believe the Queen shops at Tesco for her xmas puds, good enough for her Maj it’s good enough for me and mine. Plus I’m on the grandfather rate of 800 points, plus staff discount, plus shopping a British company plus supporting jobs for British people ie my family.

          I know us “ less discerning “ people shouldn’t aspire to travel with you Waitrose folk but guess what suck it up apparently my money and my points are just as welcome as yours when buying flights and redeeming points.

          Also agree Branston beans are far better than watery Heinz.

          Buy meat from local butcher it’s far superior to any supermarket, of course it’s more expensive but most local shops take cards so you can earn a few points paying on them help soften the blow, and of course you are helping to keep your local high street and businesses going.

    • Real banks are rubbish though. Tesco Bank is very good and very successful.

      • I once went for an interview for Tesco bank …never again….

        They make you do psychometric testing before you are allowed to be interviewed. If you do not get a particular score then despite how competent you might be or how much the hiring manager would like to hire you, they cannot interview you.

        I passed the test – no idea if I got the job or not as I was offered a far better position on the same day as the interview and pulled out before I knew the outcome….

        This may well be why they are a bit different – and not particularly exciting!

        • Most jobs at larger corporates require psychometric testing these days

        • the_real_a says:

          Psychometric testing in no circumstances should be used as part of decision making criteria. It can be used to work out “what team” to put you once you have been employed however. I would be very surprised if a blue chip did this, verbal reasoning or problem solving written tests are routinely used and practice to be used in recruitment score.

        • Need to think of something for the HFP job interviews! Will be very complex as under 2% of those who have applied so far have ever written a single word on miles and points so we won’t be going on the back of that.

        • the_real_a says:

          *standard practice

        • Shoestring says:

          You can get them to write a couple of directed/ you give the background articles

    • Because for almost any branded basic household goods – Persil, Evian, Andrex etc etc – it is the cheapest, and delivers to my door for a couple of quid.

      • “Basic branded household goods such as Evian” LOL

        Sounds like “things overheard in Waitrose”

        I’ll stick to Anglian Draught. (Softened, filtered by reverse osmosis, and chilled).

      • RussellH says:

        Why do sensible people buy branded goods? Apart from being overpriced for what they are, you are paying a significant chunk of cash to support their advertising.too.
        I doubt if I have bought washing powder, mineral water, loo rolls, baked beans and a host of other things where there is a choice between an expensive branded product and a sensibly priced own-brand from anywhere except Aldi or Lidl in the past 15 years.
        Tesco or Morrisons we go to on a Sunday afternoon when the perishables are heavily reduced for quick sale.

        • There are plenty of articles out there which will explain why branded goods came into existence, should you wish to do a bit of economic / social history.

        • Shoestring says:

          And many of us here will work/ have worked their lives promoting brands – I’m one of them – and could easily justify why brand can often mean better – and better value, too – not that it makes me buy Heinz beans.

          I much prefer Branston beans.

          Wouldn’t buy that own brand slop.

        • Some brands, like Fairy Liquid and Ariel detergent, regularly come top in “Which” tests. But I agree that a lot of “own brand” goods are just as good as brands but much better value.

        • Shoestring says:

          Of course – as many here know, I have switched my (main thrust) food buying allegiance to the German delis as they do ‘fresh’ really well & the meat quality can be excellent, plus cost the driver. But they don’t do *everything* particularly well, which leaves the field open to the other supermarkets and brands.

          Not everybody has the time to shop around, but I do precisely that. Morrisons for red meat, being one example. Always looking around the Big 4.

          You have to be discerning. Can’t see a problem buying my Aspirins in Asda.

          Your point @Nick_C that own-brand goods are just as good as brands may or may not be true, depending on the specific – there are some appalling own-brand goods out there in most categories. Cheap & cheerful. Cheap & not very nutritious. Cheap & full of sugar. That sort of thing.

    • Thomas Howard says:

      The ethics of Tesco might have looked awful ten years ago but they look like saints compared to Amazon today (and that’s despite Tesco continuing to lower the bar).

    • Henry, I shop in every supermarket, from Lidl/Aldi, to Waitrose/M&S. I’ll go where I can get a bargain. It’s one of the reasons why I can enjoy premium travel, and why I’m financially independent and no longer need to do paid work.

    • Lady London says:

      plus their treatment of staff (zero hours contracts) seems a bit unfair too..

      • Zero hour contacts are unfairly stigmatized. I effectively lost my job when I was in university and couldn’t commit to regular hours – they rescinded my zero hours contact because of a campaign against it.

        Mcdonalds also recently offered all its staff on zero hours contracts to move off them – the vast majority chose not to.

        I wish people would think about consequences before trying to “help” us!

    • I shop on the whole at Lidl and tomorrow morning fly out of LHR in Delta One.

      That a problem for you?

  3. So is this the first confirmation that Amex is returning to curve? Do we know any more?

    Does curve work fine with HMRC?

    • Federico says:

      I have heard it will in November

      • Federico / Rob,

        Enough teasers! What is the news on (possible) return of (certain types of) Amex returning to Curve?

