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Credit & Charge Card Reviews (13): Tesco Clubcard Mastercard

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This is my review of the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard credit card.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether of not they are worth applying for. These posts will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page. My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

If you want to check your credit record before applying for a new card, click here to get your free Experian Credit Score.

(EDIT: this review was updated in April 2019 and all of the data was correct as of that date)

Key link: Tesco Clubcard Mastercard application form

Key facts: No annual fee

The representative APR is 19.9% variable based on the ‘Purchases’ version of the card which I cover here.

About the Tesco credit card

The Tesco Clubcard Mastercard is issued by Tesco Bank, which is now wholly owned by Tesco following its acquisition of Royal Bank of Scotland’s stake a few years ago.

Tesco Clubcard MasterCard credit card review

What is the Tesco credit card sign-up bonus?

There is currently no sign-up bonus on the card.  Occasional promotions offer 1,000 bonus Tesco Clubcard points for signing up.

Any other benefits?

The core version of the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard offers 0% interest on purchases for up to the first 26 months.

This version of the card has a representative APR of 19.9% variable.

Alternative versions of the card are also available with different interest rate and balance transfer terms.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You earn 1 Clubcard point for every £8 spent on the card on a ‘per transaction’ basis.

It is important that you understand what ‘per transaction’ means. At the most extreme, if you bought 100 items at £7.99 in separate transactions, you would earn zero Clubcard points. A £15.99 transaction would only earn one point, whilst a £16.00 transaction would earn two points.

Transactions in Tesco stores will earn double points.

How does that convert to Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles?

One Clubcard point is worth 2.4 Avios or 2.5 Virgin Flying Club miles, so every £1 spent on the card gets you up to 0.3 Avios or 0.312 Virgin miles.

You will receive a statement once a quarter containing your Clubcard vouchers, and you can convert these online to Avios or Virgin or redeem them for any of Tesco’s other ‘Clubcard Boost’ deals. You can even spend the vouchers in-store at Tesco at their face value, although this is a poor use of them.

This is the most generous free Visa or Mastercard card available for earning Avios at 0.3 Avios per £1.  However, this is still very poor compared to the 0.75 Virgin Atlantic mile per £1 offered on the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard.  (The free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard also comes with a 5,000 mile sign-up bonus – see here.)

If you meet the stringent wealth criteria for a HSBC Premier current account, remember that the HSBC Premier Mastercard offers an unbeatable 0.5 Avios per £1 and is free.

Any other quirks?

Yes. Your Tesco credit card doubles up as a standard Tesco Clubcard.

It is perfectly acceptable to hand over your Tesco credit card in a Tesco store and ask them to swipe it as a Clubcard. You can then pay for your shopping on a more lucrative credit card!

What is an Avios point worth?

This post outlines my view of what an Avios point is worth, based on some typical redemption patterns.

However, one key benefit of Tesco Clubcard points is that you do not have to convert to Avios. Unlike dedicated airline credit cards, you have the option to convert to Avios or Virgin miles, but there is also the flexibility to use them for any other good Tesco deals that come along. I used to use a large pile of vouchers to pay a regular Safestore bill and now I use them for Uber.

Is this a good card to use when travelling?

As Tesco Bank adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad. Unfortunately there are no travel rewards card without a foreign exchange fee. One option is to get a free Curve Card – see this HFP article – and link it to a miles-earning Visa or Mastercard.

If you link your Curve Card to your Tesco Clubcard Mastercard, however, do not use Curve for cash withdrawals as Tesco adds a fee for these.  Other credit card issuers still treat cash withdrawals on a Curve Card as a purchase and so award miles and points for it.

If you want a dedicated credit card to use abroad, take a look at the Virgin Money Travel Credit Card (click here).  This card is free and charges NO foreign exchange fees.  It also offers 0% interest on purchases for 12 months and 0% interest on balance transfers for 12 months, with no fee.  Representative APR 19.9% variable.

Conclusion

With no sign-up bonus, there is no reason to get this card for a quick points boost.