        Ta

        Neil

        • Federico says:

          I think curve will do a special membership for those who wants to use Amex with curve. Not sure tho it’s just thought. Tomorrow is November so no far..

    • Yes, fine with HMRC, always has been.

      • So what card do I link to curve to make HMRC payments without getting charged a cash transaction fee?
        I have the Tesco credit card, various amex cards, virgin MasterCard .
        Many thanks

        • Any of them – some risk with Tesco as they are charging for Curve ATM withdrawals and could extend this

    • Curve have confirmed this themselves on Twitter, but have given zero additional information.

      They announced this, as well as some premium, subscription based accounts and fancy metal cards, at a recent FinTech event / conference. It seems people there may or may not have got more details, but they have remained silent on the topic themselves. Very frustrating! I’m waiting impatiently until the announcement ‘nearer launch’, which they’ve confirmed will be ‘in November’.

      My guess is that attendees and others in the know (like Rob) are under some sort of NDA or embargo until such a point, but there has been the odd Tweet with some limited information that may all be false. I guess we’ll have to wait!

  4. Has anyone got a max annual limit more than 50k on Curver? I’ve maxed out and just waiting until I can spend more on it. Thanks

  5. The £185 offer with the M & S account is a gift voucher, though if you shop there quite a bit there seem to be a few decent perks attached to the account.

  6. Federico says:

    I have recently switched from Lidl to Tesco and opened the Tesco ac – received the debit card yesterday.

    I usually transform my points into Uber credit (3x face value) and I didn’t know re the fee if you don’t put £750 into the account, thank you for that!

  7. FlyUpTop says:

    I signed up for this account earlier in the year where it stated the 1 point per pound spent expired I think May 2019, has this been changed now as didn’t see any reference to that expiry here?

  8. On the linked Curve page is says – the black card has a one off £50 fee. Further down it says getting the black card now will lock you into the £50 fee for 6 months.

    Confusing. Which is it – £50 one off or £50 every period (6 months?)

  9. Neil Spellings says:

    Be careful if you *only* use the account for business transactions like VAT or other HMRC payments; you will fall foul of their “for personal use only” clause in their terms and conditions and after an initial warning could get your account closed.

  10. Geoffthesaint says:

    Curve linked to credit card is by far the better option. Where you can get 2 points per every pound £ vs 1 Tesco point per £8 and nothing at all for less.

  11. We have 3 Tesco accounts between my wife and I but, fortunately, opened them before they started stipulating having to move money through them or having DDs set up.

    As for account opening offers, HSBC are currently offering £150 at sign up (and account switch) and a further £50 afetr 12 months if you keep the account active. By active, they require £1750 to be paid in each month and have 3 (or is it 2?) DDs going out a month.

    • Shame that HSBC doesn’t offer anything to its existing customers. I’ve been with them for 15 years and was never offered a co-branded credit card or any perks attached to my current account…

    • Thomas Howard says:

      Not quite as good as but Nationwide do a £100 Recommend a Friend sign up bonus, First Direct £150 expedia voucher + £100 leaving bonus, £75 from Halifax. Could there be a Shopper Points article in churning current accounts?

      • Lady London says:

        Nationwide’s used to be you and the Friend you Recommended both got £100 each. So £200. Also the account the Friend moved to Nationwide only qualified if 2 DD’s were brought across with the account.

        Has that changed? Not sure I’d be that motivated for £100 even though the benefits package could turn out to be useful

  12. Hi
    In case you didn’t know you still collect Clubcard points when using the Tesco Bank card to pay for Childcare (e.g. nursery fees) through the Governments Tax-Free Childcare portal.
    It’s not much buts it’s nice to get a little back!
    Mike

  13. TGLoyalty says:

    Spend at Tesco has dropped and really only go for fuel.

    But switching to M&S for £185 plus a regular saver you can make £81 a year in means this article has come in handy.

    • Don’t forget the 10p per litre off fuel wys £60 occasional offer (including now) which works on gift cards.

      Also their Alaskan wild smoked salmon is better than Waitrose’s but no longer the same price as farmed.

      • Smoked salmon has become so expensive! Even at Aldi and Lidl it’s nearly £4 for 200g (I am a tight northerner!)

        • the_real_a says:

          Curve communication is just plain strange…

          As a fellow tight northerner… Home Bargains Chiller Section appeals to our sense of frugality. Plus they sell cheap Haas avocados. Shush now.

        • the_real_a says:

          Curve comment was of course meant for somewhere else!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        It’s out of my way I hardly go but yes it’s good when I’m passing but less so now the tank on my car is c50% the size of my last one.

  14. I still have a legacy Tesco Premium Mastercard which they say can be renewed till card run out date in 2021 despite scheme being withdrawn. It looks like this new debit card is a better deal with the same outcome. Doubled up CC points in Tesco, no insurance but no £150 fee. Anyone else on that track?

  15. Tesco has it’s fans. Or perhaps not …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2Q8S-0lVi8

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