Assuming you convert your Clubcard vouchers to Avios points, the earning rate of 0.3 Avios points per £1 is as good as it gets if you don’t qualify for HSBC Premier.  That said, you could be earning 0.75 Virgin Flying Club miles per £1 with the free Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard.

Whilst you rarely see conversion bonuses from Tesco to Avios these days, conversion bonuses of 10%-20% to Virgin Flying Club from Tesco are more common. You may rate the card higher if you collect Virgin miles.

The application form for the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard can be found here.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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.

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Comments

  1. The £8 floor makes the card useless for day-to-day use. Who is going to cary an extra cards non-AmEx for big spend. Double points in Tesco is a moot point, since Tesco accepts AmEx.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It’s not moot. 1 clubcard point per £1 for spend at teeco beats the earning rate on any amex. So unless you are hitting a spend target the tesco card beats any other card hands down.

      Forget the miles. 3p uber credit per £1 is best you will get anywhere.

      • This card is only 1 cc point / £4 spent in Tesco. The £150 premium card (now discontinued IIRC) was 1/£1. The current account debit card is 1/£1, and as you say in Tesco beats anything for ongoing earn rate.

        • Yup. I also have a Tesco current account, partly for the 3% interest but mostly for shopping at Tesco. I’ve linked the debit card to their Pay+ app, meaning I don’t have to ever carry it and earn yet another extra point for every £4 spent.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Ah yes I can see now. 6am is clearly too early.

          Debit card is best out there but I now get 4% off through work so I’m switching to M&S for £185

    • From what Robert is saying you can use the card as a clubcard to double your points and then pay with AMEX if I have understood correctly!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Incorrect you’ll earn the normal 1/£1.

        You will earn more on fuel using a Tesco card as a Clubcard (1/£1 rather than 1/£2) and then pay by Amex.

    • i agree it’s useless for day to day spending.

      and “the earning rate of 0.3 Avios points per £1 is as good as it gets” is wrong as it doesn’t take into account £8 per transaction rounding previously described.
      I just looked at a recent month of day to day spending, and i would have received 0.035 avios per £1 if i had used this card.

  2. “As Tesco Bank adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad. Unfortunately there are no travel rewards card without a foreign exchange fee. One option is to get a free Curve Card – see this HFP article – and link it to a miles-earning Visa or Mastercard.“

    IIRC from comments and previous Curve articles, weren’t Tesco cards playing silly games and treating everything as a cash advance?

    Whilst I appreciate this doesn’t directly say “use the Tesco card with Curve”, if there are still sneaky charges in place it would be wise to highlight that.

  3. They also do a very low APR version, also no annual fee, and with the same earning rate. I tend to use it if I’m rolling a balance as it’s among the cheapest on the market for carrying a balance.

  4. Aaron Naismith says:

    There is one big upside to this card. If you use this for your ClubCard at a Tesco petrol station and pay with another card you get a better rate of points. Normally you will earn 1 point for every £2 spent but as the card thinks it’s a normal Tesco store you get the 1 point for £1 basically doubling the earning rate.

  5. Their website is really unclear about how many Clubcard points you earn, but from what I can see, spending in Tesco on the debit card earns more points than this credit card?

  6. Are there any restrictions on getting the sign-up bonus if you have held the same card previously? Does anyone know how many months gap to leave to ensure the bonus is secured? Thanks

  7. A point to note is that unlike earlier times, you will not get bonus points by using the Tesco credit card just as a club card and then pay with your amex. You need to pay with your Tesco credit card in order to get the bonus points. I found this out very recently.

  8. Hello – can you tell me whether there are any limits on this card? For instance, if I bought a car for £7000 would I be entitled to 875 Clubcard Points?

    • Shoestring says:

      The card limit will be the expenditure limit personal to you. The points are not limited but if you earn over 30,000 Tesco clubcard points in one quarter, they may be capped.

  9. so if I have spent £7000 on my credit card outside of Tesco how many points will I be entitled too?

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